Special to GC GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The Florida gymnastics team’s season-best total took the meet title over Georgia Friday in front of a Stephen C. O’Connell Center crowd of 7,116. The Gators posted a 197.60 – the nation’s third-highest total of 2015 entering the weekend – while Georgia’s 196.95 was just off its season-best. Florida Event Winners Friday Vault: Kytra Hunter 9.975 Uneven Bars: Alex McMurtry 9.925 Floor Exercise Kennedy Baker 9.975 Kytra Hunter 9.975 All-Around Kytra Hunter 39.675 All-American Kytra Hunter<http://www.gatorzone.com/gymnastics/bios.php?year=2015&player_id=36> continued her all-around win streak, opening her senior season with four straight wins. Her winning total tonight of 39.675 is the nation’s top total heading into this weekend. Taking second in the all-around was Gator freshman Kennedy Baker<http://www.gatorzone.com/gymnastics/bios.php?year=2015&player_id=47>, who turned in a collegiate-best 39.55 – which also stands among the nation’s top 10 of 2015. To get to those all-around totals, both Hunter and Baker turned in some big marks. Hunter used a season-best 9.975 for the second consecutive meet to take the vault win. That same mark by both Hunter and Baker shared the floor exercise title. Baker was second with her collegiate balance beam best of 9.925. Fellow freshman Alex McMurtry<http://www.gatorzone.com/gymnastics/bios.php?year=2015&player_id=51> matched her collegiate uneven bars best of 9.925 to share the event title with Georgia’s Kiera Brown. The competition was tight through the midway point of the meet, as the Gators led by 0.225 after two rotations. But season-best event totals on balance beam (49.375) and floor exercise (49.55) pushed out the Gators’ lead to give them the win. Gator Performance Notes: · Hunter starts her senior season with four straight all-around wins, the most consecutive for her since opening her freshman season with three victories. · Baker’s 9.975 is the highest floor mark ever for a Gator freshman. · Freshmen made up half of the Gators’ balance beam lineup. All set collegiate beam bests Friday –Baker (9.925), McMurtry (9.9), and Ericha Fassbender<http://www.gatorzone.com/guides/gymnastics/pages/season_info/player_bios/fassbender_erica.php> (9.85). · The three event wins tonight pushes Hunter’s career total of victories to 68, moving her to fourth all-time among the Gators. She also shares the No. 6 spot at 16 on the Florida Career All-Around Wins chart. Records: Florida (3-1, 2-1 SEC); Georgia (2-3, 2-1 SEC). The Series: Georgia leads the all-time series 91-46-1. Florida has won each meeting between the two programs since 2010 for 15 consecutive wins. Quotes: On wanting to get better: “There was no doubt after the Alabama competition -- it wasn’t anything awful, but it wasn’t anything spectacular. We sat down and had a meeting and just really challenged each other to find that heart and that passion because there are so many challenges that we’ve encountered so early on in the season. Bridget’s [Sloan] injury, with Jamie’s [Shisler] injury, with different lineups and different athletes that need to gain the experience. All of those things could be deemed a challenge, and I don’t want the athletes to feel that. Each one is ready to go out and hit an amazing routine. “I was really wanting to see the team dynamic strengthen and to not focus on what we are missing, but to focus on what we are doing and what we’re contributing and what we currently have. I felt like at Alabama, it was almost that we were thinking about what we don’t have as opposed to how great we are still and what we will be. I thought it was very positive. The three practices we had this week were exceptional -- the energy level, the commitment from the athletes and the passion and the support for one another was there, and it showed in the competition tonight.” - Florida Head Coach Rhonda Faehn On last week’s meet vs. this week’s: “Last week we were kind of timid and we just held back. I think we gave it our all going against Georgia. We just had a lot of energy and we were really united.” – freshman Kennedy Baker On bouncing back from the loss at Alabama: “The loss against Alabama was devastating for us, we had a huge turnaround honestly. People don’t know too much about it, but after that competition we went back to the hotel and we all got together with the coaches for a team meeting. We want to do the best that we can, so there were some tears and mixed emotions with some joy, too. Being able to sit there with 13 of your sisters and asking each other what do I need to do more of or what can I do to be in better shape - it was great to have the different opinions from each other. Someone told me that I need to get my hands up on beam, and that felt good. For the freshman too, I felt like the meeting was very comforting for them. It’s hard being a freshman. It’s a big change and most of the girls competed elite and that’s a big change too. It used to be individual and now it’s a team sport. For them to be able to come in and tell us what we need to do and for us to give them advice and then coming back into the gym last week, we actually showed each other what we meant. Then tonight coming into the O’Dome and nailing it was incredible but we still have a long way to go. This was just the start.” – senior All-American Kytra Hunter On the team training during the week: “These athletes are genuinely passionate about wanting to be the absolute best, and knowing that to be the absolute best, they have to work together. It’s a lot about team chemistry and that it’s a different journey and to not carry over what happened the last two years. We won the last two years. This year, it’s a totally different journey. “We did an exercise over Christmas that I wanted them to write their story. This is going to be a new story this year, not last year, and that is a work in progress, especially with Bridget [Sloan] being injured. It’s important that each one of the athletes dig down deep inside and acknowledge what their positive attributes are going to be.” - Florida Head Coach Rhonda Faehn On what she wants from the freshmen moving forward: “The exact same from every other athlete -- just continue to gain confidence in performing, in showing it off. They’re doing that. Alex [McMurtry] is exceptional on vault and her bars, she’s really clean and precise. To go up tonight and nail a gorgeous beam routine, especially after a mistake, really shows great maturity. Kennedy [Baker] really stepped out tonight, and it was really great to be able to see. Ericha [Fassbender] was much improved. She was ready to go on floor and bars. She stepped in on vault and did a great job. Her beam, I thought, was definitely the best she’s done so far this year. I’m really proud of the improvements that they’re showing, and it’s just baby steps just to keep on that path.” - Florida Head Coach Rhonda Faehn Rebounding after an uncharacteristic fall by Claire Boyce on beam: “The girls know what we’re capable of. Alex [McMurtry] is a monster – she’s doing incredible this year and I’m really happy for her. This was the first time she went fifth on beam, and it was the first time she went after a fall so it’s incredible seeing how mentally strong she is. Being a freshman is nerve wracking and it’s a very hard situation to be in, but Claire had an uncharacteristic fall which we will all have but it’s good to get those out of the way now. So for Alex, it was good to experience going after a fall so she knows what’s to be expected and how to calm her nerves.” – senior All-American Kytra Hunter On if she thought she had a 10 on floor: “I thought I had a 10 for a second. I was more excited with how well it went. I mean, a 10 would have been nice, but a 9.975, I haven’t gotten above a 9.9, so getting a 9.975 was incredible too.” – freshman Kennedy Baker On the overall progression of the team: “We actually came back in the gym and hit it really hard. Our coach said, 'You had a great practice this week, you all need to take that forward to the meet.' With all the positive energy, we really hit it hard at home. I think we did a really great job. Kennedy and Kytra on floor – our floor rotation was amazing.” – freshman Alex McMurtry Noted: · Hunter’s 9.975 was her 19th vault mark of 9.95 or above. It was also her 19th vault event title of her collegiate career. · Claire Boyce’s<http://www.gatorzone.com/guides/gymnastics/pages/season_info/player_bios/boyce_claire.php> fall on balance beam was her first miss on the event as a Gator. She entered Friday’s meet with 17 consecutive hit beam routines. · In Florida gymnastics history, there have been 18 home crowds of better than 7,000 fans. All but three of those crowds have come since Rhonda Faehn<http://www.gatorzone.com/guides/gymnastics/pages/season_info/coaches_bios/faehn_rhonda.php> took over for the 2003 season. Catch the SEC Network Re-Air of Friday’s Meet Friday’s broadcast of the Georgia at Florida meet is the only live gymnastics meet to air on the SEC Network this weekend. The meet re-airs on the SEC Network on the following dates and times: · Jan. 31 at 2 a.m. ET · Jan. 31 at noon ET · Feb. 1 at 8 p.m. ET Find what channel the SEC Network is on in your area with the SEC Network Finder site.<http://getsecnetwork.com/channel-finder> National Rank: Florida – Florida is No. 3 in the Jan. 26 GymInfo rankings<http://troester.com/gym/WRankings/2015/0126/WT-20.htm>. The current rankings are based on total season average. Georgia – The Bulldogs are No. 11 in the GymInfo rankings. Up Next: The Gators travel west to face No. 8 Arkansas on Friday, Feb. 6. Meet time is set for 8 p.m. ET in the Barnhill Arena<http://www.arkansasrazorbacks.com/page/barnhill-arena-gymnastics>.