Hartung leads Gators to fourth place

LINCOLN, Neb. – No one will ever accuse the 2009 Florida Gators women’s gymnastic team of being underachieving. If anything, the Gators’ fourth-place finish in the NCAA team championship Friday night was the opposite.

Coach Rhonda Faehn’s Gators, who competed most of the last half of the season without four key members who were injured, finished just 1.1 points behind eventual champion Georgia, which won its fifth straight team title and 10th overall with a score of 197.825 in the Super Six competition Friday night at the University of Nebraska’s Bob Devaney Sports Center.

Five of the schools in the Super Six represented the Southeastern Conference. Alabama was runner-up with a score of 197.575, just ahead of Mountain West Conference representative Utah (197.425). Florida was next at 196.725, Arkansas was fifth at 196.475 and Louisiana State was sixth at 196.375.

Georgia Olympian Courtney Kupets won or tied for first in the four disciplines – floor exercise, balance beam, uneven parallel bars and vault. She had perfect scores of 10.000 in the vault and uneven parallel bars to win, won the balance beam with a score of 9.950 and shared the floor exercise title with Alabama’s Morgan Dennis and Florida’s Corey Hartung with scores of 9.950.

Hartung had Florida’s best finish in the vault with a score of 9.900, which tied her for eighth place. She tied for sixth in the uneven parallel bars with a score of 9.875 and tied for fifth in the balance beam with teammate Melanie Sinclair with scores of 9.875.

The individual event finals will be contested Saturday night at the Devaney Sports Center. Alicia Goodwin and Melanie Sinclair will represent the Gators in the uneven parallel bars, Maranda Smith will compete in the vault and Hartung will compete in the floor exercise.