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Rachel Spicer

Thursday January 17, 2013Rachel Spicer: Ready for sophomore season

Gainesville, Fla.

Rachel Spicer

by Eden Otero, UF Communications

Living on your own for the first time always brings new and unexpected experiences, for sophomore UF gymnast, Rachel Spicer, it is exactly that, a new experience.

Spicer lives with fellow sophomore Kytra Hunter, and this is the first experience of apartment living for the pair. Spicer enjoys living outside of the dorms because now she has the tools, like a stove and refrigerator, to cook what she likes.

While Spicer says she loves to cook, she admits that Hunter is the more advanced cook. However, a mysterious mishap occurred during one cooking adventure early into their lease.

“One day I was in my room and I saw something that looked like lightening, so I walked out and the fire alarm started going off,” said Spicer. “I don’t even remember what she was cooking, it might have been the stove or the microwave, but we just went over to our neighbors and they helped us out.”

As Spicer jokes about the smell that hung in the apartment for a few days after, she moves to a more serious note. Roaches.

Hunter may be the more skilled cook, but Spicer is the eradicator of the pest when it makes its appearance in their abode. She says her Texas upbringing is why she fearlessly approaches each pest with the intent to catch and release.

While it’s been fun and exciting living on her own for the first time, Spicer also enjoyed her first preseason training with the Gator team. Her first season with the Gators was flurry of new. She graduated from high school early to enroll at UF for the spring semester. Just a week after joining the team in late December of 2011, Spicer was competing for the Gators in their 2012 season opener at NC State. And a few days after that, she was sitting in her first college classroom. Having the fall preseason training with the Gators has given her the opportunity to better prepare herself for the 2013 season.

Spicer has been working on strengthening her elbow since hyper extending it before Thanksgiving. The injury limited her training for about a month, but now she’s working to get back to full strength.

“It wasn’t too major, I’m coming back from it pretty quickly,” said Spicer.

She is motivated to come back quickly to show in competition the new skills added during off-season. Spicer has a new mount for balance beam to give her some individuality within her routine, and changed her floor dance to make it sharper.

She has even been giving advice to freshman gymnast, Morgan Frazier, who just like Spicer a year ago, got to UF just days after Christmas. Spicer’s advice includes relying on the team, relaxing and taking advantage of the support system UF puts in place for all new student-athletes.

“I just keep reminding her that there is such a great support system here,” said Spicer. “Not only your team and coaches, but on the academic side. Everyone is just here to help.”

Spicer’s parents spent a lot of time at meets last year to support their only child. This year Spicer says shouldn’t be any different. Christmas brought her father so much Gator clothing that Spicer said he’ll need to come to Gator gymnastics meets just to wear his new wardrobe additions.

Ranging from orange Gator pants to multiple t-shirts, and her favorite, a light up Gator hat, Spicer said he will be showing his Gator support wherever he goes; especially during the Alabama meet.

“I’m trying to talk them into coming to the Alabama meet, because it’s going to be a great home meet,” she  said.

Until then, Spicer will be working on improving and refining her skills to help the rest of the team as they look toward the key championship portion of the campaign.


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