To paraphrase LL Cool J, the Florida Gators have been here for years.
Florida gymnastics advanced to the NCAA Super Six for the 10th time in 11 seasons on Friday by winning the 2016 NCAA Gymnastics Championship Semifinal I with an all-around team score of 197.4750. The three-time defending champion Gators are looking to become the third team to win the title in four consecutive seasons (Utah, Georgia).
UF edged LSU (197.3375) and Georgia (196.7250) in the semifinal with three SEC teams advancing out of it into the Super Six on Saturday.
At the time of Florida’s first championship win in 2013, UF was just the fifth team in women’s gymnastics to win the sport’s national title, which has been contested since 1982. The Gators have since defended their crown in consecutive seasons, splitting it with Oklahoma in a first-ever tie in 2014.
Senior Bridget Sloan, a 26-time All-American and three-time NCAA individual champion (all-around, balance beam in 2013; uneven bars in 2014) entering Friday, led the way for Florida with a semifinal-high 39.700 in the all-around. She also led in bars (9.950) and beam (9.950) through the first semifinal.
Following semifinal II, Sloan was crowned the all-around champion, also splitting tiles in bars and beam. She now has six individual titles to go along with her three team crowns.
Sophomore Alex McMurty, a seven-time All-American, was Florida’s second-best performer on the day with a 9.900 on vault, 9.8875 on beam, 9.875 on bars and 9.8625 on floor.
The Gators’ latest title defense, their first with new head coach Jenny Rowland at the helm, will continue on Saturday at 9 p.m. ET in Fort Worth, Texas.