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NCAA Champions! Florida claims its first NCAA gymnastics team title Saturday in Los Angeles.

Sunday April 21, 2013National Champions: Gators Claim Program's First NCAA Gymnastics Title

LOS ANGELES, Calif. -

NCAA Champions! Florida claims its first NCAA gymnastics team title Saturday in Los Angeles.

The No. 1 University of Florida gymnastics team claimed its first NCAA Super Six team final in dramatic fashion Saturday afternoon in UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion.

 

Florida’s National Title Teams

SPORT

YEAR

NATIONAL TITLE

Women’s Gymnastics

2013

NCAA Championships

Men’s Indoor Track & Field

2012

NCAA Championships

Women's Tennis

2012

NCAA Championships

Men’s Outdoor Track & Field

2012

NCAA Championships

Men’s Indoor Track & Field

2011

NCAA Championships

Women's Tennis

2011

NCAA Championships

Men’s Indoor Track & Field

2010

NCAA Championships

Women's Swimming

2010

NCAA Championships

Football

2008

BCS/Associated Press

Men's Basketball

2007

NCAA Championships

Men's Basketball

2006

NCAA Championships

Football

2006

BCS/Associated Press

Women's Tennis

2003

NCAA Championships

Men’s Golf

2001

NCAA Championships

Women’s Tennis

1998

NCAA Championships

Soccer

1998

NCAA Championships

Women's Tennis

1996

NCAA Championships

Football

1996

Associated Press/Coaches'

Men's Golf

1993

NCAA Championships

Women's Indoor Track

1992

NCAA Championships

Women's Tennis

1992

NCAA Championships

Women's Golf

1986

NCAA Championships

Women's Golf

1985

NCAA Championships

Men's Swimming

1984

NCAA Championships

Men's Swimming

1983

NCAA Championships

Gymnastics

1982

AIAW Nationals

Women's Swimming

1982

NCAA Championships

Women's Swimming

1979

AIAW Nationals

Men's Golf

1973

NCAA Championships

Men's Golf

1968

NCAA Championships

Florida’s 197.575 won the title, bettering runner-up Oklahoma’s 197.375. Two-time defending NCAA champion Alabama was third at 197.35, followed by UCLA 197.10, LSU 197.05 and Georgia 196.675.

 

Tonight’s meet airs tape-delayed on ESPNU April 30 at 8 p.m. ET.

 

Although Florida was the meet’s No. 1 seed and owned five the nation’s top eight totals of the season, tonight’s competition was far from an easy win.

 

A pair of falls put Florida in a hole after the opening rotation. Both Ashanée Dickerson and Kytra Hunter recorded falls in consecutive routines to force a miss to be counted toward the beam score for the first time since the Feb. 22 meet. Freshman Bridget Sloan put up a 9.95 from the second position and senior Marissa King anchored the lineup with a 9.925 as the Gators posted a 48.875.

UF Head Coach Rhonda Faehn said the problem didn’t impact the team’s mindset.

“The mistakes that happened on beam were so uncharacteristic. It was like, what, what happened there? I don’t think it affected anyone other than making it harder,” Faehn said. “There was no looking back to anything in the past. Let’s go to floor and let’s rally.”

Florida went to its locker room for the second rotation bye. When it came out for floor exercise, it was a changed team. No evidence of the drastic trouble on the previous event was present in their performance as the Gators put up an NCAA Super Six record floor total of 49.725. Three Gators turned in or equaled collegiate floor bests Saturday, as freshmen Bridgette Caquatto and Sloan each earned 9.95s and Kytra Hunter posted a 9.975. Dickerson also earned a 9.9 and King had a 9.95.

At the midway point of the meet, Florida was second to Alabama by 0.15. What was needed was strong performances on Florida’s finishing events – vault and uneven bars. Both were events Florida had topped the national event rankings for the majority of the season, so the possibility of closing the gap was definitely a possibility.

Florida picked up some more ground on vault, as the Gators’ 49.50 was the evening high total for the event by 0.25. Four Gators turned in marks of 9.9 or better, including Sloan equaling her collegiate vault best of 9.95. Alaina Johnson, King and Hunter also posted 9.9s.

After sitting out the fifth rotation on bye, Florida returned to the competition floor for its final event – uneven bars. The Gators trailed Alabama by 0.025 – the same margin that the Gators led the Tide heading into the final rotation of the 2012 Super Six final.

But this year had a different ending.

Florida’s 49.475 led all teams on Super Six bars competition. The lineup was punctuated by Johnson’ season-best of 9.95, who had just returned to the Gator lineup for NCAA Regional competition after missing eight meets with a stress reaction and stress fracture of her lower back. Sloan and Mackenzie Caquatto also earned 9.9s.

The Tide was forced to count a 9.625 toward its beam total, dropping them to third behind Oklahoma who finished with a 49.40 on floor exercise.

The fight shown by the Gators tonight was inspiring to Faehn.

“I would say that it was not an ideal opening to the competition, having fallen on the beam. But what I loved was this team rallied and didn’t let that affect them. I told them after that ‘don’t worry, just compete to your hearts content,’ Faehn said. “They came back on the floor and really they were lights out. That continued throughout the meet. It spoke volumes for their desire and their passion. The never give up attitude, because anybody could have laid down and said we are done. But they did not let that happen. I’m really proud of them.”

NCAA Championships action finishes Sunday with the NCAA Individual Event finals, which begin at 4 p.m. ET. There will be Gator representation in each apparatus final – vault (Dickerson, Hunter, Johnson), uneven bars (Mackenzie Caquatto, Johnson, Sloan), balance beam (Mackenzie Caquatto, King, Sloan) and floor exercise (King, Sloan). Hunter is the defending champion on vault. Individual event finals action can be seen live on ESPN3.

 

Florida in NCAA Championships ● Super Six Team FinaI

Final Team Totals

April 20, 2013 ● New Pauley Pavilion (4,601)

Team

Vault

Bars

Beam

Floor

Total

Florida

49.500

49.475

48.875

49.725

197.575

Oklahoma

49.125

49.375

49.475

49.400

197.375

Alabama

49.250

49.375

49.225

49.500

197.350

UCLA

49.100

48.375

49.175

49.450

197.100

LSU

49.175

49.200

49.125

49.550

197.050

Georgia

49.200

49.200

49.225

49.050

196.675

 

Gator Notes:

● Florida claims its first NCAA Gymnastics Championship. The Gators did claim the final AIAW National Team title in 1982 (transition year between AIAW and NCAA competition for women’s athletics).

● The gymnastics team won the University of Florida’s 30th National Title (28 NCAA and 2 AIAW).

● Florida wins its first NCAA title in UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion. In 1997, it was UCLA who won its first NCAA title in Florida’s Stephen C. O’Connell Center.

● The team starting NCAA Super Six competition on balance beam has won the NCAA title only three times (Utah 1995, Georgia 2005 and Florida 2013) in the 21-year history of the Super Six format.

● Florida is the fifth team to claim the NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Championship, joining Alabama, UCLA, Georgia and Utah. That is the fewest number of different teams to claim the national crown among the 13 sports challenging for national titles since the NCAA began fielding women’s championships in the 1981-82 season.

● This is the 20th time the No. 1 seed won the title in the 32-year history of the NCAA Gymnastics Championships. 

● Florida’s 49.725 is a record for NCAA Championships’ floor exercise competition.

● Florida’s 48.875 on beam is the lowest event score by a Super Six winning team since Utah’s beam total of 48.30 in 1994.

● Alaina Johnson’s 9.95 as the anchor of Florida’s uneven bars lineup matched her season best. The eight-time All-American missed eight meets prior to NCAA Regionals with a stress reaction and stress fracture of lower back.

● Bridget Sloan’s all-around total of 39.75 tonight equals her collegiate-best for the third time this season. It equals the sixth highest all-around total in Super Six history. Her 9.95 on beam also shares the highest ever in NCAA Super Six competition.

● Kytra Hunter’s 9.975 shares No. 8 on the Super Six floor score chart, behind seven 10.0s.

 

 

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