Raena Worley competes on floor for Kentucky.

Waiting for a Little Extra Luck in Kentucky

Kentucky’s meteoric rise the past two seasons isn’t luck, it isn’t magic. It’s hustle, heart, and hard work. Well, and some fun too. Even if the season didn’t quite come to a close as the Wildcats may have hoped, there was plenty of high points for the historical team this season. After all, this bunch rewrote much of the Kentucky Gymnastics record book. 

In a competitive Fayetteville team final, Kentucky had to square up against a dominant LSU, host Arkansas with Olympic order, and sneaky good Minnesota. Although the odds may not have been in Kentucky’s favor, the team went out and hit like they were there to have fun and punch a ticket along the way.

LSU head coach, Jay Clark, commented that “Kentucky is a great team,” and it could’ve been any of these four teams to come out on top. 

The Wildcats put everything on the floor this team final. With seeding for the final based on the NQS of the respective teams, Kentucky drew a start on bars. Although that’s the weakest of events for this team, it proved to be no issue, and the lineup nearly tied the season high. 

Kentucky went through beam steadily, with a few errors but without any falls or major breaks, hitting every single landing. A few wobbles here and there, but no major hiccups to put extra stress on the beamers. Freshman Creslyn Brose went lights out on beam while home team Arkansas was working bars in an arena that was echoing with heavy bass and screaming fans.

A few tenths short of their usual on floor and on vault, and suddenly, things were a little more uncertain for the Wildcats.

Arkansas has Kentucky’s number these days. From the regular season dual, to the first session in round one, to tonight, the Razorbacks have come out on top when facing Kentucky.

But there’s so much more to the Wildcats’ legacy than a meeting with Arkansas in Fayetteville. The squad went lights out with a program record 198.100 earlier this year, and that’s not luck, that’s hard work. And so is coming in third at the conference meet in a competitive and cut-throat SEC. 

Decorated gymnast and individual, both in the gym and off the mat, Raena Worley, most likely has another meet ahead of her after today: She’ll be one of two gymnasts likely to represent Kentucky at Nationals. So although Worley’s career won’t have come to an end this weekend, it will be the end of a legacy that’ll live on and on.

When asked about what she hopes to instill in the team after she graduates, she said “Just enjoy every moment … It’s hard work, you want to do your best, but if you go out there and enjoy the moment, that’s when you can do your best.”

One thing is for certain, Kentucky is looking a whole lot shinier and has sharper claws than it did just three years ago. If luck is when preparedness meets opportunity, Kentucky’s day in the spotlight is just around the corner. 

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Article by Allison Freeman


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