Sloan earns top SEC weekly honor

After setting the nation highest-total of the season against No.18 Auburn in the Link to Pink meet and following that performance up by defeating No. 22 Arkansas on the road with the nation’s second-highest total of 2013, freshman Bridget Sloan becomes the first freshman to be named SEC Gymnast of the Week this season.

The No. 1 Florida Gators gymnastics team (4-1, 3-1 SEC) has now had a gymnast be honored SEC Gymnast of the Week for three weeks in a row now.

This is Sloan’s second accolade this season with her first being in the opening week. Sloan was named SEC Freshman of the Week for her performance against Ball State where the Gators won, 196.575-190.55.

Sloan earned her first all-around title this past weekend against the Razorbacks, helping the Gators notch their fourth win of the season, 197.575-196.175. The freshman earned an all-around total of 39.55, to mark a collegiate-best as she shared the title with teammate senior Ashanee Dickerson.

“Tonight the atmosphere was just incredible,” Sloan said about the meet against the Razorbacks. “The whole team was on fire and we showed a lot of passion tonight. Ashanée had our word of the meet, which was passion. We really showed how much passion we had for each other and for the team.”

Sloan increased her career-high score on the balance beam to 9.925 to claim her beam title of the season. She also finished second in the bars event at 9.90, narrowly missing her collegiate-best of 9.925 set the previous week against No. 18 Auburn. Sloan has now earned five event titles in 2013. In national rankings, Sloan is No. 5 in the all-around (39.488) and tied for No. 12 in the vault (9.894).

The Gators are back in the O’Connell Center on Friday at 7 p.m. to take on the defending national champions and possibly their biggest rival, the No. 5 Alabama Crimson Tide (3-0, 3-0 SEC). Sloan has confidence in her team’s progression in skills moving forward explaining after last weekend’s meet how phenomenal everybody did and how the best is yet to come.

“Again it was an incredible meet for everybody,” Sloan said. “We really came together as a team and supported each other 100 percent. I know I have been saying that a lot, but really each meet it gets a little better and better. There are only good things to come.”

This is one of Florida’s most anticipated meets of the season as Alabama edged the Gators last year in the national championships to claim the national title. The meet will be aired Feb. 16 at 8:30 p.m. on Sun Sports.

Gator Country reporter Elizabeth Rhodes can be reached at