Special to GC
BATON ROUGE, La. - The nation’s top gymnastics dual meet of the weekend featuring No. 2 Florida at No. 3 LSU didn’t disappoint the Pete Maravich Assembly Center record crowd of 12,217 Friday evening. It was a close meet throughout, but LSU took the lead on the second rotation and kept expanding that margin to take the final 197.95-197.425 win. Florida Event Winners Friday Vault: Alex McMurtry 9.975 The Tigers were consistent on each event Friday, turning in team totals ranging from 49.425 on vault to a meet-high 49.575 on floor exercise, leading to their total which stands as the nation’s fourth-highest of 2015. The Gators didn’t have to count a fall toward their team total, but mistakes on floor and balance beam dinged Florida’s score potential. Florida’s total of 197.425 is its highest road total of 2015 and is the nation’s fourth-highest road mark of the season. Gator Performance Notes: * Freshman Alex McMurtry<http://www.gatorzone.com/guides/gymnastics/pages/season_info/player_bios/mcmurtry_alex.php> takes her fourth vault title of her career at 9.975. Five of her seven vault performances this season have scored a 9.95 or above. * Senior Kytra Hunter’s<http://www.gatorzone.com/guides/gymnastics/pages/season_info/player_bios/hunter_kytra.php> 9.925 on bars is a season-best and took second overall Friday. * Junior All-American Bridget Sloan<http://www.gatorzone.com/guides/gymnastics/pages/season_info/player_bios/sloan_bridget.php> anchored the Gators’ uneven bars set with a 9.90, which tied for third overall. It was her first competitive appearance since spraining her right ankle in the season opener at Ball State on Jan. 11. * Freshman Kennedy Baker<http://www.gatorzone.com/guides/gymnastics/pages/season_info/player_bios/baker_kennedy.php> took second on floor at 9.95. It was her third consecutive floor performance scored at 9.95 or above. * Florida’s high mark on balance beam of 9.875 was shared by sophomore Claire Boyce<http://www.gatorzone.com/guides/gymnastics/pages/season_info/player_bios/boyce_claire.php> and freshman Ericha Fassbender<http://www.gatorzone.com/guides/gymnastics/pages/season_info/player_bios/fassbender_erica.php>. The mark shared third overall on the event. * McMurtry’s 9.975 on vault equaled the meet’s high mark on any event. LSU’s Lloimincia Hall anchored the Tigers’ floor lineup with the same mark. Records: Florida (5-2, 4-2 SEC); LSU (9-1, 6-0 SEC). The Series: Florida leads the all-time series UF leads 67-31. Gator Gymnastics is a Big Draw: Tonight’s crowd of 12,217 set a Pete Maravich Assembly Center record for LSU gymnastics. This is the third program that set its attendance record when Gator gymnastics came to town. The crowd of 15,558 on hand to see the Gators win at Utah in 2011 still stands as the NCAA record for gymnastics attendance. And Florida is No. 2 on the Alabama all-time home attendance chart at 15,152 when it visited Tuscaloosa in 2006. The tie at Georgia in 2007 set the GymDogs attendance record crowd of 10,224 and that sell-out record mark was equaled when UF visited in 2009. Gator Gymnastics Drawing Record Crowds on Road Crowd Site Date Notes 15,558 at Utah 3-4-11 NCAA record for gymnastics attendance 15,152 at Alabama 1-20-06 Second all-time for Alabama 12,217 at LSU 2-20-15 Set LSU record, which was previously 8,574 10,224 at Georgia 1-27-07 Set UGA record which has been matched 10 other times 10,224 at Georgia 2-28-09 Quoting the Gators: On tonight’s performance: “Tough loss, no doubt. I was proud of the way the athletes performed. They showed a lot of heart and competed really aggressively from start to finish. It was different than at Alabama [197.40-196.80 loss] earlier this season as they competed more aggressively tonight. There is no doubt that they fought as a team. They showed a lot of passion. There were some mistakes here and there, but overall, I’m proud of the way they performed.” - Florida Head Coach Rhonda Faehn On the return of Bridget Sloan: “She was great. We are really hoping to get her back on beam in the next two weeks and maybe by SECs on vault. She was solid, aggressive and a team leader throughout the event tonight. - - Florida Head Coach Rhonda Faehn How did it feel to compete again? It felt awesome. I’m a little disappointed in my performance tonight because I have very high expectations for myself. I do realize that this was my first meet since Ball State. I’m well aware that I can go up from here. Looking back, the routine went well and I felt really good after it. I’m so excited to get back into it.” - junior All-America Bridget Sloan On the Gators’ performance tonight: “Obviously we didn’t get the win, but we did get a great road score. Every road meet that we have is a step in the right direction. We went 197.4 tonight, which is a great road score. We did great tonight. It is a step in the right direction and we are on our way.” - junior All-American Bridget Sloan LSU Event Winners: Uneven Bars: Rheagan Courville 9.95 Balance Beam: Jessie Jordan 9.925 Floor Exercise: Lloimincia Hall 9.975 All-Around: Rheagan Courville 39.625 Catch the ESPNU Broadcast of Friday’s Meet Friday’s broadcast of the Florida versus at LSU meet will air tape-delayed on the ESPNU (Gainesville/Ocala Cox cable channel 251 or 1251) Feb. 24 at 5 p.m. ET National Rank: Florida - Florida is No. 2 in the Feb. 16 GymInfo rankings<http://www.troester.com/gym/WRankings/2015/0216/WT-20.htm>. The current rankings are based on total season average. LSU - The Tigers are No. 3 in the GymInfo rankings. Up Next: The Gators play host to No. 24 Kentucky for the popular Gators Link to Pink meet. The Gators Link to Pink meet is part of a Southeastern Conference initiative to help raise breast cancer awareness. Meet time is set for 6:45 p.m. and the first 2,000 fans receive a pink Gators Link to Pink t-shirt, compliments of Allied Insurance. Tickets for Friday’s meet are $5 for adults, while children 17 and under and UF students showing a Gator1 card are admitted free. Kentucky played host to No. 14 Arkansas Friday and claimed a 195.70-194.825 win. The Florida-UK dual airs live on the SEC Network (Gainesville/Ocala channel 68 or 1068 on Cox Cable). The Florida-UK dual will stream live beginning at 7 p.m. ET on SEC Network+<http://espn.go.com/watchespn/index/_/id/2320973/NCAA-Gymnastics-Kentucky-vs-Florida-(W-Gymnastics)>, which can be viewed by all SEC Network subscribers. The meet also will air tape-delayed on SEC Network on Feb. 28 at 8 a.m.