Florida Gators gymnastics falls just short at NCAA championship

Special report on the Florida Gators gymnastics team:

FORT WORTH, Texas – The Gators’ three years at the top of the women’s collegiate gymnastics world has come to an end. Oklahoma ended Florida’s reign with its win Saturday evening in front of 8,338 fans at the Fort Worth Convention Center Arena.

Oklahoma claimed its second NCAA title – and first outright – with a team total of 197.675. Following the Sooners were three Southeastern Conference schools. LSU posted its highest NCAA finish of second at 197.45, followed by Alabama (197.4375) and Florida (197.35). UCLA (196.825) and Georgia (196.8125) rounded out the NCAA Super Six team results.

No falls were counted toward Florida’s team scores, but mistakes kept the Gators from reaching their maximum score potential on each event.

Florida drew the same rotation it used to win its third consecutive NCAA team title in 2015, opening the meet on balance beam. Florida was led on the event with a 9.90 from senior Bridget Sloan and a 9.875 from Alex McMurtry. Sloan again led the Gators on floor exercise with her 9.925. Another Gator senior Bridgette Caquatto, turned in a 9.90.

At the midway point of the meet, just 0.2375 separated the top five teams. Alabama led the meet by just 0.025 over Oklahoma. Florida was third, followed by Georgia and LSU.

A pair of sophomores led Florida on its next event with vault marks of 9.90 – Kennedy Baker and McMurtry. Florida finished competition by posting a meet-high 49.45 on uneven bars. Sloan and McMurtry anchored with bars lineup with marks of 9.9375 and 9.925, respectively.

Senior Bridget Sloan, who claimed her second NCAA all-around title last night, also topped the all-around competitors in Saturday’s Super Six competition. She turned in a total of 39.65.

Sloan has led all gymnasts in NCAA Super Six competition three of her four seasons (2013, 2014, 2016). She was just 0.05 out of the all-around win in the 2015 Super Six final, taking third overall.

The two all-around wins this weekend moves Sloan to the top of Florida’s career all-around victories chart. She now shares the record at 27 wins with former Gator All-America Elfi Schlegel (1983-86).

This was Florida’s fifth consecutive appearance in the NCAA Super Six and 14th in the program’s history.
Sophomore Alex McMurtry, who was making her fifth collegiate all-around appearance Saturday, took third among Saturday’s competitors at 39.5625.
Sloan led all competitors on bars Saturday with her mark of 9.9375. She claimed a share of the NCAA Event Titles for bars and beam in Friday’s NCAA Semifinal competition.
Jenny Rowland
On tonight’s meet:
“It was not the outcome we were looking for tonight. We left several tenths out there on the floor. Other than that, the performances were very strong. We didn’t have any major problems tonight, but there was just enough little issues to keep us from challenging for the win.

“Oklahoma was the best team tonight. Congratulations to them for taking the win in a very competitive Super Six competition.” – Florida head coach Jenny Rowland

On the four Gator seniors:
“I’m very proud of the seniors. They left on a high note individually. I couldn’t be more proud of Bridget [Sloan], Morgan [Frazier], Bianca [Dancose-Giambattisto] and Bridgey [Caquatto]. They put their heart and soul into every role and position they’ve been put in this season. They’ve just been amazing.” – Florida head coach Jenny Rowland

The NCAA Super Six team final signals the end of the 2016 women’s collegiate season. The NCAA Gymnastics Championships begin a two-year stand in the Chaifetz Arena in St. Louis, Mo. The next NCAA Championships are set for April 14-15, 2017.
Florida at NCAA Championships – Super Six team final
Final Team Totals
April 16, 2016 – Fort Worth Convention Center Arena (8,338)
Team Vault Bars Beam Floor Total
Oklahoma 49.2250 49.4500 49.4250 49.5750 197.6750
LSU 49.5250 49.1250 49.3375 49.4625 197.4500
Alabama 49.3250 49.2875 49.4500 49.3750 197.4375
Florida 49.3250 49.4500 49.2125 49.3625 197.3500
UCLA 49.0875 49.1000 49.4375 49.2000 196.8250
Georgia 49.2125 49.1875 49.3625

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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.