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Florida opens the home season Friday versus Georgia. The Gators will autograph team posters post-meet.

Friday January 24, 2014Pack the Dome: Defending NCAA champion Florida gymnastics opens home action Friday versus Georgia

Gainesville, Fla.

Florida opens the home season Friday versus Georgia. The Gators will autograph team posters post-meet.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The No. 3 Florida gymnastics team makes its first home appearance as the defending NCAA champions Friday when it plays host to No. 6 Georgia. Meet time is set for 7 p.m. ET in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center.

 

Friday’s Meet Info:

No. 3 Florida (2-0, 1-0 SEC) versus No. 6 Georgia (2-2, 1-0 SEC)

 

Date & Time: Friday, Jan. 24 at 7 p.m. ET

Site: Stephen C. O’Connell Center (10,126); gates 1 & 2 open at 5:30 p.m.

 

Television: meet airs tape-delayed on CST (Gainesville/Ocala Cox cable channel 259 or 1259) on Jan. 29 at 9 p.m. and again Feb. 1 at 5 p.m.

 

Series Record (all-time): Georgia leads 92-42-1. Last meeting, Florida won the 2013 NCAA Super Six team final at 197.575 and Georgia was sixth at 196.675.

 

Internet: video stream available on GatorVision; live stats available on GatorZone.com

 

Tickets: $5 for adults; children 17 & under and UF students with Gator1 card admitted free. Check the Florida Ticket Office site for more information.

 

Parking Shuttle: A complimentary parking shuttle transports fans from the UF Commuter Lot on Gale Lemerand Drive to the O’Connell Center. More information at GatorZone.com/Gameday

 

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Meet Promotions: Pack the Dome - plan to be in the O’Connell Center Friday as the 2013 NCAA champion Gators make their first home appearance of 2014; Pint Glass Giveaway – the 1,000 fans receive a coupon for a commemorative National Championship glass courtesy of Gatorade. Redeem coupon at meet’s conclusion; LightsUp! App – Be a part of the intro video show by downloading the LightsUp App;  New Kids Meal – a Kids Meal is now available for fans 12 and under for only $5.  It consists of an Uncrustables PB&J, drink box, cookie, crayons and an activity pad.  Purchase at the Gate 1 concessions stand; Kids Korner – Kids can take their photo with the Gators 2013 National Championship trophy from 5:30-7:30 p.m.  Kids can meet the Dazzlers, color their Alberta’s Link to Pink coloring contest form, get their face painted, make a hair ribbon and much more!; Gator Gymnastics Autographs - the entire Gator team will sign team posters post-meet.

 

Visit the Gator Promotions page for all promotions for Friday’s meet

 

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It is the kick-off event for Pack the Dome weekend. The goal is to draw a combined 25,000 fans to the four UF sporting events at the O’Connell Center from Friday to Sunday. After Friday gymnastics meet, the O’Connell Center will play host to the Florida-Auburn swim meet (11 a.m.) and the Florida-Tennessee men’s basketball game (4 p.m.) on Saturday. The Florida-Auburn women’s basketball game on Sunday at 3 p.m. concludes the O’Connell Center’s athletic action for the weekend.

 

The first 1,000 fans Friday receive a commemorative 2013 National Championship pint glass. After Friday’s meet, the entire Gator team will sign team posters post-meet.

 

Last Friday in Gators’ SEC Opener:

Florida opened league action Friday with a 197.075-196.225 win at No. 18 Auburn. Sophomore Bridget Sloan won at least a share of four event titles at Auburn, including using the nation’s leading total of 39.70 to win the all-around. Sloan shared her vault win when she matched her collegiate-high of 9.95. She and teammate Kytra Hunter were among a three-way tie for first on floor exercise at 9.90 and Sloan also claimed the uneven bars win at 9.925. Senior Mackenzie Caquatto anchored the Gators’ beam set with a team season-high of 9.95 to take her first win on the event this season. She also equaled her collegiate vault best of 9.925 to share third.

 

Sloan SEC Gymnast of the Week:

Sloan picked up the SEC Gymnast of the Week honor, giving the Gators two consecutive such honors as Hunter shared the previous week’s honor. This is the second SEC Gymnast of the Week honor for the defending NCAA all-around champion.

 

Sloan’s 39.70 to claim her seventh collegiate all-around title is the nation’s high total of this young season. 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.

 

She also won at least a share of the evening’s vault, bars and floor titles. The four dual-meet event wins is a high for Sloan. She now owns 26 event titles as a Gator.

 

Last Year:

Florida and Georgia last met in regular-season action for a sold-out Stegeman Coliseum crowd on the afternoon of Feb.16, 2013, with the Gators claiming a 197.30-196.175 win. The Gators trailed the GymDogs after each of the opening two rotations and the GymDogs owned a 0.150 lead at the midway point. A solid, but not spectacular, Gator performance in the floor exercise coupled with GymDogs troubles on the balance beam put Florida ahead for good. The Gators used consistent scores on beam to claim the win. Sloan won the all-around (39.60) and shared the uneven bars win (9.95).

 

The two programs met a total of four times in 2013, with Florida winning its second consecutive SEC title (198.00) and Georgia finished fourth (197.325). The two teams also met in both NCAA Championships’ semifinal (Florida 197.775, Georgia 197.15) and Super Six (197.575, Georgia 196.675) competition.

 

The Gym Dogs in the Opening Two Weekends:

After starting the season with road losses at then No. 3 Oklahoma (197.70-196.50) and No. 9 Stanford (196.325-196.15), Georgia returned home to post a pair of wins. The GymDogs upset No. 2 LSU 197.175-196.875 on Friday and used the nation’s second-highest total so far to defeat Iowa 197.40-194.675 on Monday. A GymDog won at least a share of the bars, beam and floor titles versus the Tigers and swept the meet titles versus the Hawkeyes.

 

Six GymDog All-Americans return in 2014, including sophomore and 2012 Canadian Olympian Brittany Rogers who shared the 2013 SEC bars title with Sloan and also was among a three-way tie for the SEC balance beam crown.

 

All three of the gymnasts who received weekly SEC honors will be in the O’Connell Center Friday. Georgia’s Chelsea Davis is the SEC Specialist of the Week and her teammate Kiera Brown is the SEC Freshman of the Week.  

 

National Rank:

Florida – Florida is No. 3 in the Jan. 20 GymInfo rankings. The current rankings are based on total season average.

Georgia – The GymDogs are No. 6 in the GymInfo rankings.

 

Top 10 Meetings:

Friday will be the 42nd consecutive meeting between Florida and Georgia that both teams bring a top-10 national ranking into the competition. That is every meeting between the two programs since Rhonda Faehn took over Florida’s coaching duties for the 2003 season.

 

Gators Return Four All-Americans in 2014:

The Gators return four gymnasts in 2014 (Mackenzie Caquatto, Kytra Hunter, Alaina Johnson and Bridget Sloan) who own a total of 26 All-America honors. The Gators won the Southeastern Conference, NCAA Gainesville Regional and NCAA championship team titles last year. In 2014, Florida returns 17 of 24 routines it competed in the 2013 NCAA Championships.

 

Tape-delay broadcast:

Friday’s meet airs tape-delayed on CST (Gainesville/Ocala Cox cable channel 259 or 1259) on Jan. 29 at 9 p.m. and again Feb. 1 at 5 p.m.

 

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