When the top ranked Gator gymnastics team travels to Arkansas to take on #22 Arkansas tonight, it will continue putting aside their orange and blue and don pink once again. The “pink” events are a part of a Southeastern Conference initiative to raise awareness for the prevention and treatment of breast cancer. Last week was Florida’s turn to host the Link to Pink meet; this week Arkansas gets its turn.
The Gators posted the nation’s highest total last week against Auburn in a 197.650 to 196.025 win. Sophomore Kytra Gunter was awarded SEC Gymnast of the Week after posting the nation’s leading total of 39.70 to claim her second all-around win of the season. Hunter also took the vault (9.975), balance beam (9.90) and floor exercise (9.925) titles. Florida’s stellar vault rotation of 49.625 is the second highest in Gator history, second only to the 49.65 against UCLA in 2004. Gator coach Rhonda Faehn says that the team achieved the goals they had set in the meet against Auburn.
Looking to tonight’s match up, Arkansas is coming off of a season-best total of 195.775 last Friday in its upset win over then No. 11 Denver at home. Florida’s only away meet of the season thus far ended with a disappointing close loss to LSU after the Gators struggled on beam. Freshman Bridget Sloan fell off the beam at LSU, but Faehn says Sloan has learned from that experience.
Arkansas is lead by junior All-American Katherine Grable who posted the Razorback’s top all-around total of 39.45, set in its season-opener versus Georgia. Florida hasn’t won in Fayetteville since 2007, dropping their last two appearances at Barnhill Arena. Faehn says that even though the Gators are competing at a high level right now, they want to improve their scores even more at Arkansas this weekend.
The meet is slated to start at 8pm. It will air tape-delayed on CSS February 5th at 9 pm and CST (Gainesville/Ocala Cox cable 259) on February 7th at 1 pm. The Gators will be back in action at home next Friday in an exciting dual meet against defending NCAA national champions Alabama at 7pm.