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No. 1 Florida finished its 2011 regular season with a win at No. 5 Utah

Friday March 4, 2011No. 1 Florida Gymnastics Wins at No. 5 Utah

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah -

No. 1 Florida finished its 2011 regular season with a win at No. 5 Utah

The No. 1 University of Florida gymnastics team (12-1, 5-1 Southeastern Conference) took a 197.00-196.75 win over No. 5 Utah (7-2) Friday evening in front of a NCAA record crowd of 15,558 at the Huntsman Center. The attendance betters the previous NCAA gymnastics record crowd of 15,552 which watched the Utah-Georgia dual meet in the Huntsman Center on Jan. 22, 2010.

 

Florida Event Winners at Utah

Vault

Ashanée Dickerson

9.90

 

Alaina Johnson

9.90

 

Marissa King

9.90

Uneven Bars

Mackenzie Caquatto

9.925

 

Alaina Johnson

9.925

Balance Beam

Ashanée Dickerson

9.875

Florida led the meet from the opening event, but its biggest lead of 0.250 was at the midway point. Heading into the final rotation, that lead was narrowed to just 0.150. The Gators needed to hit on balance beam to finish their regular season with a win.

 

The Gators sealed the win with a six-for-six beam set. If the Gators were thinking about last week’s problems on beam at Arkansas which led to UF’s only loss of the season, they didn’t show it as the Gators performed confidently on their final event.

 

“We were under pressure again (on the final rotation), so it was good that we were able to fight through it and come out with the win,” said freshman Alaina Johnson, who took second in the all-around at 39.425.

 

Florida sophomore Ashanée Dickerson shared first on balance beam at 9.875 with Utah’s Cortni Beers and Fumina Kobayashi. The Gators also received 9.85s from Elizabeth Mahlich, Marissa King and Mackenzie Caquatto. Florida finished the meet with a beam total of 49.25 to give the Gators their fourth team total of 197 or better in 2011.

 

For every meet, the Gators bring a theme into the competition. “Aggressive poise” was the thought for this meet and Head Coach Rhonda Faehn thought her Gators performed up to the theme.

 

“It was great to see how our athletes responded in again, a high-pressure situation. They knew heading into beam that we would need to hit well to finish where they wanted in the team standings,” Faehn said. “This was a record crowd here tonight so I liked they way they competed aggressively and as well as they did. It was a wonderful learning experience for them.

 

“Our words were “aggressive poise” this weekend. That is exactly how the team performed,” Faehn continued. “There was a tremendous amount of energy within our team. They didn’t let the little things bother them. There were little mistakes here and there. Some of our landing weren’t as solid as they usually are. We just didn’t let that affect us. We just kept pushing really hard.”

 

In Florida’s opening event, three consecutive Gators turned in uneven bars marks of 9.90 or better as UF turned in a total of 49.275 on the event. Mahlich equaled her collegiate-best of 9.90 for the second time this season. Florida’s freshmen duo of Caquatto and Johnson both posted marks of 9.925 to share the event title with Utah’s Stephanie McAllister.

 

Consecutive 9.90 marks continued to the Gators next event, the vault. Florida’s final three vaulters –Dickerson, Johnson and King, shared the meet’s event title at 9.90 with Utah’s Gael Mackie. For the event, the Gators posted a 49.40 – UF’s third-highest vault team total for 2011.

 

Florida’s floor exercise team total of 49.075 was held back by some steps and low landings on final tumbling passes. Senior Maranda Smith led the Gators on the event to tie for second overall at 9.85, while Randy Stageberg posted a 9.825.

 

Utah’s McAllister won the floor exercise (9.875) and all-around (39.45) Friday. Florida’s Dickerson was third in the all-around at 39.35. King, making her first all-around performance of the season, turned in a 39.25 to take fourth.

 

Next up, Florida begins the championship portion of its season. The Gators will look to defend their Southeastern Conference title at the March 19 SEC Championships in Birmingham, Ala. The meet begins at 5 p.m. (ET) at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex. Tickets are $16 for adults and $10 for children 10 and under. They can be purchased online here

 

Florida at Utah Final Team Totals

March 4, 2011 ● Huntsman Center (15,558)

Team

Vault

Bars

Beam

Floor

Total

Florida

49.400

49.275

49.250

49.075

197.000

Utah

49.175

49.250

49.175

49.150

196.750

 

 

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