In front of a crowd of 8,159, the sixth largest crowd in Gators history, third ranked Florida was victorious over 18th ranked Auburn, posting a season best score of 197.650 to the Tiger’s 196.025. The seventh annual Link to Pink meet opened with the moving testimonial of a breast cancer survivor and the Gators gymnasts running out of a tunnel lined by breast cancer survivors. Everyone was wearing pink. Gators senior and crowd favorite Ashanée Dickerson says the crowd is a big reason why the team competed so well.
The Gators opened up the vault rotation with a bang. Four of the six gymnasts who competed in the event score above a 9.90, including sophomore Kytra Hunter, who tied her collegiate best on vault, scoring a near perfect 9.975. The Gators scored a 49.625 on vault, the second highest score in school history, only .025 points behind the current record. Freshman Bridget Sloan talks about how the coaches selected the vault line up for the week.
After vault, the Gators took the lead and never looked back. Entering the uneven bar rotation, freshman Bianca Dancose-Giambattisto made her collegiate bar debut posting a 9.925, taking a share of the bar title with fellow freshman Sloan, who also scored a 9.925. The confidence continued to show on the bars, with four more of the six gymnasts posting a 9.90 or above. Gator coach Rhonda Faehn talks more about Dancose-Giambattisto’s bar debut.
The beam has been a source of struggle for the Gators, who have otherwise been competing at an extremely high level. This week, the gymnasts came out and posted solid scores, with Hunter winning her first beam title of the year with a 9.90. The team ended on floor, with big time performances by senior Marissa King, Dickerson and Hunter. Hunter took three out of four event titles in the meet, along with the All-Around title, but claims the team win was much more significant than the titles.
The Gators are on the road next week, traveling to Arkansas to take on the Razorbacks at 8pm. After that, the Gators are coming home to take on defending NCAA champion Alabama on February 8th at 7pm in the O’Dome.