No. 3 preseason Florida opens the program’s 41st season Friday with a home dual meet versus Ball State. Meet time is set for 7 p.m. at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center. The Gators are 44-8 in home openers and started the 2012 home season with a 196.175-191.875 win over Illinois-Chicago.
A complimentary parking shuttle is available for all Gator gymnastics meets. Park at the UF Commuter Lot on Gale Lemerand Drive to board the bus which drops patrons off at Gate 2 of the O’Connell Center. Parking shuttle and other Gator gymnastics event information can be found by visiting the Gator Gymnastics Game Day page.
This is the third meeting overall between the two teams, with the last coming in a 2010 triangular meet in Gainesville. Florida took the triangular team title with a team total of 197.55 and Ball State was third at 191.35. A pair of then-Gator freshmen shared the 2010 triangular all-around title at 39.475 – Ashanée Dickerson and Marissa King. Joining the pair in a four-way tie for first at 9.875 in the floor exercise competition was another Gator freshman, Randy Stageberg.
Last season, Florida was second in the 2012 NCAA Championships’ Super Six team final. Alabama (197.85) edged Florida (197.775) by just .075 in a thrilling NCAA Super Six team final. UCLA took third at 197.75. The tenth difference between teams No. 1 – 3 was the closest NCAA Championship team final in the 31-year history of the meet. Freshman Kytra Hunter won NCAA titles in both the all-around and vault. She is the first Gator to win the NCAA all-around title and also the first UF gymnast to claim multiple NCAA event titles in a single year. She is the third Gator to win the NCAA vault crown (Susan Hines in 1997 and 1998; Marissa King 2011).
The Gators return five gymnasts in 2013 (Mackenzie Caquatto, Dickerson, Hunter, Alaina Johnson and King) who own a total of 29 All-America honors. The Gators won the Southeastern Conference and NCAA Raleigh Regional Championship team titles last year. In 2013, Florida returns 22 of 24 routines it competed in the 2012 NCAA Championships.
The Gators’ 15-member roster includes four talented freshmen, including one who joined the team for the 2013 spring semester. Bridgette Caquatto, Bianca Dancose-Giambattisto and Bridget Sloan trained with the Gators this fall. Both Caquatto and Sloan have represented the U.S. at several international meets. Sloan, the youngest member of the U.S.’s 2008 silver-medal Olympic team, claimed the 2009 World Championships’ all-around crown. She and Caquatto both were part of the U.S.’s 2011 Pan American Games gold-medal team. Caquatto also took Pan Am gold for the all-around and uneven bars. Sloan and Dancose-Giambattisto both competed at the 2010 World Championships as Dancose-Giambattisto was part of Canada’s team. Joining the Gator freshmen class for the spring semester is Morgan Frazier. She was a part of the Orlando Metro club team and has competed at the Junior Olympic Level 10 Championships.
Courtesy of UF Communications