The Gator gymnastics team travels to Athens to take on the Georgia Gym Dogs on Saturday in a sold-out Stegeman Coliseum. This is the first time the Gators will compete on a Saturday afternoon this season and the third “pink” meet they’ll participate in. This is the 37th consecutive meeting between Florida and Georgia that both programs bring a Top 10 ranking into the meet.
The “pink” meets are a Southeastern Conference initiative to raise awareness about the prevention and treatment of breast cancer. The teams will put their colors aside and wear pink (in different shades) to support the cause.
Florida is coming off a huge win against the two-time defending national champion Alabama last Friday, setting the nation’s top score of 198.100. Alabama scored a 196.850. Florida now owns three of the nation’s top four scores in 2013. Coming off of receiving the SEC Gymnast of the Week honor last week, freshman Bridget Sloan posted a 39.675 all-around score, the second highest in the nation behind teammate sophomore Kytra Hunter’s 39.70. Senior Ashanée Dickerson dominated on floor, posting a career best 9.975 on floor and ending right behind Sloan in the all-around with a season-best 39.65. Gator coach Rhonda Faehn talked about the toughness of the team, especially in the response to mistakes.
Florida has at least one gymnast in the nation’s Top 10 in each of the five events. Sloan is No. 2 in the all-around (39.55) and No. 8 in vault (9.895). Dickerson is No. 7 in all-around (39.440), No. 2 in vault (9.933) and No. 4 in floor exercise (9.904). Hunter is No. 2 in floor (9.925) and No. 3 in vault (9.925). On the uneven bars, freshman Bianca Dancose-Giambattisto is No. 3 (9.892). Junior Mackenzie Caquatto holds the No. 3 position in the balance beam rankings (9.896). Faehn talks about the depth on the roster, which has been a source of comfort for the team.
Georgia’s top score this season was posted in its last home appearance with a 197.50 win against Alabama. Last Friday, Georgia and Kentucky tied in Lexington, posting a 195.825, after Georgia was forced to count a fall on the balance beam. The Gym Dogs, however, are still undefeated in SEC competition (3-0-1). Faehn talked about matching up with Georgia.
Saturday’s meet will air tape-delayed on SUN Sports on Feb. 24 at 9 p.m. Next up, the Gators return home to take on Kentucky on Feb. 22 in the O’Dome at 7 p.m.