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No. 1 Gators looks to become first league school since 2006 to claim three consecutive SEC Gymnastics titles this Saturday

Wednesday March 19, 2014No. 1 Florida gymnastics looks for third-straight SEC title Saturday

Gainesville, Fla.

No. 1 Gators looks to become first league school since 2006 to claim three consecutive SEC Gymnastics titles this Saturday

Gators on SEC Championships podium training day Ė photos by Mike Erdelyi

GAINESVILLE, Fla. Ė Top-ranked Florida looks to defend its league title at the highly competitive Southeastern Conference Gymnastics Championships, set for March 22 in the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex (BJCC) in Birmingham, Ala.

 

Top-ranked competition

The 2014 Southeastern Conference Championships marks the sixth time in the meetís 34-year history that a pair of teams enter as No. 1 and No. 2 in the national rankings.

 

SEC Championships featuring nationís top two teams (since 1987)

Year

No. 1

No. 2

2011

Florida

Alabama

2007

Florida

Georgia

1999

Georgia

Alabama

1996

Georgia

Alabama

1995

Georgia

Alabama

Bold denotes SEC champion

Four of the nationís top-10 teams (No. 1 Florida, No.2 LSU, No. 4 Alabama and No. 6 Georgia) are among the eight-team SEC field. This is the 17th time a league team has brought the No. 1 ranking into the SEC meet and the fifth time UF has brought the top ranking (2007, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014). Of the nationís top 20 team scores posted this season, 14 came from SEC programs, including nine of the top 12. In addition, an all-around total of 39.60 or above has been posted 41 times this season among the nationís collegiate gymnasts Ė and SEC gymnasts have 27 of those marks.

 

SEC Championships Format:

With the addition of Missouri to the league in 2013, the format for the SEC Championships is now two four-team sessions. Teams seeded No. 5-8 (based on March 17 regional qualifying scores) compete in Saturdayís opening session at 3 p.m. ET followed by seeds 1-4 at 7 p.m. ET. Scores from the two sessions are combined to determine the team and event champions. As the top seed in the evening session, Florida earned the Olympic rotation (vault-bars-beam-floor) for Saturdayís competition.

 

Saturdayís Meet Info:

No. 1 Florida (9-1, 6-1 SEC) at Southeastern Conference Championships

 

Date & Time: Saturday, March 22

Session I Ė 3 p.m. ET (Seeds 5-6-7-8)

Session II Ė 7 p.m. ET (Seeds 1-2-3-4)

 

Site: Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex (BJCC) (14,000)

 

Television: meet airs tape-delayed ESPNU (Gainesville/Ocala Cox cable channel 1251) on March 27 at 5:30 p.m. ET and on ESPN2 (Cox cable 27 or 1027) on March 29 at 11 a.m. ET

 

Florida in the SEC: Florida owns nine Southeastern Conference team titles Ė 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1989, 2007, 2010, 2012 and 2013.

 

Internet: no live video stream available; live stats available on GatorZone.com

 

Tickets: $18 for reserved seats and $14 for general admission. Tickets are available at TicketMaster site

 

Florida in SEC Championships: See meet-by-meet results here.

 

 

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The last SEC Championships held at a school site was in Gainesville, Fla., in 2000. Every league championships since has been held on a neutral site. This is the sixth time the SEC Championships have appeared in Birmingham, with Georgia winning the 2001, 2001, 2006 titles and Alabama taking the 2003 and 2011 titles.

 

In the regular-season finale:

For the second consecutive year, Florida finished regular-season action by posting the seasonís top road score in the nation. This time, Florida turned in its second-highest total of 2014, 198.20, to take the win at Missouri (194.30) on March 14. That total also stands as the nationís third-highest of the season, as Florida has four of the nationís top seven of 2014.Sophomore Bridget Sloan equaled Alaina Johnsonís week-old school-record and national leading all-around total of 39.825 to claim her eighth consecutive title. Junior Kytra Hunterís 10.0 floor exercise performance is her fourth perfect mark on the event. Hunter and Sloan shared the vault win at 9.95, while Sloan won the uneven bars (9.975) and balance beam (9.95).

 

Sloan receives fifth SEC Gymnast of the Week honor:

After her school-record and national-leading all-around total of 39.825, Sloan is the SEC Gymnast of the Week. Sloanís all-around total is not only is the top regular-season total since Georgiaís Courtney Kupets posted a 39.85 in 2009, it is the top regular-season road total in the nation since LSUís April Burkholder turned in a 39.875 in 2003. That total gave Sloan her eighth consecutive all-around win of 2014 and it is the 15th win of her career. The SEC Gymnast of the Week is the fifth for Sloan this season. She is among three different Gators to receive the honor in 2014

 

Gator 10.0s in 2014:

Hunterís 10.0 on floor at Missouri marks the seventh meet with a perfect score this season. The Gatorsí eight 10.0 marks in 2014 Ė Sloan on floor exercise and balance beam and Hunter four times on floor and twice on vault - is most for the Gators in a single season, with the previous high of three coming in 1998, all off Susan Hinesí vault marks, and 1996 with a 10.0 vault by Hines and 10.0 uneven bar routines by Kristen Guise and Amy Myerson.

 

Floridaís eight 10.0 marks leads the nation in 2014 and Sloan and Hunter were the first two in the nation to earn 10.0s in multiple events.

 

Raising the level of competition - literally:

This is the ninth consecutive year that the SEC Championships will be contested on podium. This same podium was used for each of the last four NCAA Championships, including 2013 in Los Angeles, Calif. This podium will also return to the BJCC in April for the NCAA Gymnastics Championships.

 

Gators in 2013 SEC Championships competition:

The Gatorsí collected their second consecutive and ninth overall SEC team title on March 23 in North Little Rock, Ark. Floridaís winning total of 198.00 was the nationís top road score of 2013.

 

It was a tightly contested meet, as the lead moved among the teams through the opening three rotations and the 2013 marked the first time in the meetís 33-year history the top four teams all posted final team totals of 197 or better. 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).

 

For the second consecutive year, a Gator freshman claimed the SEC all-around title, as Sloan shared the win at 39.75 with LSUís Rheagan Courville. Marks of 9.95 also earned Sloan shares of two apparatus titles. She and Hunter were among a five-way tie for first for the floor exercise title. Sloan also shared the uneven bars win with Georgiaís Brittany Rogers.

 

Hunter and Sloan both earned spots on the All-SEC team and Sloan is also part of the SEC All-Freshman team. Sloan was named the SEC Freshman of the Year and Rhonda Faehn was the SEC Coach of the Year for the fourth consecutive year and for the sixth time in her career.

 

Tape-delay broadcast:

The 2014 SEC Championships airs tape-delayed on ESPNU March 27 at 5:30 p.m. ET and on ESPN2 March 29 at 11 a.m. ET

 

Tickets:

$18 for reserved seats and $14 for general admission. Tickets are available at TicketMaster site

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