The Gators gymnastics team returned home after a close loss to LSU last weekend to a crowd of 5,453 for a win against the Missouri Tigers. The Gators welcome Mizzou to the O’Dome for the first time as a member of the Southeastern Conference in both gymnastics and men’s basketball this weekend.
The Gators opened up strong, with senior Ashanee Dickerson receiving a 9.975 on vault, which is the 12th time a Gator has received a near perfect score of 10. Last time that happened was at last year’s NCAA National Championship with Kytra Hunter scoring a 9.975 on vault, winning her the 2012 vault title. Dickerson says the attitude of fight helped the team come back from their loss last week.
Freshman Bridget Sloan fell on the bars, but it proved not to hurt Florida, with the rest of the lineup posting all-star performances. Junior Mackenzie Caquatto posted a perfect 10 on bars, while sophomore Kytra Hunter posted a collegiate best 9.925 and junior Alaina Johnson scored a 9.950. Caquatto talks about her emotions after receiving the perfect score.
Beam was Florida’s Achilles’ heel last week, with two falls contributing to their narrow loss to LSU. All the Gators in the beam lineup stayed on the beam this week, with Sloan posting a 9.90. Sloan says it was important to put the fall on bars behind her going into the beam rotation.
A solid floor rotation, rounded out by a spectacular 9.90 performance by Dickerson sealed the win and the all-around title for the senior crowd favorite. The Gators recorded a final score of 197.3 to Missouri’s 194.625. Gators coach Rhonda Faehn reflects on the meet and what the team needs to work on as the season progresses.
Next week the Gators return home to the O’Connell Center to take on the Auburn Tigers in the 7th annual Link To Pink meet, which benefits Breast Cancer, at 7pm.