Florida’s freshman class tops rankings

The 2012 University of Florida’s gymnastics freshman class claims the crown on CollegeGymFans.com’s list of the top recruiting classes for this season. The Gators have give newcomers this season in Kytra Hunter, Kiersten Wang, Rachel Spicer, Jamie Shisler and Brittany Arlington. The group will no doubt bring much spirit and quality performances to the Gators gymnastics team.

“Overall this class is from top-to-bottom is so strong,” said Florida coach Rhonda Faehn. “This class is really well-balanced, possesses a variety of looks and skills.”

The five freshmen have already proved themselves against NC State last weekend as Faehn was impressed with all of their routines and how they were able to have fun instead of being nervous wrecks in their first collegiate meet ever.

“Our freshmen did a really great job and were able to get their feet wet,” Faehn said. “It was nice they stayed calm and everybody hit their routines and they had a lot of fun.”

Hunter stood out from the rest of the freshman in the season opener scoring an incredible 9.90 on the floor exercise and an impressive 39.30 on the all-around, claiming both events against the Wolfpack. 

“I’m really proud of Kytra,” Faehn said. “She has a tremendous work ethic and is all business. It was really fun to see her get out there tonight and love performing.”

Wang and Spicer also performed in last Friday’s meet against NC State. Wang scored a 9.625 on the vault and a 9.750 on the bars while Spicer hit a 9.700 mark on the vault, 9.750 on the beam and a 9.725 on the floor. No too shabby for a couple of freshmen’s first collegiate meet.

Each freshmen has achieved many significant accomplishments before becoming a Gator and here are just a couple of their achievements en route to attending the University of Florida.

Freshman Kytra Hunter

• Member of the 2009-10 and 2010-11 U.S. Senior National Teams

• Took fourth in all-around, balance beam and floor exercise in her last appearance at the Visa Championships in 2010.

Freshman Kiersten Wang

• Qualified for senior international elite level in 2009

• Placed second on bars and seventh in all-around in 2011 Junior Olympic Level 10 – Senior D action.

• Also placed eighth in the 2011 Nastia Liukin Supergirl Cup all-around.

While Hunter and Wang have been training with the team since fall, a trio of newcomers just recently joined the 2012 squad in January.

Rachel Spicer

• Won the 2010 JO Level 10 Junior C all-around title and was third in the 2011 Supergirl all-around.

• Has been a member of the last four JO National teams.

Jamie Shisler

• Advanced to the 2011 JO Level 10 – Senior C championships.

• Placed third in 2011 USAG Florida Level 10-floor competition.

Brittany Arlington

• Placed sixth in 2011 USAG Florida Level 10 all-around.

• Advanced to the Region 8 Championships.

The No. 3 Florida Gators (1-0) host their first meet of the season against Illinois-Chicago (1-0) on Friday. Competition against the Flames will begin at 7 p.m. in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center and will air live on Sun Sports at 10:30 a.m. on Jan. 22.

“We always love competing in the O’Dome,” Faehn said. “We love our fans, our community support is incredible. It’s going to be exciting and I think it will be awesome for our fans to see our newcomers.

CollegeGymFans.com Top 10 Recruiting Classes

Rank School Number of Freshmen

1. Florida 5

2. Alabama 4

3. UCLA 6

4. Utah 5

5. Stanford 5

6. LSU 4

7. Georgia 5

8. Michigan 8

9. Nebraska 5

10. Auburn 6

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