Number 1 Ranked Gator Gymnastics Down Arkansas
GAINESVILLE, Fla. - The No. 1 Florida gymnastics team won its Valentine’s Day meeting with No. 11 Arkansas Friday in front of a Stephen C. O’Connell Center crowd of 6,124. Florida turned in a 197.525 and the Razorbacks posted a 196.025.
Junior All-American Kytra Hunter<http://www.gatorzone.com/guides/gymnastics/pages/season_info/player_bios/hunter_kytra.php> ended the Gators’ first rotation with a bang, scoring her first 10.0 on vault. Hunter had been oh-so-close to the perfect mark, earning a 9.975 at six previous meets.
It was Florida’s fourth consecutive meet with a 10.0, as Hunter and sophomore Bridget Sloan<http://www.gatorzone.com/guides/gymnastics/pages/season_info/player_bios/sloan_bridget.php> started the streak with perfect floor routines on Jan. 24. Hunter earned her second floor 10.0 on Jan. 31 and Sloan collected the mark for her beam routine last Friday at Kentucky.
Hunter started a Gator sweep of the event titles, as senior All-Americans Alaina Johnson<http://www.gatorzone.com/guides/gymnastics/pages/season_info/player_bios/johnson_alaina.php> and Mackenzie Caquatto<http://www.gatorzone.com/guides/gymnastics/pages/season_info/player_bios/caquatto_mackenzie.php> shared tonight’s uneven bars win as each equaled Florida’s season-high of 9.95.
Sloan took the balance beam (9.90) and floor exercise (9.975) titles, helping her equal her career-best all-around total of 39.75 for the second time in 2014. That total also is the nation’s leader in 2014. Sloan, the defending NCAA all-around champion, has won five consecutive all-around titles this season.
Arkansas senior Katherine Grable was the all-around runner-up at 39.575 while teammate Amanda Wellick was third at 39.30.
GATOR PERFORMANCE NOTES:
* Of the 12 Gators to post a perfect score in the program’s 42-year history, Hunter is the second to earn a 10.0 on multiple events. She earned her first 10.0s last month in Jan. 24 and Jan. 31 floor exercise performances and now adds a vault 10.0. Last week, Sloan became the first Gator to earn 10.0s on multiple events. She recorded her first on floor on Jan. 24 and then added a beam 10.0 at Kentucky on Feb. 7.
* Johnson and Mackenzie Caquatto shared tonight’s uneven bars win. It was Mackenzie Caquatto’s second win on the event in 2014 and the 16th of her career. For Johnson, it was her first win on the event since taking the 2013 NCAA title and her 14th collegiate bars win.
* Sloan’s five consecutive all-around wins is the most for Florida since Corey Hartung<http://www.gatorzone.com/gymnastics/bios.php?year=2009&player_id=2> collected four straight in 2006. The Gators’ record for consecutive all-around wins is 11 by Melissa Miller in 1988.
RECORDS: Florida (6-0, 4-0 SEC); Arkansas (3-4, 1-4 SEC).
THE SERIES: All-time, Florida leads 31-3.
WATCH: The Florida-Arkansas dual airs tape-delayed on SUN Sports (Gainesville/Ocala Cox cable channel 48 or 1048). The meet airs on Feb. 22 at 5 p.m., Feb. 23 at 8:30 a.m., Feb. 24 at 11 a.m. and again Feb. 27 at 9:30 a.m.
On the team’s performance tonight:
“I definitely thought that we got off to a very good start; solid. Still not getting the landings that we’re looking for, but again, everything that is going on is attributed to us still not emphasizing it in training, putting in the numbers. We haven’t done any stick drills yet this season and we’re going to start that at the end of February so that we’re there for post season.
“Beam was a little bit shaky; it was uncharacteristic, because that’s one of our best events. What I did like was that you could see that they were fighting through everything; we didn’t end up counting a fall. It was sheer determination and will. That was really nice to see, because they’re not going to be exceptionally perfect every time.
“Floor was great. We were able to rest Kytra, she didn’t train all week as she was out with the stomach flu on Monday. It was nice to be able to give her that rest and for everyone else to really step up. Alaina [Johnson], in only her second (floor) routine of the year, was just gorgeous. It was really promising and nice to see; and Bridget with another phenomenal routine- just a really solid job.” - Florida Head Coach Rhonda Faehn
On fourth meet with a perfect 10.0:
“I was so happy for Kytra. Knowing that she was sick and knowing that she’s always been so close to perfect, it was awesome to see that.” - Florida Head Coach Rhonda Faehn
On her perfect 10 on the vault:
“It was definitely exciting. I was speechless. I’ve been really practicing to stick landings on vault. I’m glad I got to go out there and finally get my first stick of the season and get a 10.0. That’s incredible, and it’s so funny because vault and floor are my two favorite events.” - junior All-American Kytra Hunter
On her mentality going into the meet:
“My mentality every week is: ‘It’s just like practice.” Especially in the O-Dome, it’s exactly like practice. Our practice facility is right around the corner. I just think that tonight was one of those nights when I was very relaxed. I definitely didn’t have a perfect meet by any means, but at the same time it was still a great meet. It’s that half-way point. I always say it’s like we’re in limbo. We’re a little tired here and there, but we’re still pushing through the rough days and the tired days. I think from here on out it’s going to just be an uphill climb for post-season.” - sophomore All-American Bridget Sloan
On the team coming back after a shaky beam performance:
“As a team, I really thought that we pulled it together. As a team, we didn’t have our greatest meet ever, but we were still able to come back. We have this way of always coming back for floor. We absolutely love floor. We love performing it, but it’s always one of those events that we can kick it in gear and get those great scores.” - sophomore All-American Bridget Sloan
On her 9.925 floor routine:
“I can say that it was exciting because I wasn’t able to do floor last year. To be out there for a home competition, being able to do floor, it was exciting and I was going out there to have a good time.”- senior All-American Alaina Johnson
On what it was like competing all-around:
“I love competing all around. I just go out there to have a good time and to have fun. It’s my senior year so I’m just soaking up everything.” - senior All-American Alaina Johnson
With Hunter’s 10.0 on vault tonight, the Gators have recorded a 10.0 in each of the last four meets…so far in 2014, five of the nation’s seven 10.0 marks have been turned in by the Gators…Hunter is the first in the nation to earn a 10.0 on vault in 2014…Florida’s vault (49.50) and uneven bars (49.525) event totals tonight are season-bests…Sloan turned in a collegiate-best 9.95 on vault for the third time in 2014 and for the fifth time as a Gator...Johnson’s 9.925 on floor equals her collegiate-best set as a freshman in 2011…it was Johnson’s first floor performance in the O’Connell Center since Jan. 18, 2013 as she sat out the next eight meets recovering from a lower back stress reaction/fracture…junior Rachel Spicer<http://www.gatorzone.com/guides/gymnastics/pages/season_info/player_bios/spicer_rachel.php> (9.85) turned in a season-best 9.85 on vault…a Gator has turned in an all-around total of 39.70 or better now 20 times - and Hunter (6) and Sloan (8) own 14 of those totals…Hunter’s vault win tonight raises her career total to 49 event titles - eighth all-time for the Gators…Sloan’s three event wins tonight up her total to 39 - one away from becoming the 13th in the program’s history to post 40 career titles…Sloan’s 9.975 gives Florida an even dozen nearly-perfect floor marks in the program’s history.
Florida - Florida is No. 1 in the Feb. 9 GymInfo National Rankings<http://www.troester.com/gym/WRankings/2014/0210/WT-20.htm>.
Arkansas - The Razorbacks are No. 11 in the GymInfo rankings.
The Gators play host to No. 3 LSU for the popular Gators Link to Pink meet. The Gators Link to Pink meet is part of a Southeastern Conference initiative to help raise breast cancer awareness. Meet time is set for 7 p.m. and the first 2,000 fans receive a pink Gators Link to Pink t-shirt, compliments of Allied Insurance.
Tickets for Friday’s meet are $5 for adults, while children 17 and under and UF students showing a Gator1 card are admitted free.
LSU is at the Metroplex Challenge in Fort Worth, Texas, on Saturday and will face No. 2 Oklahoma, No. 17 Arizona and Kentucky.
The Florida-LSU dual will air tape-delayed on ESPNU (Gainesville/Ocala channel 1251 on Cox Cable) on Feb. 27 at 6:30 p.m. and on ESPN2 (Cox channel 1027) March 2 at 6 p.m.
Streaming video of Friday’s meet can be found on GatorVision<http://www.gatorvision.tv/liveEvents/liveEvents.dbml?&&DB_OEM_ID=6500> (subscription service) and live scoring can be found on GatorZone.com<http://www.gatorzone.com/>.
Florida Event Winners Friday
No. 1 Florida versus No. 11 Arkansas
Final Team Totals
Feb. 14, 2014 ● Stephen C. O’Connell Center (6,124 )
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