Crimson Tide ends Wildcats' national title streak at three
For most cheerleading programs, second place is something to aspire to. Most years, a second-place finish means a school has the best cheerleading team in the nation — other than University of Kentucky, of course.
At the 2011 College Cheerleading and Dance Team National Championship at the Walt Disney Resort in Orlando, Fla., second place was where UK found itself, meaning that its streak of three consecutive national titles had come to an end, as the Wildcats finished behind the Alabama Crimson Tide.
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"We're disappointed," UK cheerleading head coach Jomo Thompson said. "It's not what we came here for. We came here to get first place and we came up a little short. These things are to be expected; you can't win them all."
The Wildcats have won 18 national championships.
"We had a great performance," Thompson said. "We had two mistakes, but overall I thought we were above everybody else; we were just unable to persuade the judges.
"The past three years, we've had a good feeling, a celebration," Thompson said. "This year, there's no celebration and I told them to remember this feeling and use it. This should be something that drives them all next year."
The new national champions, Alabama, are led by David McDowell, a former Kentucky cheerleader and assistant coach.
"They had a great team and I feel like we had a part in that," Thompson said. "He cheered here and was an assistant here. He learned a lot from me and just from watching this program."
UK's dance team also participated in the national championship under second-year head coach Dawn Duncan Walters. Kentucky finished fourth in the pom category and sixth in hip hop, an improvement from last year's fifth-place finish in pom.
Wilson wins tournament, Masters berth
Mark Wilson made it through a 36-hole marathon Sunday without a bogey and held on for a two-shot victory in the Sony Open that will take him to the Masters for the first time. Wilson shot a 5-under 65 in the morning to take a one-shot lead into the afternoon round in Honolulu. He stretched his lead to four shots at the turn, then had to hang on when Tim Clark and Steve Marino made late runs on different sides of Waialae.
Clark, who started the final round five shots behind, birdied three of his last four holes. He narrowly missed an eagle putt on the ninth hole and settled for a 64. Then came Marino with two late birdies and one incredible shot that at least gave him hope.
Two shots behind on the par-5 18th, with his feet in the bunker and his ball about chest-high on the side of a hill, Marino blasted a fairway metal from 234 yards away that landed on the front of the green and rolled 40 feet away. His eagle putt narrowly missed, giving him a 68. Wilson made one last birdie he didn't need, giving him a 67 for his third career victory.
■ Charl Schwartzel successfully defended his Joburg Open title, birdieing the last hole for a 4-under 67 that gave him a four-stroke victory. The South African finished at 19-under 265, overcoming a mid-round wobble at the Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club. Overnight co-leader and compatriot Garth Mulroy shot a 71 to finish second in the last of four events on the European Tour's season-opening South African swing.
Cats' Quigley in SEC Coaches finals
Kentucky men's tennis star Eric Quigley, ranked No. 2 in the country, defeated No. 47 Sadio Doumbia of Georgia and No. 21 JP Smith of Tennessee to advance to the finals of the Southeastern Conference Coaches Indoor Championships in Knoxville. Quigley will play 53rd-ranked Wil Spencer of Georgia in the finals at 10 a.m. Monday. Spencer took down 13th-ranked Javier Garrapiz in the semifinals 6-1, 6-4.
Kentucky freshman Grant Roberts continued his strong start to the season, defeating Campbell Johnson 6-2, 2-6, 1-0 in the quarterfinals of the singles consolation bracket. The Tates Creek graduate will play in the semifinals of the consolation bracket at 9 a.m. Monday.
Hoop Summit squad has 3 UK recruits
The 2011 USA Junior National Select Team, which will compete against the World Select Team in the 2011 Nike Hoop Summit in April, will include three future Kentucky Wildcats.
Michael Gilchrist, Marquis Teague and Anthony Davis made the U.S. squad along with Brad Beal (Florida), Quinn Cook (Duke), James McAdoo (North Carolina), Adonis Thomas (Memphis), Tony Wroten (Washington), Austin Rivers (Duke) and Rakeem Christmas (Syracuse).
St. Patrick, Letcher Central girls win
Paris led by as many as 14 points in the first half before St. Patrick rallied for a 46-41 road victory in the 10th Region All "A" Classic finals. It was the first time St. Patrick's won an All "A" region title. Paris was trying to win its eighth in the last 10 years. The Lady Saints' Lydia Hamilton scored 17 points. Morgan Crain had 12 points and 11 rebounds for the Lady Hounds.
■ Letcher County Central went 7-for-8 from the free-throw line in overtime to key a 61-56 defeat of host Leslie County. Erica Meade led the way for the Cougars with 18 points. Hillary Moore, a senior guard, scored 29 points and grabbed 16 rebounds for the Lady Eagles. Eighth-grader Katie Moore, Hillary's sister, added 10 points and 14 rebounds.
■ Monica McGreal scored a game-high 22 points and Sacred Heart, No. 9 in the Dave Cantrall's Rating the State, defeated host Assumption 58-44. Morgan Clemons added 12 points and nine rebounds for the Valkyries.
Lofton likely to step in for Iverson
The agent for former Tennessee All-American and Mason County standout Chris Lofton is close to completing a deal that would send him back to play in the Turkish Basketball League. Agent Jared Karnes told The Knoxville News-Sentinel that Lofton would play for Besiktas Cola Turka, replacing injured star Allen Iverson. Besiktas is bringing Lofton in to be its primary scorer with Iverson expected to be out for at least the next couple of months. Lofton has been playing for the Iowa Energy of the NBA Development League. His new TBL team also features former Vanderbilt All-SEC player A.J. Ogilvy.
Lochte beats Phelps in 200 IM
Ryan Lochte defeated Michael Phelps in the 200-meter individual medley in the last of their head-to-head showdown in the Austin Grand Prix. Lochte finished in 1 minute, 59.26 seconds, well off his world record of 1:54:10. Eric Shanteau edged Phelps to finish second in 2:01:13. Phelps was third. "This is a great stepping stone," Lochte said. "It's good preparation for what's coming later on. It's a good way to start off the New Year."
■ The Houston Chronicle reported that Houston Astros first-round draft pick Delino DeShields Jr. was arrested in Athens-Clarke County, Ga., and charged with DUI, underage possession of alcohol and a traffic violation early today, according to jail records. DeShields, 18, was the eighth overall pick in the 2010 draft. The newspaper also reported that DeShields is expected to start his first season in Class A with the Lexington Legends.
The last word
ESPN's Rick Reilly on the dour demeanor of Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler:
"For a guy from Santa Claus, Ind., he's the least jolly person I've ever met."