Cats Close SEC Slate with Fourth Score of 196.650 or Better
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Reigning Southeastern Conference Specialist of the Week Mollie Korth earned more event wins than any other competitor and freshman Shealyn Luksik earned the first victory of her career, but No. 12 Kentucky fell 197.200-196.650 at No. 9 Alabama on Friday at Coleman Coliseum.
The performance marked the Wildcats’ fourth of 196.650 or better this season and concluded Kentucky’s conference slate at 3-4 after a 3-1 start.
“Tonight felt similar to many of our meets this year—great moments mixed with struggles,” said head coach Tim Garrison. “We are stuck in a pattern of performing well enough to be good but falling short of being great.”
Kentucky was consistent throughout its first two rotations, totaling 49.200 apiece on uneven bars and vault. Luksik and Korth split the win on bars with a 9.875 each, tying a season high for the former. Korth followed with another signature vault routine, earning an outright victory on the apparatus with a 9.925. The Cats led the Crimson Tide 98.400-98.300 midway through the competition.
Despite entering Friday rated directly behind fourth-ranked Bama as the No. 5 team in the nation on floor exercise, Kentucky’s third rotation went on to produce the largest score discrepancy of any event with a 49.550-49.100 margin between the two teams on floor. Kentucky ended the night with a 49.150 on balance beam, ultimately being outscored 98.900-98.250 in the second half of the meet.
Korth concluded her night with the all-around crown by way of a 39.575.
“We need to find the cure for our mediocrity soon or we will likely fall short of our potential,” Garrison said. “The team is aware and working hard to correct it. It’s certainly not a question of effort. It’s a matter of competing at a higher level over the course of an entire meet. When that happens, the results will speak for themselves.”
With the season’s final home tilt rapidly approaching, Kentucky’s group of seniors will go down as one of just five from a Power Five conference to be the highest-scoring class in the history of their respective programs. No strangers to securing their best results in the eleventh hour, the Wildcats’ two record-breaking performances from last season came in a 197.525 showing in their final home meet and a 197.600 display in their final appearance in the postseason.
Kentucky will honor seniors Korth, Hailey Poland, Alaina Kwan and Katherine Marianos in their final contest at Memorial Coliseum against No. 22 Illinois (9-5, 4-5 Big Ten Conference) next Friday at 7 p.m. ET.
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