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Florida won its third consecutive NCAA Regional team title Saturday in Ann Arbor, Mich.

Saturday April 14, 2007No. 1 Florida Gymnasts Win NCAA Northeast Region Team Title; Advances to NCAA Championships

ANN ARBOR, Mich.

Florida won its third consecutive NCAA Regional team title Saturday in Ann Arbor, Mich.

The No. 1 University of Florida gymnastics team (21-0-1, 5-0-1 SEC) claimed at least a share of each apparatus title en route to winning the NCAA Northeast Region team title Saturday evening in front of a Crisler Arena crowd of 2,548. The last time the Gators claimed the four apparatus titles and first in the team standings was in 1985 at the NCAA Southeast Region Championships in Gainesville, Fla. 

 

The Gators turned in a total of 197.325 Saturday, matching the team’s high road mark of 2007 that was set March 31 when UF claimed the Southeastern Conference title in Little Rock, Ark. The teams finished Saturday in the order of the pre-meet seeding. Other team results from the Northeast Regional included Michigan (196.05), Arkansas (195.875), New Hampshire (192.925), Pittsburgh (192.55) and Rutgers (190.875).

 

As the top two teams at the Northeast Region Championships, Florida and Michigan will advance to the NCAA Championships, set for April 26-28 in Salt Lake City, Utah. The region title is the eighth for the Gators and the third consecutive. Florida has claimed region team titles in 1982, 1984, 1985, 1987, 1997, 2005 and 2006. The title advances Florida to its 25th NCAA Championships appearance, set for April 26-28 in Salt Lake City, Utah. In the 26-year history of the NCAA Championships, Florida has only missed the 2000 event.

 

Florida looked a bit tentative on their opening event, matching its season low of 49.075 on the uneven bars. The opening two Gators, Nicola Willis and Samantha Lutz, both led UF on the event with winning marks of 9.875. It was the third consecutive regional uneven bars title for Lutz and the first regional crown for Willis.

Florida’s 2007 NCAA Northeast Region

Event Champions

Event

Score

Name

Vault

9.95

Breanne King

Bars

9.875

Samantha Lutz

 

 

Nicola Willis

Beam

9.925

Corey Hartung

Floor

9.90

Savannah Evans

 

 

Corey Hartung

 

 

Amanda Castillo

 

 

The Gators came back immediately to match their second-highest balance beam team total of the season (49.425) Saturday. It was a strong set, as the Gators were six-for-six on the event and used marks of 9.85 or above toward its team total. Sophomore All-American Corey Hartung led UF on the event with her winning mark of 9.925. Ashley Reed and Melanie Sinclair also turned in marks of 9.90. That score matches Sinclair’s collegiate beam best. They shared second on the event with Arkansas’ Casey Jo Magee.

 

Three marks of 9.90 were used toward the Gators’ floor total of 49.40 Saturday night. Hartung, Amanda Castillo and Savannah Evans led UF on the event to share the floor title with Michigan’s Nellie Kippley and Brown’s Alicia Sacramone at 9.90. UF also received 9.85s from its other three competitors (Katie Rue, Reed and Nicola Willis).

 

Senior Breanne King led Florida on its final event with a collegiate- and Gator season-best vault mark of 9.95 to claim the event title. The vault was the result of King’s extra effort in the practice gym.

 

“In the (practice) gym, I’ve been working really hard to try to fix little things,” King said. “Adrian (Burde) and Robert (Ladanyi) have been working with me to try to correct some things to help the vault, so I guess it paid off.

 

Rue and Reed shared second in the final vault standings at 9.90 with Arkansas’ Michelle Stout. The Gators posted a season-best 49.425 on vault, matching the fourth-highest vault event total in school history.

 

Although the Gators have held the No. 1 position for all but one week of the 2007 season, the team knew that a solid performance would be needed to advance to the NCAA Championships.

 

“This meet has a lot of pressure because if you don’t do well, you don’t advance. Our athletes went out there and got the job done tonight,” UF Head Coach Rhonda Faehn said. “We knew as a coaching staff it is extremely, extremely hard to stay up for four weeks in a row. We were up at SECs and after SECs, so we knew there would be a little bit of a dip emotionally. Now we want to build back up for NCAAs.

 

Faehn thought the team reacted well to its bumpy performance on their opening event, the uneven bars, by not letting it affect the other events.

 

“Actually I thought we started out really, really strong on bars with Nicola and Sam. Ashley just had a little too much power on her reverse hecht, so we had a fall there. Amanda and Mel were just a little bit tight following her. It wasn’t exactly what we were looking for, but they didn’t let it impact the rest of the meet,” Faehn said. “They were extremely calm going into beam. They did a great job, hitting six for six on beam. Floor also went well. It was wonderful to have Nic (Nicola Willis) back in the lineup. It wasn’t her best performance because she was more concerned about making it than performing it. We finished up strong on vault. Bre (King) had what I think was the best vault of her entire collegiate career. We decided to play it safe with our Yurchenko one and halfs. After Corey kicked out a little early (resulting in a fall) we decided we weren’t going to mess around with our final two competitors. They (Reed and Castillo) did just the Yurchenko full and hit it clean.”

 

The only individual event title Florida didn’t claim at least a share of Saturday night was the all-around, which went to Michigan’s Tatjana Thuener-Rego at 39.45. UF’s Castillo was second at 39.375, while Hartung and Reed shared fifth overall with totals of 38.825.

 

Next up, the Gators await Sunday’s announcement by the NCAA of team assignments for the two team qualifying sessions at the NCAA Championships. Each of the April 26 qualifying sessions will have three region champions and three region runner-up teams.  The top three teams in each of the April 26 qualifying sessions advance to the NCAA Super Six on April 27, where the team champion is determined.

 

No. 1 Florida at the NCAA Northeast Region Championships

Crisler Arena (2,548) – Ann Arbor, Mich. – April 14, 2007

 

Vault

Bars

Beam

Floor

Rank

Total

Florida

49.425

49.075

49.425

49.400

1

197.325

Michigan

49.150

48.925

48.650

49.325

2

196.050

Arkansas

49.300

48.700

49.275

48.600

3

195.875

UNH

48.525

47.450

48.775

48.175

4

192.925

Pittsburgh

48.475

48.125

47.325

48.625

5

192.550

Rutgers

48.100

46.575

47.800

48.400

6

190.875

 

 

2007 NCAA Gymnastics Championships Field

Region

School

Region score

Northeast champion

Florida

197.325

West champion

Utah

197.325

North Central champion

Georgia

197.275

Central champion

Alabama

196.700

West runner-up

Nebraska

196.675

South Central champion

Stanford

196.600

South Central runner-up

Oregon State

196.075

Northeast runner-up

Michigan

196.050

Southeast champion

UCLA

195.975

Southeast runner-up

LSU

195.950

Central runner-up

Oklahoma

195.925*

North Central runner-up

Denver

195.825

*tied with Iowa State; OU wins tie-breaker, 233.40-233.20

 

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