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The Gators opened SEC action Friday with a 197.075-196.225 win at Auburn.

Friday January 17, 2014No. 4 Gator gymnastics team opens SEC action with win at No. 18 Auburn

AUBURN, Ala. -

The Gators opened SEC action Friday with a 197.075-196.225 win at Auburn.

AUBURN, Ala. – The No. T4 Florida gymnastics team opened the 2014 Southeastern Conference season with a win at No. 18 Auburn in front of an Auburn Arena crowd of 5,588. The defending NCAA and SEC champions posted a 197.075 and the Tigers earned a total of 196.225.

 

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Photo by Erin Long

Sophomore All-American Bridget Sloan took the all-around win at Auburn with a total of 39.70 – the nation’s leader through Jan. 17 competition. She shared the floor exercise (9.90) and vault (9.95) wins and also picked up the uneven bars title (9.925).

The Gators trailed the Tigers by 0.275 following the opening rotation after Auburn posted the nation’s fourth highest vault total of 49.40. That lead evaporated after the Gators’ nearly matched that vault total with their 49.375, giving Florida a 0.225 advantage at the midway point. Florida upped its season-floor exercise best to 49.15 on the next rotation. The nation’s season-high balance beam total of 49.425 on Florida’s final event pushed the Gators to the win.

 

GATOR PERFORMANCE NOTES:

·         Sophomore All-American Bridget Sloan collected her seventh all-around title of her collegiate career with her total of 39.70. Sloan also equaled her collegiate vault best of 9.95 to share that event title. She won bars (9.925) and shared the floor exercise win with teammate Kytra Hunter and Auburn’s Bri Guy at 9.90.

·         Senior Mackenzie Caquatto anchored Florida’s beam set with a Gator season-best 9.95. It was her seventh beam win of her career.

·         Tonight’s shared title was the 14th floor win for Hunter. Two meets into her junior campaign and Hunter has upped her collegiate events titles total to 42, which stands 10th all-time among the Gators.

 

RECORDS: Florida (2-0, 1-0 SEC SEC); Auburn (1-1, 0-1 SEC).

 

THE SERIES: All-time, Florida leads Auburn 65-11.

 

WATCH: The Florida-Auburn dual airs tape-delayed on a pair of ESPN channels starting next week. Friday’s meet airs tape-delayed Jan. 23 on ESPNU at 6:30 p.m. (Gainesville/Ocala Cox cable channel 251 or 1251) and Jan. 26 at 6 p.m. ET on ESPN2 (channel 27 or 1027).

 

QUOTES
What did you think of the Gators’ performance in their second meet of the season?

“It was another great stp as we take this season it one meet at a time. It was a great improvement from our UCLA competition and to finish the way we did on balance beam was exceptional. They really fed off of each other and competed aggressively. I loved seeing that – especially when we were competing on the road. It was challenging – two road meets is very hard. This is the first time we’ve done that since my first season at Florida.

 

Florida Event Winners Friday

Vault:

Bridget Sloan

9.95

Uneven Bars:

Bridget Sloan

9.925

Balance Beam:

Mackenzie Caquatto

9.95

Floor Exercise

Bridget Sloan

9.90

 

Kytra Hunter

9.90

All-Around

Bridget Sloan

39.70

 “I’m really proud of how they performed. I feel like they earned every score they got tonight and didn’t let anything affect them that they couldn’t control. Actually there are areas that we are excited to get back into the gym and have a full week to train as we will be back home in the O’Dome. It was such a fast turnaround from UCLA – we only had two days to train this week. We are looking forward to getting back home and getting a full week in.” - Florida Head Coach Rhonda Faehn

 

How did you think the Gators handled their problem tonight?

“They are just so close as a team and they really are supportive of one another. There were little issues here and there tonight. I loved that it didn’t get them down and it didn’t snowball. The next person came in and said ‘hey, it’s ok. Let’s pick it up and let’s go.’ I think there was tremendous leadership out there, especially from our senior class. Kytra Hunter did amazing – her beam was amazing. Bridget Sloan – I can’t say enough about how incredible she did. And Macko’s [Mackenzie Caquatto] beam to finish it out was really great too. So many highlights tonight.” Florida Head Coach Rhonda Faehn

 

Can you describe the feeling when you stuck that beam dismount after that stellar routine?

“I just wanted to do the best I could for the team. When I landed with the stick, it was kind of like the cherry on top for the meet tonight. It was a great feeling to get out there with my new dismount and stick it.” – senior All-American Mackenzie Caquatto

 

What were the differences between the season opener at UCLA and tonight’s competition?

“I feel we were more confident tonight. We had the first meet of the season behind us. I think the team did really well. We were really loud and having fun. When we have fun, that’s when we do our best. The energy was high and that helped us perform our best.” – senior All-American Mackenzie Caquatto

 

It was the Gators’ second meet of the season tonight. How did you think the Gators performed?

“We did a lot of better than last week. We only had a couple of days to train so we worked on the little things like getting our handstands on bars and trying to get those stuck landings on vault, floor and beam. I think overall we did a better job than we did last weekend.” – junior All-American Kytra Hunter

 

What did you attribute the team’s energy to tonight?

“We all stayed in our little bubble. That is one thing that is so great about this team. No matter what the scores or what is happening, we stayed with each other. It also great to see orange and blue – even though it isn’t the right shade. It is a lot of fun to see crazy fans out there so that also pumped us up too.” – junior All-American Kytra Hunter

 

Are you looking forward to next Friday’s home opener?

“I can’t wait. Our athletes absolutely love being at home. We really need to get all of our fans out there. We need to sell out the O’Dome. Georgia is coming and it will be an exciting competition. There will be some great, great gymnastics for the fans to see. I know our team can’t wait to run out of our Gator head tunnel and do a huge competition for our fans.” - Florida Head Coach Rhonda Faehn

 

Ready to open the home season next Friday?

“I am so stoked. And I am so excited for our freshmen to get to experience what a home Gator meet is like because they are unreal. They are absolutely incredible and I think they are going to have the time of their life.” – sophomore All-American Bridget Sloan

 

WORTH NOTING
A Gator has turned in an all-around total of 39.70 or better now 15 times – and Sloan has one third of those totals…this is the third consecutive season Florida opens SEC action with a road meet…Florida opened the season at then No. 4 UCLA last Saturday – this is the first season since 2003 that the Gators’ started a campaign with two road meets…Florida’s total tonight stands as the nation’s top road score (197.075) of this very young season…Sloan takes her first all-around title of 2014 and seventh of Gator career – moving her into 12th all-time among Florida all-around winners…Florida’s vault set included two Gators equaling their collegiate bests – Sloan (9.95) and Mackenzie Caquatto (9.925)…the 9.95 beam mark from Mackenzie Caquatto was the fourth time she has earned that mark on the event, with the last coming in 2013 NCAA Championships’ semifinal competition.

 

TIGER EVENT WINNERS:

Vault – Bri Guy (9.95)

Floor – Bri Guy (9.90)

 

NATIONAL RANK:

Florida – Florida is No. T4 in the Jan. 13 GymInfo National Rankings.

Auburn – The Tigers are No. 18 in the GymInfo rankings. Seven SEC teams appear among the current top 20.

 

UP NEXT:

The Gators make their first home appearance as defending NCAA champions when they play host to No. 9 Georgia (1-2, 1-0 SEC) on Friday, Jan. 24. Meet time is set for 7 p.m. in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center. The GymDogs opened their home season on Friday with a 197.175-196.875 win versus No. 2 LSU.

 

Season tickets are still available for the low price $25. Find more information at the Gator Ticket Office link or by calling the Gator Ticket Office at 1-800-34-GATOR from 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Gator season ticket holders can take advantage of reserved parking, a new offering for the 2013 season. Complete information is also at the Gator Ticket Office link.

 

The first 1,000 fans Friday receive a commemorative 2013 National Championship pint glasses and schedule key tags. The Gators will autograph team posters following Friday’s meet.

 

The Florida-Georgia dual will air tape-delayed on CST (Gainesville/Ocala channel 259 on Cox Cable) on a date and time to be announced.

 

Streaming video of Friday’s meet can be found on GatorVision (subscription service) and live scoring can be found on GatorZone.com.

 

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No. T4 Florida at No. 18 Auburn

Final Team Totals

Jan. 17, 2014 ● Auburn Arena (5,588)

Team

Vault

Bars

Beam

Floor

Total

Florida

49.375

49.125

49.425

49.15

197.075

Auburn

49.400

48.875

48.875

49.075

196.225

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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