Florida gymnastics falls short of historic four-peat

By Adam Silverstein
April 16, 2016
Florida gymnastics falls short of historic four-peat

It was not the Florida Gators‘ night on Saturday at the 2016 NCAA Gymnastics Championship in Fort Worth, Texas.

Up against a stacked field, the three-time defending national champion Gators posted their fourth-lowest score of the season at 197.3500, falling behind new title winner Oklahoma (197.6750), LSU (197.4500) and Alabama (197.4375).

The score was UF’s lowest in the NCAA Super Six since 2011, and it would not have won any Super Six since 2000.

Florida showed out in the uneven bars, as is customary, posting a 49.4500. However, substandard efforts on beam (49.2125) and vault (49.3250) — with some controversial scores on the latter apparatus — really cost the team.

Senior Bridget Sloan (9.9375) and sophomore Alex McMurtry (9.9250) finished one-two in bars, but the Gators did not top out any other event.

Sloan, who posted that 9.9375 in the final performance of her Florida career, won three individual national titles on Friday, capturing crowns in all-around, bars and balance beam.

She is now a six-time individual national champion to go along with her three team titles and 26 All-American honors. Sloan exists as one of the most accomplished athletes in any sport at UF.

Joining Sloan in departing the program is senior Bianca Dancose-Giambattiso, who helped along that solid bars score with a 9.8750 on Saturday.

UF became just the fifth team ever to win a gymnastics national title when it captured its first in 2013. The team it split the 2014 crown with in defending the title, OU, became the sixth to win the championship overall with its Saturday victory.

It’s a disappointing finish for the Gators in head coach Jenny Rowland‘s first year in place of Rhonda Faehn, but Rowland getting Florida to the Super Six for the 10th time in 11 seasons should not be discounted.

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