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Gymnastics Headline

Florida celebrates its second consecutive & ninth overall SEC Gymnastics title.

Saturday March 23, 2013No. 1 Florida Gymnastics Wins SEC Championship

North Little Rock, Ark. -

Florida celebrates its second consecutive & ninth overall SEC Gymnastics title.

Photo gallery by Mike Erdelyi and Erin Long

 

The No. 1 University of Florida gymnastics team (15-2, 6-1 SEC) claimed its second consecutive Southeastern Conference title Saturday evening in front of 5,395 at the Verizon Arena. It is the ninth overall title for the Gators.

 

Florida Event Winners Saturday

Uneven Bars:

Bridget Sloan

9.950

Floor Exercise

Kytra Hunter

9.950

 

Bridget Sloan

9.950

All-Around

Bridget Sloan

39.75

Florida used its highest score ever in SEC Championships competition – 198.00 - to take the program’s ninth overall crown. Two-time defending NCAA champion Alabama was second at 197.80, followed by LSU (197.70), Georgia (197.325), Auburn (196.55), Arkansas (196.40), Missouri (195.525) and Kentucky (194.60).

 

As the league expanded this season to eight teams sponsoring gymnastics with the addition of Missouri, the SEC Championships moved to two sessions of four-teams each. The sessions were seeded based on national rank and Saturday’s evening session showed why each of the four participating teams were ranked nationally among the top 10 as the lead and placing among the teams moved from rotation to rotation.

 

As the top-seeded team, Florida opened the meet on vault. The event is usually a strong scoring event, as the Gators entered the meet No. 1 on the event. But steps on landings dinged Florida’s score and the team found itself in fourth place with its vault total of 49.375 after the opening rotation.

 

If the Gators were disappointed in their vault performance, it didn’t show in the next rotation. Florida turned in a solid 49.50 on uneven bars, thanks to three marks of 9.925 or above. Freshman Bridget Sloan, who would claim a share of the SEC all-around title, led UF on bars with her winning total of 9.95, while senior Marissa King and junior Mackenzie Caquatto each turned in 9.925s.

 

“What I love is we didn’t get upset about that (performance on vault) and they didn’t take it down to the next event,” UF Head Coach Rhonda Faehn said. “That’s the key to a team that’s going to succeed in the postseason.”

 

LSU led the meet at the midway point at 99.15 while Florida’s total of 98.875 moved stood second.

 

Balance beam was next and the Gators’ total of 49.50 shared the meet’s highest on the event. Four marks of 9.90 or better were posted by the Gators. Sloan led with a 9.925 while sophomore Rachel Spicer, Caquatto and senior Ashanée Dickerson each earned 9.9s.

 

That performance put the Gators in the lead by the slenderest of margins, 148.375 to 148.35, over Alabama heading into the final rotation.

 

Faehn knew the Gators needed to deliver on their final event to keep the trophy in Gainesville.

 

“It was down to the wire. I can’t say that I love it like that. It was very stressful,” Faehn said. “But really, that’s what our fans love. I love a football game where it will come down to the last touchdown or field goal, so it’s kind of the same thing. It’s an incredible thing when it comes down to the last event.”

 

A big score on floor exercise would win it for the Gators and that is exactly what the team delivered. Its floor total of 49.625 equaled the meet’s highest of the event and gave them the margin needed over Alabama who earned the meet’s highest vault total of 49.55 on the final rotation.

 

All six Gators earned floor marks of 9.90 or better. Hunter and Sloan each earned 9.95s, King a 9.925 and senior Randy Stageberg, sophomore Kiersten Wang and Dickerson each posted 9.9s.

 

Faehn spoke about the team’s determination.

 

“It was outstanding. It was a different team, a different chemistry, different makeup this year,” Faehn said. “They were not going to go down without winning a conference championship this year.

 

A pair of unusual scoring deductions was taken after the meet concluded. Georgia questioned a floor exercise out-of-bounds deduction and asked for a video review. The judges reviewed the video and determined the deduction stood. The rule states that any video review that isn’t affirmative for the inquiring team results in a three-tenths team deduction. After reviewing the final score sheet, Alabama determined that two of its gymnasts went of competitive order on the uneven bars, so a tenth deduction was taken off the event score.

 

Sloan shared the SEC all-around title with LSU’s Rheagan Courville at 39.75. Those two picked up some of the league’s highest honors yesterday, as Sloan was named the SEC Freshman of the Year and Courville was named the SEC Gymnast of the Year. The total matches Sloan’s collegiate-best set March 1 and the 39.75 stands behind Hunter’s 39.80 as the nation’s second-highest of 2013.

 

Sloan is the second consecutive Gator freshman to win the SEC all-around, as Hunter took the 2012 title. This is the eighth time a Gator has won the SEC all-around title.

 

Three Gators competed as all-arounders Saturday and all finished among the meet’s final five. Hunter took third at 39.60 and Dickerson shared fifth at 39.475.

 

Sloan also shared two other event titles, including one with a fellow teammate. Hunter and Sloan were among a five-way tie for the floor title with season-bests of 9.95. Sloan also used that same mark to share the SEC uneven bars title with Georgia’s Brittany Rogers.

 

LSU’s Courville used the evening’s only 10.0 to take the vault win. Courville, Rogers and UGA’s Shayla Worley shared the beam win at 9.95.

 

Next up, the Gators await the NCAA’s announcement Monday at 3 p.m. ET to find out which teams will be sent to Gainesville for April 6 NCAA Regional action. The top two teams at each of the six regional sites will advance to the NCAA Championships, set for April 19-21 at Pauley Pavilion in Los Angeles.

 

Tickets for Gainesville NCAA Regional action range in price from $10 to $5. Visit the Gator Ticket Office site to reserve tickets or stop by their office at Gate 1 of the Ben Hill Griffin Stadium between hours of 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

 

Gator Notes:

● Florida owns nine Southeastern Conference team titles – 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1989, 2007, 2010, 2012 & 2013.

● Bridget Sloan shares all-around title with LSU’s Rheagan Courville at 39.75. Second consecutive Gator freshman to win all-around and eighth freshman in league history.

● Florida’s floor exercise total of 49.625 is UF’s second-highest of 2013

● Sloan’s 39.75 equals her collegiate-best set March 1. That total stands as the nation’s second-highest of 2013 behind teammate Kytra Hunter’s 39.80.

● Sloan is UF’s second consecutive to win the SEC bars title, as Alaina Johnson claimed the 2012 crown.

● Florida wins its first consecutive league team titles since taking the 1985, 1984, 1983 and 1982 crowns. Georgia was the last team to claim consecutive league titles (2004, 2005 and 2006).

● Florida is two-for-two with team wins in the Verizon Arena, taking the title in the event’s only other appearance in Little Rock in 2007.

●Hunter and Sloan among five-way tie for SEC floor title. First Gators to take league floor win since Ashanée Dickerson shared 2011 title.

●This is the first time in league history four teams turned in final totals of 197.00 or better

●Florida’s 198.00 is the nation’s highest road total of 2013 season, bettering the 197.875 UF turned in last Saturday at Utah.

●This is Florida’s sixth Southeastern Conference of 2012-13 season (men’s basketball, women’s cross country, gymnastics, men’s swimming & diving, soccer, volleyball).

 

 

Florida at Southeastern Conference Championships

Final Team Totals

March 23, 2013 ● Verizon Arena (5,395)

Team

Vault

Bars

Beam

Floor

Total

Florida

49.375

49.500

49.500

49.625

198.000

Alabama

49.550

49.300

49.400

49.550

197.800

LSU

49.525

49.175

49.375

49.525

197.700

Georgia

49.225

49.550

49.500

49.050

197.325

Auburn

49.100

48.875

49.275

49.300

196.550

Arkansas

49.150

48.850

49.100

49.300

196.400

Missouri

48.450

48.850

49.250

48.975

195.525

Kentucky

48.825

48.150

48.500

49.125

194.600

 

 

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