Special to GC
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — The Gators avoided talk of a repeat prior to their trip here for the NCAA Gymnastics Championships.
They wanted the 2014 team to stand on its own. The Gators certainly did that Saturday night.
They stood at the podium holding the national championship trophy after a dramatic comeback on the floor to tie Oklahoma for the national title.
The Gators won the 2013 national title — the first in program history — while the Sooners were runner-up.
Florida needed a strong floor performance to close out last year’s title and the same was true Saturday.
The Gators stood in third place behind Oklahoma and host Alabama entering the final rotation.
However, two Crimson Tide gymnasts fell on beam to wipe out Alabama’s national title bid.
Meanwhile, Oklahoma finished vault and posted a final team score of 198.175. The Gators had two final turns on the floor left when Oklahoma’s final score flashed.
Kytra Hunter and Bridgette Caquatto both needed to score 9.950s on floor to tie the Sooners and earn a share of the title (there is not a tiebreaker in the Super Six).
Hunter was first and got her 9.950. Caquatto then went out and did the same.
For a the next few minutes drama unfolded as officials determined if a tiebreaker was needed. It was not.
Turns out the Gators earned a share of the title with their nerve-wracking comeback Florida fans won’t forget for some time.