Florida gymnastics is on the road to the NCAA Championships, but first they must get through the NCAA Morgantown Regionals. The meet is set for Saturday, April 4th in the WVU Coliseum. In order to advance to NCAA Championships, the team must have a top-two finish.
The teams competing at the Morgantown Regional competition are Florida, Illinois, Stanford, Arkansas, New Hampshire, and West Virginia. Florida, Illinois, and Stanford all advanced to NCAA Championships last year with the Gators taking the the first place regional finish. UF head coach Rhonda Faehn said her team is excited to travel to West Virginia for the meet.
“We’ve had a great week of training and it was a great opportunity for our athletes to recover a little bit physically,” she said.
The Gators are coming off a third place finish at SEC Championships. There they took the vault, bars, and floor titles but struggled on the beam. The two teams to defeat them at this meet were Alabama (first) and LSU (second). Faehn said despite the trials of this season, the team is prepared to take on the regional competition.
“It’s been a very long season and we’ve had so many different challenges here and there. And I really think that we’re heading into the most important time in our season, but it’s also the most exciting part of the season. And this is what our athletes look forward to the most.”
The Gators also picked up quite a few honors at the SEC Awards released on March 26th. Kytra Hunter became the third Gator to take the SEC Gymnast of the Year award; Kennedy Baker shared the SEC Freshman of the Year award with Arkansas’ Paige Zaziski; and six Gators made the All-SEC team, setting the league high.
With Regionals fast approaching, Florida still has not announced a definite lineup. Faehn said there are many factors that go into this decision.
“We have to take in the whole package. We have to take in everything from how they’re doing right now as well as what their competitive experience and what their consistency ratio has been the entire season.”
Florida sits at number two nationally heading into the meet. Competition is set to begin Saturday at 4 p.m.
To listen to Rhonda Faehn’s audio clips, click below.