10,013 fans packed the O’Dome Friday night to witness one of the best Gator gymnastics home openers in school history. The third ranked Florida gymnastics team knocked off the sixth ranked GymDogs with the fifth largest score in school history, dominating Georgia 198.05 to 196.7. Dressed in leotards full of rhinestones the defending national champions didn’t start out as strong as they hoped on vault, scoring 49.350. Junior Kytra Hunter, sophomore SEC Gymnast of the Week Bridget Sloan, and Bridgette Caquatto posted scores of 9.90 or above; while the Bulldogs scored 49.300 overall on vault. Hunter says she knows what the team is capable of and believes the team could have performed better on vault. “We’re a great vault team,” Hunter said. “I mean it’s a fight and it takes a lot of practice but we just have to keep going and keep pushing each other. One little bad day, no one wants that. We’re all fighting and trying to get better and get the highest score in team history, so we’re just going to keep working towards it.” Florida came up short on uneven bars scoring 49.450 while the Bulldogs scored 49.600. Caquatto led the way scoring a perfect 10, Hunter scored a near-perfect 9.95, while Sloan, Alaina Johnson, and Biance Dancose-Giamba scored 9.85. Moving onto the third rotation, the Gators gained momentum and re-ignited their flame scoring 49.375 on beam. Mackenzie Caquatto came out strong scoring 9.95, while Hunter and Sloan scored 9.90. Trailing in the running score through three rotations, Florida saved their best for last. In the floor exercise, Sloan and Hunter recorded back to back perfect 10’s, proving how elite the team really is. “It was like an earthquake went off when we were on floor,” Gator head coach Rhonda Faehn said. Sloan agreed. “Floor was awesome, it was absolutely incredible to be at home and get a 10,” Sloan said. “We were all jumping up and down and then I told Coach Faehn that if I could get a 10, Kytra could get an 11.” And after she went and landed on her last pass it was like an explosion in the O’ Dome.” The last 10 scored on floor was SEVENTEEN years ago in 1997, and the last time TWO Gators that scored a perfect 10 on the same night was in 1996 when Amy Myerson and Kristen Guise did so on bars. So history was set Friday as for the first time in Florida gymnastics history two gymnasts scored two perfect 10’s in the same night on floor. “I’ve never seen it,” Feahn said. “I remember the feeling of getting it. The first thing I did was look to the crowd. Gymnasts love to perform and to do that for everyone in the stands, and I felt that tonight when Bridget and Kytra did it. They’ll always have that feeling of what it felt like to be perfect.” In the immediate aftermath of Friday’s meet, Sloan explained how the team’s bond and connection fuels the team’s drive to succeed during competition. “Kyt and I have always worked really well competing together,” Sloan said. “We feed off of each other in the most positive way possible as a team, and I think that’s what makes our team so incredible.” Junior Rachel Spicer, competing on the floor for the first time since her freshman year also hit a career-high 9.975 during her floor routine after Mackenzie Caquatto and Claire Boyce opened with strong scores. “It felt so great,” Spicer said. “I get so excited not only for myself but for my teammates. We’re all in it for each other and we all have the same goal at the end of the season, so it’s great to be working hard and building now.” What a way to conclude their first home meet since winning their first national title last April in Los Angeles.
Up next, the Gators face Oklahoma in the O’ Dome Friday, January 31st at 7 p.m.
To hear audio story, click below: Faehn on two perfect scores on floor