Report on the Florida Gators gymnastics team:
NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas – Make it 10 league titles for the Gators gymnastics team. The University of Florida gymnastics team used the sport’s slimmest margin to claim its 10th Southeastern Conference title Saturday held in front of a crowd of 5,981 at the Verizon Arena.
Florida Event Winners Saturday
Florida won the meet at 197.775. Alabama was second at 197.75, followed by LSU (197.50) and Auburn (196.975). Georgia was fifth (196.85), with Arkansas (196.50), Kentucky (196.25) and Missouri (195.75) rounding out the team standings.
The Gators led the meet from the opening rotation after their meet-high 49.425 total on vault. Heading into the final rotation, the Gators owned a 0.15 lead on Alabama.
The Tide finished on the uneven bars, posting a meet-high 49.55 for the event. But the Gators’ floor exercise total of 49.425 was just enough to keep Florida in the top position.
Two Gator sophomores claimed event titles Saturday. Kennedy Baker matched her career-high of 39.65 to take the all-around win, just edging teammate Alex McMurtry, who also posted a collegiate-best 39.625. Baker shared the SEC vault title at 9.95 with Alabama’s Macknezine Brannan. McMurtry took the SEC balance beam win with her fifth 9.95 for the event this season.
Gator Performance Notes:
* A Gator has won the SEC all-around four of the last five years. Baker is the seventh different Gator to win the league’s all-around.
* This is the third different Gator in as many years to win the SEC balance beam title. Kytra Hunter won the 2014 title, Bridget Sloan claimed it in 2015 and McMurtry is the 2016 champion.
* Baker has now won four vault titles and three all-around crowns in 2016.
* McMurtry has scored a 9.95 in five of her last six beam performances. The sixth mark? A 9.925.
* Tonight’s winning margin of 0.025 equals the slimmest in meet history. That margin gave Georgia (197.35) the 2008 title over Florida and Alabama, who shared second at 197.325.
Florida in the SEC Championships: The Gators won their 10th SEC Championship tonight. Florida has won the SEC title in 1982, ’83, ’84, ’85, ’89, ’07, ’10, ’12, ’13, ’16.
Jenny Rowland joins volleyball’s Mary Wise as the two members of the current Gators’ coaching staff who claimed a SEC team title in their first season with Florida. Wise shared the 1991 SEC title with LSU and went on to claim 18 consecutive league titles.
For the second consecutive year, a first-year coach has led her team to the SEC Gymnastics title. Dana Duckworth led Alabama to the 2015 title.