Dickerson, Hunter earn SEC honors

After defeating the No. 1 team in the country, two Gator gymnasts were awarded weekly Southeastern Conference honors for their stellar and career-breaking performances in the quad meet Florida hosted last weekend. The league office announced Tuesday afternoon University of Florida junior All-American Ashanee Dickerson is the Southeastern Conference Gymnast of the Week and Kytra Hunter shares SEC Freshman of the Week accolade with LSU’s Jessie Jordan.

This is Hunter’s second consecutive SEC Freshman of the Week honor and Dickerson’s first SEC Gymnast of the Week honor of the season and the third in her career.

The No. 3 Florida Gators travel to Tuscaloosa, Ala., to face reigning NCAA champion and currently No. 6 Alabama at 8:30 pm Friday night. The meet will take place in the Coleman Coliseum and will air on CSS at 7 p.m. on Tuesday.

In Florida’s first quad meet of the season at home against then-No. T-1 Arkansas, Bridgeport and then-No. 24 Maryland, Dickerson earned her 11th All-Around title with a 39.600 to win her 50th event title of her career. This puts Dickerson down in the Gator record books, as she becomes the seventh Gator to win 50 events so far in her gymnastics career at UF.

“She was just all fire tonight,” Florida head coach Rhonda Faehn said about Dickerson’s performance in the quad meet. “It was great. She started it out on vault and to stick that landing on bars, she just really knows where those landings are and I think that really helped her out. I just can’t say enough about how excited I am about ‘Nee. She is always so quiet and works so hard and for her to come out and compete the way she did and to win, I think it can help her confidence to know her hard work pays off.”

Dickerson set her career-record on the uneven bars with a 9.925 and tied her career-high on the floor for the sixth time with a 9.950.

“It was a great feeling,” Dickerson said about nailing her floor routine. “I just ran to my team and hugged them.”

Hunter tied for first on the floor routine with Dickerson as they both scored a 9.950. Earning her third floor title in just the first four meets of the season marks Hunter as the fastest freshman to reach a 9.95 mark on a floor event in Gator history.

“I’m really proud of Kytra,” Faehn said. “She has a tremendous work ethic and is all business.”

Hunter holds the top spot for the 2012 Gators with nine event titles and Dickerson shares second with junior All-American Marissa King with five.

“I do want that spot in post-season to help out the Gators and I’m just getting my feet wet now,” Hunter said. “I’m still making mistakes but that just motivates me to go into the gym and work on them.”

The Gators earned first place claiming three events with a nation season-high total of 197.775. No. 1 Arkansas (6-1, 2-1 SEC) finished second with 196.700, No. 24 Maryland (4-4) finished third with 193.075 and Bridgeport (2-4) came in fourth with 192. 975. This win bumped the Gators up from being ranked at No. 8 to No. 3.

Florida took home the bars, beam and floor event titles with every Gator scoring a 9.950 to claim their event. Sophomore Mackenzie Caquatto made an incredible stride in a week’s time as she took home the bars title and King nailed the beam.

Both Dickerson and Hunter are ranked nationally as Dickerson is No. 13 for all-around (39.325) and tied for No. 7 in floor exercise (9.892). Hunter is No. 21 in all-around (39.175), tied for No. 14 for vault (9.875) and tied for No. 3 in floor exercise (9.90).

Gator Country reporter Elizabeth Rhodes can be reached at lizxxbeth@gators.ufl.edu.