GymKats ranked No. 18 in nation

The UK gymnastics team is riding some momentum after a win over Auburn last week...

GymKats ranked 18th in the nation
Joy ranked 17th in the country on the uneven bars.

With two consecutive scores of 196.000 or better, the University of Kentucky gymnastics team has risen in the national rankings to No. 18, while sophomore Julie Joy is tied for 17th in the country on the uneven bars.

Two weeks ago, the GymKats scored a school-record team total with a 196.100 in a victory over Ball State and nearly matched it with a 196.000 last week against Auburn for their first Southeastern Conference win of the season. UK's ranking is based on its regional-qualifying score of 194.320. The RQS is calculated by taking the top three away scores and the next three highest scores, dropping the high and averaging the remaining five.

"The past few weeks have been very exciting for us," Kentucky coach Leah Little said. "We have scored the two highest scores in school history the last two weeks and are in a better position nationally and regionally than we were at this time last year. We are really looking for great things as we finish the season."

In the Central Region, Kentucky is ranked third which puts them in a prime position to earn a spot in NCAA regional competition. The NCAA is divided into six regions with the top six teams in each advancing to regionals.

Individually, Joy leads UK in the national and regional rankings. Her bar RQS also has her ranked fourth in the Central Region, while she is ranked 12th on the floor exercise and 13th on the vault. Senior Jessie Lemp also is ranked regionally on bars at ninth and the balance beam at 16th. On the vault, junior Julia Gore stands at ninth in the region.

Sophomore Aronda Primault and freshman Michelle Gales also are performing well for UK. On the team, the pair are one-two on the floor exercise with each scoring a career-best on the apparatus this season.

Primault has tallied a 9.925, while Gales has scored a high of 9.950 to go along with four additional scores of 9.900 or better. The two are not ranked this week because they lack one of the requisite away scores in each event to calculate an RQS.

Primault and Joy also lead the way in the all-around. Primault is averaging a 39.058 and Joy has a 38.933 average. They each scored a career-high against Ball State to finish first and second as Primault tallied a 39.350 and Joy scored a 39.325.

The GymKats return to action when they travel to SEC-rival LSU for a dual meet on Friday, March 1. Action gets under way at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center at 7 p.m. CT.

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