On to NCAA Championships! Gator Gymnastics win NCAA University Park Regional

Special to GC

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – The Florida gymnastics team claimed the NCAA University Park Regional, held Saturday in front of 1,827 at Penn State’s Rec Hall. The win advances Florida to Birmingham, Ala., where the Gators will look to defend their 2013 NCAA team title.

The Gators turned in a 197.05 Saturday to take their third consecutive NCAA Regional title. The top two teams in regional competition advance to the NCAA Championships and Penn State claimed the other berth at 196.725. Oregon State was third at 196.525, followed by Kentucky (195.925), New Hampshire (195.025) and Maryland (194.525).

It wasn’t a clean meet for the Gators, as the team was forced to count a fall for the first time this season, as two Gators recorded misses on balance beam. Florida also had to count a stumbled landing on floor toward its total. But the Gators opened and closed the competition with meet-high totals of 49.55 on both uneven bars and vault. The vault total stands as the Gators’ top tally on the event this season.

The Gators claimed at least a share of each event title Saturday. Senior Alaina Johnson won the all-around title at 39.55 and shared the balance beam win (9.85). Sophomore Bridget Sloan took the vault title (9.95) and shared the uneven bars win with senior teammate Mackenzie Caquatto with the same mark. Junior Kytra Hunter was the floor champion at 9.95.

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Raymond Hines
Back when I was a wee one I had to decide if I wanted to live dangerously and become a computer hacker or start a website devoted to the Gators. I chose the Gators instead of the daily thrill of knowing my next meal might be at Leavenworth. No regrets, however. The Gators have been and will continue to be my addiction. What makes this so much fun is that the more addicted I become to the Florida Gators, the more fun I have doing innovative things to help bring all the Gator news that is news (and some that isn’t) to Gator fans around the world. Andy Warhol said we all have our 15 minutes of fame. Thanks to Gator Country, I’m working on a half hour. Thanks to an understanding daughter that can’t decide if she’s going to be the female version of Einstein, Miss Universe, President of the United States or a princess, I get to spend my days doing what I’ve done since Gus Garcia and I founded Gator Country back in 1996. Has it really been over a decade and a half now?