Kentucky’s gymnastics team used a second-place finish at the Minnesota Regional on Saturday night to qualify for the national semifinals for the first time in program history.
UK, the 12th overall seed, finished with a score of 197.050, marking the fourth time in program history that the team has topped 197 points.
“This feeling is hard to describe,” said senior Cori Rechenmacher. “Just how far we’ve come as an entire team. The feeling I got my freshman year, knowing the senior’s careers were over. That was me this year, and my career isn’t over. I’m happier than words could describe.”
No. 1-overall seed Oklahoma finished first in Minnesota and will join the Wildcats in St. Louis on April 20 for the semifinal round, which will be broadcast live on ESPNU beginning at 7 p.m.
UK faces an uphill battle if it wants to survive and advance. The Cats are the lowest seed of the six teams to advance on their side of the bracket. In addition to Oklahoma, the Cats will be joined by No. 4 Utah, No. 5 Florida, No. 8 Washington and No. 9 California.
The top three teams from each semifinal will move on to the finals on April 21.
The Cats were sitting in third place behind Denver heading into the final event on Saturday and scored 49.400 on the bars to leap into second.
“The feeling coming out of the locker room before bars didn’t affect us and we just wanted to keep the momentum going since we had a great meet so far,” junior Alex Hyland said.
UK opened the day with a second-place finish on the beam then finished third on the floor and third on the vault before clinching the trip to St. Louis.
“This regional was a solid meet for us beginning to end,” UK Coach Tim Garrison said. “The bar team closed the door with one of the best rotations I have been a part of as a coach. I am so incredibly proud of this team, not just for today but for what they have done since arriving on campus to make this day possible. They made history today.”