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The No. 1 Gator gymnastics team competes for the Southeastern Conference crown Saturday in Duluth, Ga.

Thursday March 22, 2012No. 1 Gator Gymnasts Head to Southeastern Conference Championships

Gainesville, Fla.

The No. 1 Gator gymnastics team competes for the Southeastern Conference crown Saturday in Duluth, Ga.

The No. 1 Florida gymnastics team (11-1, 5-1 SEC) begins the championship portion of its season this Saturday at the highly competitive Southeastern Conference Championships. Competition is set for Saturday, March 24 at 4 p.m. in The Arena at Gwinnett Center. Every league championships since 2001 has been held on a neutral site. This is fourth time the SEC Championships (2004, 2005, 2008, 2012) have appeared in The Arena at the Gwinnett Center.

 

Saturday’s Meet Info:

No. 1 Florida (11-1, 5-1 SEC) at Southeastern Conference Championships

Date & Time: Saturday, March 24 at 4 p.m. ET
Site: The Arena at Gwinnet Center (13,000)

Television: meet airs tape-delayed on ESPN2 (3/29 8 p.m.) and ESPNU (4/2 at 8 p.m.)

Florida in the SEC: Florida owns seven Southeastern Conference team titles – 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1989, 2007 and 2010

Internet: live stats available on http://www.gatorzone.com/

Twitter: Follow the Gators’ results at SEC Championships’ via GatorZoneGym

Tickets: Range in price from $12-16. Contact TicketMaster at 800-745-300 to secure tickets

Five of the nation’s top-10 teams (No. 1 Florida, No. 3 Alabama, No. 5 Georgia, No. T-8 LSU and No. 10 Arkansas) are among the seven-team SEC field. This is the 15th time a league team has brought the No. 1 ranking into the SEC meet and the third time UF has brought the top ranking (2007, 2011, 2012).

 

Of the nation’s top 25 team scores posted this season, 12 came from SEC programs, including seven of the top 10. In addition, an all-around total 39.60 or above has been posted 22 times this season among the nation’s collegiate gymnasts. Of the 13 different gymnasts represented on the list, a SEC gymnast owns 15 of the marks on the list.

 

Three different teams have claimed the last four SEC meet titles. Alabama, the defending NCAA champion, claimed the 2011 and 2009 league titles. The Gators picked up their seventh league crown in Jacksonville, Fla., on March 27, 2010. The last time the meet was held in Duluth, Ga., the final result was the closest in the meet’s history as Georgia won the 2008 title with a 197.35 while Florida and Alabama tied at 197.325. The 0.025 margin is the smallest margin allowed in the sport.

 

This is the seventh consecutive year that the SEC Championships will be contested on podium. This same podium was used when the University of Florida played host to the 2010 NCAA Championships.

 

Florida used the nation’s second-highest score of 2012 to end its regular season last Friday with a 197.90-196.475 win over No. 7 Utah. A Gator claimed at least a share of every event title Friday. Sophomore Alaina Johnson led a trio of Gator All-Americans who swept the top three all-around spots – all with totals which rank among the nation’s top seven of the season. Johnson equaled her collegiate-best of 39.675 to take her second win of the season. Also turning in a collegiate-best was junior Marissa King, who was second 39.65. Fellow junior Ashanée Dickerson was third with her season-best total of 39.625. Her performance earned Johnson the final SEC Gymnast of the Week honor for 2012. Johnson shared the vault win at 9.90 with a pair of Utes. She and Dickerson shared the uneven bars title (9.95) and Johnson also teamed up with King to top the balance beam standings (9.925). King and freshman Kytra Hunter paired up to take the floor exercise win with marks of 9.95.

 

At the 2011 SEC meet in Birmingham, Ala., Florida was second to Alabama, 197.225-196.975. Dickerson claimed a share of the league’s floor exercise title with her mark of 9.925. Florida’s Rhonda Faehn picked up her fourth SEC Coach of the Year honor and Johnson was named the SEC Freshman of the Year. Dickerson and Johnson both earned spots on the All-SEC first team and teammates Nicole Ellis, Alicia Goodwin, King and Maranda Smith were part of the All-SEC second team.

 

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