Florida Gators gymnastics suffered a major blow in its hopes to three-peat as national champion as junior Bridget Sloan, arguably the flag bearer for Florida’s gymnastics program, will be sidelined for six weeks with a severe ankle sprain, head coach Rhonda Faehn announced on Tuesday.
Sloan, a two-time All-SEC First Team selection, the winner of the 2013 Honda Sports Award and a 16-time All-American, has helped lead the Gators to back-to-back NCAA National Championships. She has also captured three individual NCAA Championships, winning the all-around and balance beam competitions in 2013 and picking up the uneven bars title in 2014.
Florida rolled to a dominant 196.925-193.700 win over Ball State in each program’s season-opener on Sunday in Muncie, Indiana, but did not leave the meet without suffering some losses.
Sloan registered a perfect 10.0 on the vault – her third 10.0 after earning the score on beam and floor exercise last season – but badly hurt her foot. The Gators also lost senior Jamie Shisler to a torn Achilles, which will sideline her for the remainder of the season.
Florida will look to senior Kytra Hunter – herself a three-time All-SEC selection, the 2012 Honda Sports Award winner, an 18-time All-American and a two-event NCAA Champion in 2012 (all-around, vault) – to continue leading the Gators going forward.
Sloan, who was named the SEC Specialist of the Week, may be able to return to action in February or March; whether Florida will be able to count on her contributing to its three-peat effort remains to be seen.
Freshman Kennedy Baker will take Sloan’s spot in the Gators’ lineup.
Photo Credit: NCAA