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Gym Gators ready for SEC opener

Written by elizabethrhodes, January 20, 2012, 0 Comments,
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The No. 8 University of Florida gymnastics team (2-0, 0-0 SEC) opens its Southeastern Conference slate with Kentucky (2-2, 0-1 SEC) at 7 p.m. Friday night. The meet time takes place in Lexington, Ky., in the Memorial Coliseum as the Gators open the SEC for the second consecutive year against the Wildcats.

In Florida’s season opener last Friday against Illinois-Chicago in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center, the Gators were victorious in presenting a 196.175 over 191.875 win for their home crowd. Four different Gator gymnasts notched event titles, including junior All-American Ashanee Dickerson, junior All-American Marissa King, sophomore All-American Alaina Johnson and freshman Kytra Hunter. Not only did these Gators take home event titles in front of 4,796 Florida fans but also they all successfully did so with marks of 9.90 or better.

The No. 8 University of Florida gymnastics team (2-0, 0-0 SEC) opens its Southeastern Conference slate with Kentucky (2-2, 0-1 SEC) at 7 p.m. Friday night. The meet time takes place in Lexington, KY in the Memorial Coliseum as the Gators open the SEC for the second consecutive year against the Wildcats.

In Florida’s season opener last Friday against Illinois-Chicago in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center, the Gators were victorious in presenting a 196. 175 over 191.875 win for their home crowd. Four different Gator gymnasts notched event titles, including junior All-American Ashanee Dickerson, junior All-American Marissa King, sophomore All-American Alaina Johnson and freshman Kytra Hunter. Not only did these Gators take home event titles in front of 4,796 Florida fans but also they all successfully did so with marks of 9.90 or better.

Dickerson received a superb 9.90 on the vault, surpassing her career total of vault event titles to an impressive 12. King gave her best performance of her career, receiving an outstanding 9.925 mark against the Flames on her second consecutive balance beam win.

“I worked really hard all pre-season to get it consistent and hit every time,” King said. “Just to come away after doing a great routine like that and showing that I can do it was just a really really great feeling and I hope to have that feeling again throughout the season.”

Johnson gained a 9.90 mark, winning her second straight uneven bars title while Hunter grabbed her second floor exercise win. The freshman tied King’s career 9.925 performance mark becoming the first Florida Gator freshmen to ever receive a floor mark of 9.90 or better in the first two meets of the season. Hunter also won her second consecutive all-around title with a 38.925.

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

Johnson made her season debut on the floor event, taking second at 9.85 while junior Randy Stageberg finished third at 9.775.

As for all the freshmen’s’ performance overall, Stageberg was impressed how they were able to keep their composure in front of such a large crowd and in such an intense environment as the O’Dome.

“I think they all did an excellent job,” Stageberg. “It’s a big role coming in as a freshman and competing in front of such a large crowd. We came from NC State, which wasn’t a big turnout, and then you come here (O’Connell Center). It’s a lot of pressure and I think they are handling it very well.”

Kentucky is 2-2 so far this season and 0-1 in conference meets. The Wildcats finished runner-up in their season-opening quad meet in the Memorial Coliseum behind No. 4 Oklahoma. Kentucky posted a 194.325 while Oklahoma edged the Wildcats out with a 195.875. Kentucky started up its SEC season last Friday with a loss at Arkansas as the Razorbacks defeated the Wildcats 196.65-191.975.

Florida is one of four SEC teams among the top 10 including Arkansas, Alabama and Georgia. Nebraska is No.1, followed by No. 2 Utah, No. 3 Arkansas, No.4 Oregon State, No. 5 Alabama and No. 6 Georgia.

The dual meet against the Wildcats will air on SUN Sports at 9:30 a.m. on Jan. 29.

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

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The No. 8 University of Florida gymnastics team (2-0, 0-0 SEC) opens its Southeastern Conference slate with Kentucky (2-2, 0-1 SEC) at 7 p.m. Friday night. The meet time takes place in Lexington, Ky., in the Memorial Coliseum as the Gators open the SEC for the second consecutive year against the Wildcats.

In Florida’s season opener last Friday against Illinois-Chicago in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center, the Gators were victorious in presenting a 196.175 over 191.875 win for their home crowd. Four different Gator gymnasts notched event titles, including junior All-American Ashanee Dickerson, junior All-American Marissa King, sophomore All-American Alaina Johnson and freshman Kytra Hunter. Not only did these Gators take home event titles in front of 4,796 Florida fans but also they all successfully did so with marks of 9.90 or better.

The No. 8 University of Florida gymnastics team (2-0, 0-0 SEC) opens its Southeastern Conference slate with Kentucky (2-2, 0-1 SEC) at 7 p.m. Friday night. The meet time takes place in Lexington, KY in the Memorial Coliseum as the Gators open the SEC for the second consecutive year against the Wildcats.

In Florida’s season opener last Friday against Illinois-Chicago in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center, the Gators were victorious in presenting a 196. 175 over 191.875 win for their home crowd. Four different Gator gymnasts notched event titles, including junior All-American Ashanee Dickerson, junior All-American Marissa King, sophomore All-American Alaina Johnson and freshman Kytra Hunter. Not only did these Gators take home event titles in front of 4,796 Florida fans but also they all successfully did so with marks of 9.90 or better.

Dickerson received a superb 9.90 on the vault, surpassing her career total of vault event titles to an impressive 12. King gave her best performance of her career, receiving an outstanding 9.925 mark against the Flames on her second consecutive balance beam win.

“I worked really hard all pre-season to get it consistent and hit every time,” King said. “Just to come away after doing a great routine like that and showing that I can do it was just a really really great feeling and I hope to have that feeling again throughout the season.”

Johnson gained a 9.90 mark, winning her second straight uneven bars title while Hunter grabbed her second floor exercise win. The freshman tied King’s career 9.925 performance mark becoming the first Florida Gator freshmen to ever receive a floor mark of 9.90 or better in the first two meets of the season. Hunter also won her second consecutive all-around title with a 38.925.

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

Johnson made her season debut on the floor event, taking second at 9.85 while junior Randy Stageberg finished third at 9.775.

As for all the freshmen’s’ performance overall, Stageberg was impressed how they were able to keep their composure in front of such a large crowd and in such an intense environment as the O’Dome.

“I think they all did an excellent job,” Stageberg. “It’s a big role coming in as a freshman and competing in front of such a large crowd. We came from NC State, which wasn’t a big turnout, and then you come here (O’Connell Center). It’s a lot of pressure and I think they are handling it very well.”

Kentucky is 2-2 so far this season and 0-1 in conference meets. The Wildcats finished runner-up in their season-opening quad meet in the Memorial Coliseum behind No. 4 Oklahoma. Kentucky posted a 194.325 while Oklahoma edged the Wildcats out with a 195.875. Kentucky started up its SEC season last Friday with a loss at Arkansas as the Razorbacks defeated the Wildcats 196.65-191.975.

Florida is one of four SEC teams among the top 10 including Arkansas, Alabama and Georgia. Nebraska is No.1, followed by No. 2 Utah, No. 3 Arkansas, No.4 Oregon State, No. 5 Alabama and No. 6 Georgia.

The dual meet against the Wildcats will air on SUN Sports at 9:30 a.m. on Jan. 29.

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

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