In front of a crowd of 8,074 fans, the top-ranked Florida gymnastics team knocked off the two time defending national champion Alabama Friday night with the second highest score in school history, raising the nation’s top score, which the team had previously recorded against Auburn, to a 198.100. Alabama scored 196.850.
The Gators started out strong on vault, scoring a 49.475, showing once again why Florida is number one in the country on vault. Freshman Bridget Sloan, sophomore Kytra Hunter, and seniors Ashanée Dickerson and Marissa King posted scores of 9.90 or above. Sloan says it doesn’t matter what apparatus the team starts or ends on, it’s the energy of the team that leads to their success.
Coming off the electric energy from the vault rotation, the Gators continued to gain momentum on the uneven bars. Another four gymnasts, freshman Bianca Dancose-Giambattisto, King, Sloan and junior Mackenzie Caquatto scored a 9.90 or above. This is the first time that Caquatto has performed in all four rotations since her freshman year due to injuries. Faehn says that this was a huge moment for Caquatto.
The sophomore Hunter was coming off of an injury and a three day stomach virus, which limited her practice time. She fell on the bars and on the beam, but the exceptional performances by the rest of the team led to Hunter’s scored to be dropped and not counted into the team total. Coach Faehn talks about Hunter’s performance.
With the Gators leading going into the final rotation and the crowd as vocal as it has been the whole season, the Florida gymnasts dominated on floor. Four more Gators scored above 9.90, including a collegiate best 9.975 for Dickerson. Faehn says that Friday’s performance is the best she has seen out of Dickerson while she has competed at Florida.
SEC Gymnast of the Week Sloan took her second consecutive all around title with her collegiate best score of 39.675, the second highest all around score in the nation this year, just behind teammate Hunter’s 39.70, and a share of the uneven bars title with a score of 9.95. Caquatto won the other half of the bars title with her 9.95 and also took the balance beam title with a 9.925. Dickerson talks about her near perfect routine that won her the floor title.
Friday night’s meet will air tape-delayed on SUN Sports February 16 at 8:30 p.m. Next, the Gators look forward to traveling to Athens to take on the third consecutive opponent which qualified for the 2012 NCAA Championships, the sixth-ranked Georgia Bulldogs (5-4, 3-0 SEC) on Saturday, February 16. The meet is slated to start at 4 p.m. in the Stegeman Coliseum.