As if the University of Florida’s Gymnastics team doesn’t have enough to celebrate about early on in the season with the Gators claiming first place in all their meets thus far, freshman Kytra Hunter just give the university one more accolade to be proud of. On Tuesday league officials announced the freshman was named the Southeastern Conference Freshman Gymnast of the Week for her exceptional performance against Kentucky.
Hunter has debuted her collegiate career off with a bang as the freshman has won the all-around event title for all three meets the Gators have participated in. Just three meets into her career, the freshman has already hit the University of Florida record books with her all-around event-winning streak. Hunter is the second Gator since 1987 to start off her college career with three consecutive all-around titles. Fellow teammate Ashanee Dickerson accomplished such a feat back in 2010.
“I’m just really proud of her,” Florida head coach Rhonda Faehn said after the Gators meet against Kentucky. “She’s very strong mentally as a competitor and she has a lot of experience behind her. She was able to utilize her past experiences to stay focused and aggressive tonight. I think she’s getting more comfortable out there on the competition floor and it showed tonight.”
Hunter shined at the Gators first SEC meet of the season last Friday against the Wildcats, winning her third straight all-around title with a 39.475 and bringing home four event titles. Hunter won her first vault event with a Florida-season best mark of 9.925 and claimed her first uneven bars title again UK, tying with All-American junior Marissa King for first place with a 9.875. The freshman extraordinaire’s fourth event title came when she scored an impressive 9.85 on the beams. Hunter also received third place for the floor exercise event when she posted a 9.825 mark.
“I do want that spot in post-season to help out the Gators,” Hunter said. “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.”
Hunter not only leads the Gators with the number of event titles she has earned, but also holds the team’s top event scores on vault (9.925 vs. Kentucky), floor (9.925 vs. Illinois-Chicago) and all-around (39.475 vs. Kentucky). The freshman has already achieved eight event titles thus far into the season.
“She has that star quality, I say she that is all business because she gets through everything so quickly,” Faehn said. “She warms up so quickly and it’s just she know what’s going on and gets it really early, which is important. Her sere power, her vault and her tumbling is just phenomenal, I would say the best in the country.”
The No. 3 Gators are back in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center at 7 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 27 to host a quad meet. The meet includes No. 3 Arkansas, No. 23 Maryland and Bridgeport. The meet will be aired on ESPNU at 6: 30 p.m. on Feb. 2nd and video of the event will be streaming live on GatorVision.
Gator Country reporter Elizabeth Rhodes can be reached at email@example.com.