After a week off for spring break, the second ranked Gator gymnastics team travels to Salt Lake City to take on seventh ranked Utah in the regular season closer Saturday night. Two weeks ago at Senior Night, the Gators rolled past number 14 Minnesota in a 198.425-197.125 win, posting both the nation’s new top score and the new top score in program history.
Sophomore Kytra Hunter upped her collegiate best all-around score to a 39.8, which now sits as the nation’s top all-around score and ties for the top score in Gators’ program history. Freshman Bridget Sloan was right behind her with a 39.75, which is currently the second highest all-around score in the nation. Hunter snagged up her second SEC Gymnast of the Week award for her performance, and Sloan grabbed her second consecutive SEC Freshman of the Week honor.
All four event titles were won by Gators with the near-perfect score of 9.975. Hunter grabbed the vault, scoring her fifth 9.975 in the last 11 meets. Sloan upped her collegiate-best to grab the balance beam. Junior Mackenzie Caquatto won the bars, and senior Marissa King ran away with the floor title.
Utah had its seven-meet win streak come to an end with a 197.650-196.975 loss at number eight Georgia last Saturday. The Utes posted their season-best total of 197.30 in a February 23 home win over Stanford. Sophomore Georgia Dabritz is the 2012 Pac-12 Freshman of the Year and set the Utes’ season-high all-around total of 39.525 on January 19.
This is the fourth time Florida has brought the number one or number two ranking into the Huntsman Center since 2007. The Gators were top ranked in their last visit to the Huntsman Center in 2011 and took a 197.00-196.75 win. In 2007, UF claimed its first win against the Utes in a dual meet (197.05-196.725) held in the Huntsman Center. Gator coach Rhonda Faehn talks about the challenges competing at Utah will bring.
The Florida-Utah meet was moved to a Saturday night so it could be broadcast on live television. This means there’s a short turn around for the Gators who are traveling to Little Rock, Ark. next weekend for the SEC Championships. Faehn says that at this point in the season, the athletes should be able to not let the short week effect them.
The lineups for Utah could be changed as the coaches try rest athletes or make sure nagging injuries go away before the SEC Championships. Sophomore Kiersten Wang is expected to be back out on floor after injuring her hand two weeks ago. Junior Alaina Johnson has been out most of the season with a sore back, but was cleared last week by doctors to start training again. Faehn says Johnson should be back in the bars lineup by the time the team travels to SECs.
The meet is slated to begin at 8 p.m. with coverage on the Pac-12 Network. The SEC Championships will be held on Saturday, March 23.