The GW gymnastics team lost its season opener to No. 22 Kentucky 193.625-191.500 Friday night at Lexington’s Memorial Coliseum. Junior co-captain Rachel Mann led the Colonials, finishing third in the all around.
Mann’s all around score of 38.725 put her behind Kentucky’s All-American Aronda Primault and Julia Gore who finished in first and second place with scores of 39.100 and 39.050, respectively. The junior also recorded GW’s only apparatus-winning performance, taking first place in the floor exercise with a 9.800.
Freshman Heather Kaufman was GW’s other all-around finisher, coming in sixth with a score of 37.925.
GW (0-1) faced Kentucky (1-0) on its 20th annual “Excite Night,” an event that drew more than 6,000 fans and featured special appearances by the GymKat dancers, the UK pom squad and the Kentucky cheerleaders. Originally a scrimmage used to showcase the gymnastics team, Kentucky head coach Leah Little changed the festival to the team’s season opener in 2002.
GW fell behind early, trailing the GymKats after the first rotation on the bars 48.150-46.425. Freshman Tiffany Jones was GW’s highest finisher on that apparatus, coming in sixth with a 9.625.
In the second rotation, vault, Mann and junior Lindsay Parks scored 9.750s, keeping the Colonials close, but a trio of 9.775s by Kentucky’s Michelle Gale, Gore and Primault kept Kentucky up 94.750-86.775.
After intermission, GW put up its best performance of the night on the floor as Parks (9.750) and Kaufman (9.700) supplemented Mann’s top score.
But the Colonials could not complete the comeback when they moved to the beam, trailing Kentucky in the final rotation 48.700-48.150. Sophomore Meagan Wilson scored a personal best (9.750) but fell behind Kentucky senior Mindy Smith (9.875) and Primault (9.800).
The Colonials will get their own crowd support Thursday when they host the GW Invitational. Cornell University, University of North Carolina and the College of William and Mary will visit the Smith Center along with Atlantic 10 rivals Temple and Rhode Island.