Special report on the Florida Gators gymnastics team:
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – The Florida gymnastics team is off to the NCAA Championships after winning the NCAA Minneapolis Regional title, held Saturday in front of 2,981 at the University of Minnesota’s Sports Pavilion. The win advances Florida to Fort Worth, Texas, where the Gators will look to defend their 2013, 2014 and 2015 NCAA team titles.
The Gators turned in a 196.725 Saturday for the team’s fifth-straight NCAA Regional title. The top two teams in regional competition advance to the NCAA Championships. Minnesota claimed the other berth at 196.175. Missouri was third at 195.85, followed by Denver (195.70), Ohio State (194.775) and Brigham Young (194.075).
Scoring was tight for all teams Saturday as Florida was the only team to turn in event totals above 49.0 for each of the four events. Florida’s event totals for vault (49.225), uneven bars (49.125) and balance beam (49.30) led all teams and the Gators’ beam total was the top total on any event Saturday.
Senior All-American Bridget Sloan won her second consecutive regional all-around title, taking the win Saturday with a total of 39.375. She also claimed the balance beam title at 9.95.
Sophomore All-American Alex McMurtry claimed a share of both the vault and uneven bars wins. She shared the vault win with freshman teammate Alicia Boren and Iowa State’s Meaghan Sievers at 9.90. McMurtry tied Minnesota’s Lindsay Mable for the bars win at 9.875.
GATOR PERFORMANCE NOTES:
Tonight’s titles for Sloan pushes her to a share of Florida Career Events Wins Record. Sloan and Elfi Schlegel (1983-86) share the top position with 90 event wins.
That was all-around win No. 25 for Sloan, moving her into sole possession of second on Florida’s Career All-Around wins chart. For this season, Sloan now has seven all-around victories.
The regional all-around title has gone to a Gator each of the past seven seasons – Ashanée Dickerson (2010, 2012), Alaina Johnson (2011 & 2014), Kytra Hunter (2013) and Sloan (2015, 2016).
McMurtry now has six vault and five bars wins this season.
Boren picks up her fourth vault win as a Gators. She’s turned in seven vault marks of 9.9 or better this season.
The win ups Florida’s regional team titles total to 16 (1982, 1984, 1985, 1987, 1997, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016)
In the NCAA Championships’ 35-year history, Florida has now advanced to the national championships 34 times, missing only the 2000 event.
The 12-team field for the NCAA Championships is determined tonight, as the top two teams in each of the nation’s six regional sites advance to Fort Worth, Texas, for the April 15-16 national championships.
The 12-team NCAA Championships’ field competes on Tax Day in two semifinal sessions of six teams each. The top three teams in each session advance to the April 17 NCAA Super Six, where the team champion is determined.
The Gators have advanced from the NCAA Championships semifinal competition to the NCAA Super Six team final 10 of the last 12 years (2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015). Florida won its first NCAA team title in 2013, shared the 2014 crown with Oklahoma and made it a three-peat in 2015.
2016 NACGC Southeast Region Gymnastics Awards
Gymnast of the Year: Bridget Sloan, Florida
Coach of the Year: Margie Cunningham, George Washington
Assistant Coach of the Year: Adrian Burde & Owen Field, Florida
Administrator of Year: Christie Purks, University of Georgia
GATORS EARNING ALL-REGION HONORS:
The National Association of Collegiate Gymnastics Coaches/Women (NACGC) announced NCAA All-Southeast Region honors Saturday. Florida’s Sloan, the nation’s top-ranked all-arounder, claims her second NACGC Southeast Region Gymnast of the Year honor. She is the third Gator to claim the honor since 2010. Other Gators to be named Regional Gymnast of the Year include Ashanée Dickerson (2010, 2011) and Kytra Hunter (2015).
Regional assistant coach of the year honors went to Florida’s duo of Adrian Burde and Owen Field. This is the fourth time Burde has won the honor, also sharing the 2011, 2013 and 2014 awards. This is Field’s first season with the Gators.
On Florida’s performance Saturday:
“It was enough to get us through. It wasn’t the prettiest meet by any means but you know what? This team rallied, they covered for each other and that’s what this meet is all about. We got through it and are heading to Fort Worth. The team is very excited and I’m very happy for them.” – Florida Head Coach Jenny Rowland
FLORIDA IN THE RANKINGS:
Florida is No. 2 in the final regular-season Road to Nationals rankings.
NCAA MINNEAPOLIS REGION EVENT CHAMPIONS:
All-Around Bridget Sloan Florida 39.375
Vault Alicia Boren Florida 9.900
Alex McMurtry Florida 9.900
Meaghan Sievers Iowa State 9.900
Bars Alex McMurtry Florida 9.875
Lindsay Mable Minnesota 9.875
Beam Bridget Sloan Florida 9.950
Floor Nina McGee Denver 9.950
UP NEXT: Selection information for the 12-team field and individual event competitors will be available on NCAA.com by noon ET on Monday, April 4. Those teams and individuals advance to Fort Worth, Texas, to compete in April 15 NCAA semifinal competition. The top three teams in each of the semifinal sessions compete in the NCAA Super Six on April 19 where the team champion is determined.
The NCAA Individual Event Finals were discontinued after the 2015 season. NCAA event champions will be based on scores in April 15 semifinal action.