The Florida gymnastics team had its SEC opener and home meet debut Friday night against the Auburn Tigers. The final score of the meet had Florida at 197.200 and Auburn at 195.650, with Florida topping Auburn on every event. This meet was also the first ever live gymnastics action to air on the SEC Network.
The Gators started off the meet with a bang when freshman Alex McMurtry scored a perfect 10.0 on vault. This was just McMurtry’s second meet ever competing for the Gators. McMurtry naturally was excited.
“When everyone started screaming ‘ten! ten! ten!’ it was just the best feeling and I love that the first meet at home I was able to score a perfect ten,” McMurtry said.
Aside from having the winning vault score, she also won the most entertaining award for the meet. Kennedy Baker also had an impressive vault score with a 9.875.
Despite a fall on beam, Bianca Dancose-Giambattisto did become this meet’s bars champion with a score of 9.95. The only other fall the for the Gators was from Bridgette Caquatto on floor. Kytra Hunter was the meet’s floor champion while also tying with Auburn’s Caitlin Atkinson for the all-around title.
Auburn has not beaten Florida since 2004 but the Tigers got a nice performance from Atkinson who managed to take home the medal on beam along with her tie for the all-around title. This meet marked the 100th opponent for Auburn’s coach Jeff Graba, who is in his fifth season with the Tigers.
The Gators were missing two of their top competitors this meet due to injuries in Bridget Sloan and Jamie Shisler. But senior Kytra Hunter says the team will just keep on trying to do the best it can.
“We’re just going to keep pushing hard and keep training hard,” she said.
On the other hand, three of the team’s four freshmen got their chance to compete. Alex McMurtry on vault, bars, and beam, Kennedy Baker on all events, and Erica Fassbender on floor. This freshman class, including Grace McLaughlin, ranks number one on the 2014-15 CollegeGymFans.com top recruiting classes list.
The Gators will travel to Tuscaloosa, Alabama next Friday to take on the Crimson Tide. But before they hit the road, Gator head coach Rhonda Faehn said they have a few things to improve.
“We’re going to work on getting the landings a little higher and just the crispness in everything, a little bit more aggressive and they’ll get that as the competitions go on.”
To listen to audio clips, click below.