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No. 2 Florida used the natioin's sixth-highest score of 2012 to take the win Friday at Auburn.

Friday February 17, 2012No. 2 Florida Gymnastics Take Win at No. 17 Auburn with Nation's Sixth Highest Score

AUBURN, Ala.

No. 2 Florida used the natioin's sixth-highest score of 2012 to take the win Friday at Auburn.

The No. 2 Florida gymnastics team (8-1, 4-1 SEC) used the nation’s sixth-highest score of the season to finish its Southeastern Conference road schedule with a win at No. 17 Auburn (3-9, 0-5 SEC) Friday in front of an Auburn Arena crowd of 4,626. The Gators posted a 197.50 while the Tigers turned in a season-best 196.875.

Gator Event Winners Friday

Vault

Kytra Hunter

9.95

 

Alaina Johnson

9.95

Uneven Bars

Mackenzie Caquatto

9.925

Balance Beam

Marissa King

9.95

All-Around

Alaina Johnson

39.625

 

There were some changes in the lineup Friday as the Gator coaching staff wanted to give some gymnasts a break and also wanted to see how other routines would score. Florida Head Coach Rhonda Faehn liked what she saw Friday.

 

“I was very pleased with the team’s performance tonight. It was wonderful to see everyone compete so aggressively and confidently especially knowing that we changed up the lineups quite a bit, especially on floor. They all responded really well,” Faehn said. “They just did a great job overall.

 

Pair of Gators Performing Again

A pair of Gators made their first appearance of the season on events where they had suffered an injury which put sidelined them. Junior Dali Lemezan tore her left anterior cruciate ligament in 2011 NCAA Championships’ team semifinal vault competition. In September, sophomore Mackenzie Caquatto sprained both ankles on a balance beam dismount at the U.S. National Team’s final selection camp for the 2011 World Championships’ roster.

 

Both performed exhibition routines Friday at Auburn. Lemezan earned a 9.70 for her vault and Caquatto posted a 9.80 on balance beam.

 

Only one Gator competed as an all-arounder Friday and that gymnast picked up the win. Florida sophomore All-American Alaina Johnson picked up her first all-around title of 2012 and the fourth of her career with a Gator season-high total of 39.625. That total stands as the second-highest of her career.

 

Friday’s crowd included 14 members of Johnson’s family. She performed well for them, just as she did a year ago when a large Johnson cheering section was in the crowd at the Florida-Georgia dual in Athens, Ga. That day, Johnson took the all-around win with her collegiate-best total of 39.675 and tonight’s total was just a fraction behind.

 

“It just felt good that I was able to get out there and do it for my team. It was so much fun. We always have so much fun out there together,” Johnson said. “It was another great road meet and I’m just glad we did as well as did.”

 

The Gators opened Friday’s meet with a strong set on the uneven bars. Florida was six-for-six for stuck landings (seven-for-seven counting the exhibition performer) as the Gators tallied a 49.40 for their third-highest bars total of the season. Florida’s last half of the lineup all turned in marks of 9.90 or better. Sophomore Mackenzie Caquatto picked up a share of her fourth consecutive bar win with her mark of 9.925. Auburn’s llyson Sandusky and Kylie Shields also shared the bar title at 9.925.Marissa King and Alaina Johnson also posted 9.90s.

 

On vault, the Gators turned in a season-best 49.575, which also stands as the second-highest vault total in school history. Four Gators posted marks of 9.90 or better, led by collegiate-best mark of 9.95 from UF’s final two vaulters Johnson and Kytra Hunter. The vault win is the second consecutive for Johnson and the second of the season for Hunter. Junior Ashanée Dickerson took third with her season-best 9.925 while Nicole Ellis also turned in a season-best of 9.90.

 

Florida’s floor lineup had some new faces as the Gator coaches decided to hold out a pair of floor All-Americans - Dickerson and King - as well as Hunter (currently ranked No. 3 nationally on floor) to give them a well-deserved break from the pounding of the event. The Gators turned in a 49.05 and were led by Johnson’s 9.875 which tied for second overall with AU’s Toi Garcia. Senior Amy Ferguson opened up the floor set with a 9.85. The evening’s floor title was claimed by AU’s Brianna Guy at 9.90.

 

Floor wasn’t as clean as the team had wanted, with an out-of-bounds and some steps on landings holding the score back. Faehn challenged the Gators to finish the meet strong on their next event, the balance beam.

 

“After we finished floor, I told them that’s not how I wanted them to finish the meet. They were challenge d to go over to the balance beam and attack that event so we can finish on an extremely high note,” Faehn said. “It was nice to see how they remained calm, yet competed aggressively, and were able to finish strong.”

 

With the challenge from Faehn to finish the meet strong, the Gators did just that as the team matched their season-best total of 49.475. That total ties for the eighth-best in school history and matches the team’s season high on beam. King anchored the set by matching her collegiate-best of 9.95 for the second time this season. The mark gave King her fourth beam win of 2012 and she shared the title with AU’s Guy. Johnson turned in her second consecutive 9.90 for beam Friday to take third.

 

Tonight’s meet airs on CSS Feb. 26 at 1 p.m. and CST on March 1 at 4 p.m. (Gainesville/Ocala Cox Cable channel 259).

 

Florida now returns home to face No. 4 Georgia on Friday, Feb. 24. Meet time is set for 7 p.m. in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center. The first 1,000 fans receive light-up blue slotted sunglasses courtesy of Gatorade.

 

Fans can pick up buy one, get one free general admission passes from any of the following area restaurants: Moe’s, Planet Smoothie, Heavenly Ham and the Flying Biscuit Cafe. Tickets for Friday’s meet are $4 for adults while children 17 and under and UF students with Gator 1 cards are admitted free.

 

No. 2 Florida at No. 17 Auburn

Feb. 17, 2012 ● Auburn Arena (4,626)

Team

Vault

Bars

Beam

Floor

Total

Florida

49.575

49.400

49.475

49.050

197.500

Auburn

49.075

49.475

49.150

49.175

196.875

 

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