Gators gymnastics one step closer to the title

By Adam Silverstein
April 8, 2013

By Corey Mitleider and Scott Barr – OGGOA Contributors

No. 1 Florida Gators gymnastics dominated the Gainesville Regional on Saturday evening in front of 7,137 fans at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center, winning the event with a 198.400, the 10th-highest score in NCAA history.

No. 12 Minnesota scored a 197.100 to finish second and will join Florida in Los Angeles, CA in two weeks as both teams advanced to the 2013 NCAA Championship semifinal set for Friday, April 19 at 3 p.m.

The Gators were led on Saturday by their three all-arounders who finished one-two-three overall in the event. Sophomore Kytra Hunter scored 39.775 to take the title, posting a 9.925 (2nd) on beam as well as a 9.95 on vault (T-1st), bars (2nd) and floor (T-1st). Freshman Bridget Sloan continued her dominance with a 39.675, which included a near-perfect 9.975 on bars to take the individual event title. Senior Marissa King (39.650) finished third with 9.95s on beam (1st) and floor (T-1st).


Florida competed in the Olympic rotation order and began the meet with a 49.600 on vault to take a commanding lead that was never challenged. UF followed that up with 49.600 on bars, 49.550 on beam and 49.650 on floor to easily win the meet.

The Gators are peaking at just the right time of the season, earning their second highest meet score of the year only behind a 198.425 against the same Minnesota team on March 1. Florida’s 198.400 was nearly a full point higher than any other team that competed in regional action; Georgia posted a 197.425.

Junior Alaina Johnson has recovered from a stress fracture in her back just in time for a championship run. Johnson returned to the lineup for the first time since the Missouri meet on Jan. 18 and showed no rust with a 9.925 on vault and 9.875 on bars.

The Gators also received big scores from senior Ashanée Dickerson (9.95 on vault) and freshman Bridgette Caquatto (9.925 on floor), who stepped in for injured senior Randy Stageberg (shoulder).

Eleven other teams will join Florida in Los Angeles for the semifinals. The No. 1 overall seed Gators will compete in the first of two semifinal sessions and will be joined by No. 4 Georgia, No. 5 LSU, No. 8 Minnesota, No. 9 Stanford and No. 12 Illinois. The top three teams from each semifinal will compete the following evening at 7 p.m. in the 2013 NCAA Super Six to determine the national team champion. On Sunday, the individual gymnasts wil compete for single event titles.

The Gators are looking to win the program’s first-ever NCAA Championship after falling by an excruciating small margin of 0.075 last year. Florida has advanced to six of the last seven NCAA Super Six finals.

* OGGOA contributors Corey Mitleider (@cormit123) and Scott Barr (@sbarruf) can be reached on Twitter. Feel free to leave comments and questions below.

4 Comments

  1. Michael Jones says:

    GO GATORS!!!

  2. Gatorgrad79 says:

    Lady Gators representing Gator Nation with beauty, grace, and a big dose of kick-ass!!

  3. Joe says:

    It would be huge if our ladies could pull off the elusive NC! Go Gators!

  4. Ken (CA) says:

    I was absolutely stunned they didn’t win the title last year they were so good, and unbelievably, this team is significantly better. I will be floored if they don’t become the first team outside of Alabama, Georgia, Utah and UCLA to win a national title in gymnastics this year

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