Florida Gymnastics posted its best score of the season, and the highest national score of the season, to defeat the Missouri Tigers 198.225 to 195.975 Friday night in Gainesville. The Gators earned 15 scores above a 9.90 in the win, with the highest score of the night going to Kennedy Baker, 9.975 on floor.
“They competed with heart, and that was the biggest thing I was trying to impress upon them,” head coach Rhonda Faehn says, “not to focus on what we don’t have, but what we are, what we have, and what we can contribute.”
The Gators have been improving since their loss to Alabama three weeks ago, winning their last three meets and setting season records as they go. Florida posted their best score of the season against Georgia, their best road score of the season against Arkansas, and beat their previous season best against Missouri.
“You can see the overall change from Alabama, the overall closeness of the team and how they’re really supporting one another and cheering for each other and it’s genuine,” Faehn says, “The more you’re supportive from number one to number 13, the better we’re going to do as a team, and they’re really seeing that.”
Florida took the titles in each event and the award for Most Entertaining Performance. Alex McMurtry and Kytra Hunter tied for vault, Bianca Dancose-Giambattisto won on the uneven bars, Claire Boyce and Kytra Hunter tied on the balance beam, Kennedy Baker won the floor exercise, and Kytra Hunter won the All-Around title and the Most Entertaining Performance Award for beam.
“They went out and competed aggressively, but also had fun, and the results speak for themselves, that we’re an incredibly talented team.” Faehn adds, “They’re a huge group of fighters that’s passionate and excited for what we still have to accomplish.”
The Gators will be on the road to take on another group of Tigers at LSU February 20th. They will be back in the O’Dome on February 27th, for their Link to Pink meet against Kentucky at 6:45.
Listen here for Rhonda Faehn sound: