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#3 Florida Gators
gymnastics defeats #5 UCLA

Written by Andrew Spivey, January 16, 2016, 0 Comments,
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Special report on the Florida Gators gymnastics team:

No. 3 Gator Gymnasts Defeat No. 5 UCLA to Open Home Action
GAINESVILLE, Fla. - The nation’s top dual of the weekend went to the Florida Gators in front of an enthusiastic Stephen C. O’Connell Center crowd of 6,511. The three-time defending NCAA champions opened home action with a 197.675 - 196.925 win over UCLA.

Florida Event Winners Friday

Vault:
Kennedy Baker
9.925

Alex McMurtry
9.925

Uneven Bars:
Bridget Sloan
9.975

Floor Exercise
Kennedy Baker
9.950

All-Around
Bridget Sloan
39.65

The Gators came into Friday’s meet looking for improvement from their season opener last week at Texas Woman’s University. In that meet, the Gators turned in a 196.825, the third-highest total of this young season. One area that was a focus in this week’s training was landings and the Gators did pick up valuable tenth this week in that area.

Two All-American sophomores - Kennedy Baker and Alex McMurtry - shared the vault title at 9.925. Baker used a 9.95 to claim her second consecutive floor exercise win.

In the opening weekend the 2016 season, senior All-American Bridget Sloan’s winning all-around total of 39.50 was the nation’s high. Tonight, three Gators bettered that total. Sloan took her second consecutive all-around title at 39.65. Tying for second at 39.575 was Baker and freshman Alicia Boren, who was making her all-around debut.

Sloan also turned in the meet’s high mark in any event with her 9.975 on uneven bars.

UCLA’s Danusia Francis anchored the Bruins balance beam set with a 9.95 to claim that event title.

GATOR PERFORMANCE NOTES:

*         Boren’s total of 39.575 equals the highest ever by a Gator making their all-around debut. Mackenzie Caquatto also tallied a 39.575 when she made her all-around debut in the fifth meet of the 2011 season.

*         It was all-around win No. 20 for Sloan. She is one of five Gators to claim 20 or more all-around titles.

*         The two sophomore used different vaults to reach the same score. Baker’s performed a Yurchenko with one and a half twist (10.0 value) and McMurtry competed a Yurchenko full (9.95 value). It was the second consecutive and ninth overall vault win for McMurtry.

*         Baker now has four floor wins as a Gator.


RECORDS: Florida (2-0, 0-0 SEC); UCLA (1-1, 0-0 Pac 12).

THE SERIES: UCLA leads the series 25-13.

Florida has met UCLA in home regular season four times in the program’s 44-year history. The only other regular-season home win over the Bruins was in 1986.

HEAR FROM THE GATORS
Opening Statement:
“My first meet in the O’Connell Center was definitely a memorable evening. The team told me yesterday that there was no place like competing in the O’Dome in front of Gator Nation and they are absolutely right. I had a great evening. I had a lot of fun, the team had a lot of fun, I’m very proud of the team. We took a good step forward after our first away meet and I think the future is looking good for the Florida Gators.” - Florida head coach Jenny Rowland

On improvements from last week’s meet:
“We were just looking to improve upon landings. We had missed over a point in landings (against TWU) and I think the girls did a great job of paying attention to some of the little details. We still have work to do, we will always have work to do but it was a great improvement from last week.” - Florida head coach Jenny Rowland

On improving from the last meet:
“Tonight was an incredible home-opener for us. We have a very young and small team, so the better we get each meet is really going to add up for post-season. Jenny [Rowland] really emphasizes on us not being perfect, she really just tells us to go out there and have fun. We really focused on landings this week, a bunch of little things and they really add up. We were able to come out with an incredible home-opening score. I think each meet is going to get better and better and that’s how it’s supposed to be. You’re not going to peak in the month of January. I think we’re on track to do great things in the future.” - senior All-American Bridget Sloan

On the freshman class:
“As a senior, I wasn’t prepared on what to do, so I’m just going to do what I’ve always done and see if they jump on my train and they did. It was incredible in the gym to see them grow as athletes. They’re able to have fun in practice now. We’re not just the upperclassmen, we’re their teammates and their friends. It’s awesome to see that because that’s what you need in a team. You need people to look up to, but you also need those people you can turn to. They don’t look at me as their leader, they look at me as a friend and a teammate, and that’s what it’s supposed to be about.” - senior All-American Bridget Sloan

On competing all-around for the first time at her first home meet:
"The experience was amazing. They tried to prepare us for it, but they said that it was not going to be anything like they said and you can only feel it when you actually experience it. It was so fun, and I didn't even know I was competing all-around until yesterday. I was so excited." - freshman Alicia Boren

On floor performance tonight performing in front of a home crowd:
“I think it happened my sophomore year, I kind of had the same experience where the crowd went crazy before I even stepped on the floor. It almost gave me goosebumps because this is what I live for. I wake up in the mornings and go to practice, just waiting to perform on Fridays. It’s now that time. We told the freshman, you’ll never forget your first meet. When the crowd went crazy tonight before I even was announced, it makes you feel appreciated.

“We’ve always said Gator fans are the best, but they are hands down the best. They appreciate good gymnastics. The support they give us, you can’t even describe it. It was incredible to have that tonight at our home-opener, and I definitely wasn’t expecting it. It something I will always remember.” - senior All-American Bridget Sloan

On joining a team that's won three straight national championships:
"They have such an amazing past that I didn't know how I was going to come into it and how I was going to change it because you come in and you see all these amazing girls. They say you're going to compete all-around, but you've got to figure it out as you go. I feel like it's motivated me so much because they've won three, but I haven't added to any of that, and I wanted to be able to add to another one for them." - freshman Alicia Boren

National Rank:
Florida - Florida is No. 3 in the Jan. 10 Road to Nationals<http://roadtonationals.com/results/standings.php#pages/national.php?nat=1> rankings.
UCLA - Bruins No. 5 in Jan. 10 rankings

UP NEXT:
The Gators start 2016 SEC action next Friday at No. T-7 Auburn. Meet time is set for 8:30 p.m. ET in the Auburn Arena.

Auburn opened SEC action Friday with a 196.275-195.175 home win over No. 21 Kentucky.

Friday’s meet marks the Gators’ 2016 debut on the SEC Network. The meet will also stream on SEC Network +<http://es.pn/1REARIh>.


No. 3 Florida versus No. 5 UCLA
Final Team Totals

Jan. 15, 2016 ● Stephen C. O’Connell Center (6,511)

Team

Vault

Bars

Beam

Floor

Total

Florida

49.400

49.525

49.450

49.300

197.675

UCLA

49.125

49.350

49.075

49.375

196.925

Andrew Spivey

About Andrew Spivey

Andrew always knew he wanted to be involved with sports in some capacity. He began by coaching high school football for six years before deciding to pursue a career in journalism. While coaching, he was a part of two state semifinal teams in the state of Alabama. Given his past coaching experience, he figured covering recruiting would be a perfect fit. He began his career as an intern for Rivals.com, covering University of Florida football recruiting. After interning with Rivals for six months, he joined the Gator Country family as a recruiting analyst. Andrew enjoys spending his free time on the golf course and watching his beloved Atlanta Braves. Follow him on Twitter at @AndrewSpiveyGC.

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Special report on the Florida Gators gymnastics team:

No. 3 Gator Gymnasts Defeat No. 5 UCLA to Open Home Action
GAINESVILLE, Fla. - The nation’s top dual of the weekend went to the Florida Gators in front of an enthusiastic Stephen C. O’Connell Center crowd of 6,511. The three-time defending NCAA champions opened home action with a 197.675 - 196.925 win over UCLA.

Florida Event Winners Friday

Vault:
Kennedy Baker
9.925

Alex McMurtry
9.925

Uneven Bars:
Bridget Sloan
9.975

Floor Exercise
Kennedy Baker
9.950

All-Around
Bridget Sloan
39.65

The Gators came into Friday’s meet looking for improvement from their season opener last week at Texas Woman’s University. In that meet, the Gators turned in a 196.825, the third-highest total of this young season. One area that was a focus in this week’s training was landings and the Gators did pick up valuable tenth this week in that area.

Two All-American sophomores - Kennedy Baker and Alex McMurtry - shared the vault title at 9.925. Baker used a 9.95 to claim her second consecutive floor exercise win.

In the opening weekend the 2016 season, senior All-American Bridget Sloan’s winning all-around total of 39.50 was the nation’s high. Tonight, three Gators bettered that total. Sloan took her second consecutive all-around title at 39.65. Tying for second at 39.575 was Baker and freshman Alicia Boren, who was making her all-around debut.

Sloan also turned in the meet’s high mark in any event with her 9.975 on uneven bars.

UCLA’s Danusia Francis anchored the Bruins balance beam set with a 9.95 to claim that event title.

GATOR PERFORMANCE NOTES:

*         Boren’s total of 39.575 equals the highest ever by a Gator making their all-around debut. Mackenzie Caquatto also tallied a 39.575 when she made her all-around debut in the fifth meet of the 2011 season.

*         It was all-around win No. 20 for Sloan. She is one of five Gators to claim 20 or more all-around titles.

*         The two sophomore used different vaults to reach the same score. Baker’s performed a Yurchenko with one and a half twist (10.0 value) and McMurtry competed a Yurchenko full (9.95 value). It was the second consecutive and ninth overall vault win for McMurtry.

*         Baker now has four floor wins as a Gator.


RECORDS: Florida (2-0, 0-0 SEC); UCLA (1-1, 0-0 Pac 12).

THE SERIES: UCLA leads the series 25-13.

Florida has met UCLA in home regular season four times in the program’s 44-year history. The only other regular-season home win over the Bruins was in 1986.

HEAR FROM THE GATORS
Opening Statement:
“My first meet in the O’Connell Center was definitely a memorable evening. The team told me yesterday that there was no place like competing in the O’Dome in front of Gator Nation and they are absolutely right. I had a great evening. I had a lot of fun, the team had a lot of fun, I’m very proud of the team. We took a good step forward after our first away meet and I think the future is looking good for the Florida Gators.” - Florida head coach Jenny Rowland

On improvements from last week’s meet:
“We were just looking to improve upon landings. We had missed over a point in landings (against TWU) and I think the girls did a great job of paying attention to some of the little details. We still have work to do, we will always have work to do but it was a great improvement from last week.” - Florida head coach Jenny Rowland

On improving from the last meet:
“Tonight was an incredible home-opener for us. We have a very young and small team, so the better we get each meet is really going to add up for post-season. Jenny [Rowland] really emphasizes on us not being perfect, she really just tells us to go out there and have fun. We really focused on landings this week, a bunch of little things and they really add up. We were able to come out with an incredible home-opening score. I think each meet is going to get better and better and that’s how it’s supposed to be. You’re not going to peak in the month of January. I think we’re on track to do great things in the future.” - senior All-American Bridget Sloan

On the freshman class:
“As a senior, I wasn’t prepared on what to do, so I’m just going to do what I’ve always done and see if they jump on my train and they did. It was incredible in the gym to see them grow as athletes. They’re able to have fun in practice now. We’re not just the upperclassmen, we’re their teammates and their friends. It’s awesome to see that because that’s what you need in a team. You need people to look up to, but you also need those people you can turn to. They don’t look at me as their leader, they look at me as a friend and a teammate, and that’s what it’s supposed to be about.” - senior All-American Bridget Sloan

On competing all-around for the first time at her first home meet:
"The experience was amazing. They tried to prepare us for it, but they said that it was not going to be anything like they said and you can only feel it when you actually experience it. It was so fun, and I didn't even know I was competing all-around until yesterday. I was so excited." - freshman Alicia Boren

On floor performance tonight performing in front of a home crowd:
“I think it happened my sophomore year, I kind of had the same experience where the crowd went crazy before I even stepped on the floor. It almost gave me goosebumps because this is what I live for. I wake up in the mornings and go to practice, just waiting to perform on Fridays. It’s now that time. We told the freshman, you’ll never forget your first meet. When the crowd went crazy tonight before I even was announced, it makes you feel appreciated.

“We’ve always said Gator fans are the best, but they are hands down the best. They appreciate good gymnastics. The support they give us, you can’t even describe it. It was incredible to have that tonight at our home-opener, and I definitely wasn’t expecting it. It something I will always remember.” - senior All-American Bridget Sloan

On joining a team that's won three straight national championships:
"They have such an amazing past that I didn't know how I was going to come into it and how I was going to change it because you come in and you see all these amazing girls. They say you're going to compete all-around, but you've got to figure it out as you go. I feel like it's motivated me so much because they've won three, but I haven't added to any of that, and I wanted to be able to add to another one for them." - freshman Alicia Boren

National Rank:
Florida - Florida is No. 3 in the Jan. 10 Road to Nationals<http://roadtonationals.com/results/standings.php#pages/national.php?nat=1> rankings.
UCLA - Bruins No. 5 in Jan. 10 rankings

UP NEXT:
The Gators start 2016 SEC action next Friday at No. T-7 Auburn. Meet time is set for 8:30 p.m. ET in the Auburn Arena.

Auburn opened SEC action Friday with a 196.275-195.175 home win over No. 21 Kentucky.

Friday’s meet marks the Gators’ 2016 debut on the SEC Network. The meet will also stream on SEC Network +<http://es.pn/1REARIh>.


No. 3 Florida versus No. 5 UCLA
Final Team Totals

Jan. 15, 2016 ● Stephen C. O’Connell Center (6,511)

Team

Vault

Bars

Beam

Floor

Total

Florida

49.400

49.525

49.450

49.300

197.675

UCLA

49.125

49.350

49.075

49.375

196.925

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