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    SEC Friday Night Gymnastics Report

    Gym Dogs Defeat Auburn For First Home Win
     
    ATHENS, Ga.----- Senior Christa Tanella tied two career highs with 9.875s in both bars and floor to help 8th-ranked Georgia defeat No. 24 Auburn 196.05-195.7.
     
    In this 76th meeting between the teams, the Gym Dogs (2-1, 2-0 SEC) maintained an undefeated record against the Tigers (0-5, 0-2 SEC) in Stegeman Coliseum. Georgia is now 73-3 all-time in competition against Auburn, with a 24-0 record in Athens.
     
    “Winning at home in front of this crowd was an amazing experience,” said head coach Danna Durante. “It’s something I've been visualizing since I got here.”
     
    Georgia opened the night with a 49.15 on vault, where senior Lindsey Cheek scored a 9.9 for the second week in a row. Sarah Persinger, Brittany Rogers and Brandie Jay all posted a 9.8 or higher. With Auburn’s 49.125 on bars, the Gym Dogs headed into the second rotation with the lead.
     
    On bars, the Gym Dogs scored a 49.4, which matches Georgia’s highest score on the event since 2011. With a 9.95, sophomore Chelsea Davis tied her career high and posted the highest score for the Gym Dogs on bars. Tanella and Rogers both posted 9.875s, which set a career high for Rogers. After the second rotation, Georgia led Auburn 98.550-98.125.
     
    The Tigers cut into the lead in the third rotation as they scored a 48.8 on floor. Georgia had to count a 9.225 and finished with a team score of 48.5 on beam. The Gym Dogs maintained a slight lead of 147.050-146.925 as they headed into the final rotation.
     
    Georgia secured the win with a 49 on floor. Junior Kaylan Earls tied a career high and gave Georgia a strong start on floor with a 9.85. Persinger also tied a career high when she posted a 9.9, while Tanella and Jay both pulled in 9.875s.
     
    “With energy from the team comes confidence, and with confidence comes good performance,” said Tanella. “If you can get the energy up, that confidence and performance is going to be there.”
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    Florida Gymnastics Ups Season Best to 197.30 to Defeat Missouri

    GAINESVILLE, Fla. – A perfect 10.0 on uneven bars for junior All-American Mackenzie Caquatto highlighted No. T3 Florida gymnastics’ (2-1, 1-1 SEC) win Friday in front of a Stephen C. O’Connell Center crowd of 5,753. The Gators turned in a season-best 197.30 while Missouri also posted a season-high total 194.625.

    Tonight’s meet will air tape-delayed on SUN Sports Jan. 27 at 9:30 a.m.

    There were plenty of highlights Friday, as senior All-American Ashanée Dickerson, on her way to the 15th all-around win of her career at 39.575, came oh-so-close to the perfect mark with her collegiate vault best of 9.975. But on the next rotation, Dickerson said afterward, “I saw something I’ve never seen a teammate do before.”

    That something was a perfect 10.0.

    Mackenzie Caquatto’s 10.0 punctuated a stellar Gators’ bar set, as Florida’s total of 49.60 matches the fifth-highest total in the program’s history. Two other All-American teammates completed Florida’s sweep of the bars with Kytra Hunter’s collegiate-best 9.925 and Alaina Johnson’s 9.95.

    Caquatto is the fifth Gator to earn the perfect mark on bars and the first since All-American Melanie Sinclair earned her third 10.0 in 2009.

    The team’s positive mood, which started during warm-ups, helped Mackenzie control her nerves Friday.

    “Tonight was really exciting. I think it all started from warm-ups because the whole team had a ton of energy. Everyone was goofing around and staying positive, which helped with the nerves,” she said. “Through the meet we kept up the energy. I think it helped everyone on everything and this was our best meet of the season.”

    The routine is one she’ll have etched in her memory.

    “That was a really great feeling. I was actually surprised. When I stuck the dismount, I knew it was one of the best routines I did and was happy I could contribute to the team,” she said. “It was a good moment and I will never forget it.”

    For Florida Head Coach Rhonda Faehn, it was a delight to see Mackenzie have such success after her opening two seasons which often saw her fighting back from injuries.

    “It’s really amazing because Macko is such a huge talent.  It was almost excruciatingly painful as a coach to watch her with her frustrations and her struggle with her injuries that were significant and knowing that she’s capable of so much more,” Faehn said. “I think it’s going to continue to help motivate her and give her confidence.”

    Florida freshman Bridget Sloan picked up her first collegiate balance beam title Friday with her season-high mark of 9.90.

    She had a miss on bars tonight, but kept Faehn’s words in mind to put the mistake behind before heading to the next event.

    “Winning the beam felt really good especially when bars did not go as planned. Everyone makes mistakes and it was definitely not a mistake I wanted to make,” Sloan said. “I knew that when I came to beam my team was depending on me.”

    “It was nice to have Rhonda’s assurance that things do happen, but making that comeback is really what it is all about and not letting your whole meet fall apart.”

    Mackenzie Caquatto and Dickerson followed Sloan with marks of 9.85 to share second in the final beam standings.

    Dickerson anchored Florida’s floor set with a 9.90 to take her first floor win of the season and the 15th of her career. With her three wins tonight, Dickerson now owns a total of 63 event titles which stands fifth on Florida’s all-time career list. She needs three more to move into a tie with Gator Athletics Hall of Fame member Ann Woods (1980-82) at 66.

    Dickerson’s face showed the fun she was having on floor tonight. The exuberant Gator crowd and the off-the-mat boost from Sloan put her in that mindset.
    “It was a lot of fun; I heard the crowd and they were really loud and that just made me want to dance even more,” Dickerson said. “And having Bridget (Sloan) in the corner with me dancing just helps me for my first pass and then seeing my teammates and the rest of the crowd going crazy is just exciting.”

    Johnson was second on floor at 9.875 and senior All-America Marissa King took third at 9.85.

    The Gators were coming off a loss last weekend at LSU. Dickerson said the team had some definite areas that needed improvement and tonight was a step in the right direction.

    “We fought through everything. Coach Faehn told us that last week we didn’t fight as much and this week I felt that we fought a lot more for landings and trying not to make many mistakes and it just worked out,” Dickerson said. “We went out there and had fun. Because of the loss last week, we knew that if we just went out there and had fun then we could do our best.”

    Faehn liked the way the Gators approached tonight’s competition.

    “It was a really great night. I love that they took last week’s competition and turned it around in the training and had a different attitude of fight tonight,” Faehn said. “There were mistakes here and there, there were inconstancies, wobbles, but nobody really let it just completely affect their overall performance. Their energy stayed up.”
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    No. 6 Alabama Gymnastics Beats No. 5 LSU, 196.575-195.525

    TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The No. 6 ranked Alabama Gymnastics team opened its 2013 home slate with a decisive 196.575-195.525 win over No. 5 LSU Friday night in Coleman Coliseum in front of 13,912 fans.

    “I was so proud for this team,” UA head coach Sarah Patterson said. “I think they really enjoyed having the opportunity to compete in front of an amazing crowd and all those fans.”

    Junior Kim Jacob led the way for the Crimson Tide, winning her second all-around in a row with a 39.375. Alabama goes to 2-0 on the season and 2-0 in Southeastern Conference competition, while the Tigers fall to 2-1, 1-1 in the SEC.

    Alabama came out strong on the vault, scoring a 49.45, led by 9.925s from sophomore Kayla Williams and junior Diandra Milliner and a 9.9 from sophomore Kaitlyn Clark. Seniors Ashley Sledge and Marissa Gutierrez both chipped in 9.850s. It was Alabama’s 70th consecutive vault score of 49.0 or better, a streak that started in the middle of the 2008 season.

    “I thought our vaulters did an amazing job,” Patterson said. “Diandra Milliner had a great vault and I loved that Kayla Williams rocked her vault.”

    The Tide kept things going on the uneven bars where Sledge, junior Sarah DeMeo and senior Ashley Priess all scored 9.9s to pace the Tide to a 49.325. Senior Becca Alexin added a 9.85 to Alabama’s uneven bars total.

    “I think this was a great start for us and there were a lot of really great spots tonight,” Priess said. “I feel we should feel really optimistic about where we can go from here. The errors were obvious and that’s something that’s very feasible for us to work on and improve on. Overall, I feel really hopeful for this team. We have a long ways to go still, but I think that we’re ready for it and we’re ready to attack it.”

    On the balance beam, Alabama scored a 49.050 behind Jacob’s 9.875. Priess added a 9.85 while senior Marissa Gutierrez led things off with a 9.8.

    “I thought we came out on fire on the first two events,” Patterson said. “Then we were a little tentative on the balance beam. That’s an area where can continue to get better.”

    The Tide closed things out with a 48.750 on the floor exercise, where Jacob and DeMeo scored 9.9s to the lead the way for Alabama. Sledge added a 9.85, but Alabama had to count a fall in its total, holding the team short of a 197 total.
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    Kentucky Gymnastics Wins Top-15 Showdown

    LEXINGTON, Ky. – More than 5,600 fans witnessed University of Kentucky gymnastics history on Friday night inside Memorial Coliseum as the No. 14 Wildcats defeated the No. 9 Arkansas Razorbacks in convincing fashion.

    The Wildcats took the meet 195.5-193.075 while winning every team and individual event.

    The Wildcats (4-1, 2-0 SEC)  continued the unprecedented start to the season as Friday’s win gave the program back-to-back Southeastern Conference wins for the first time ever. All four wins this season have come against higher-ranked opponents.

    Kentucky is off to the best start in school history as the Wildcats have never before topped 195 in all three meets to begin the season.

    Audrey Harrison stole the Excite Night at the Kentucky Classic show winning the individual all-around competition for the second consecutive week. The Knoxville, Tenn., native’s season high 39.275 was highlighted by her 9.9 to anchor on uneven bars with a score, which ties for her career-high.

    Harrison won individual titles on bars and floor exercise (9.85). The junior now has four event titles this year and 11 all-time.

    “As you would expect we are pleased with being 2-0 in the SEC,” head coach Tim Garrison said. “You can’t take any win for granted in this conference. That being said, we still have a lot of room for improvement.

    We had strong performances from some athletes tonight and I am proud of this team, but I am most excited about our potential.”

    Kentucky began the meet on vault and Jill Chappel led off with a career-best to earn a 9.775 in her home debut. Holly Cunningham anchored vault with a 9.825, which earned her event honors. The Colorado Springs, Colo., native stuck her landing sending the Big Blue Nation member’s in attendance into an frenzy.

    A high level of consistency helped UK take vault, getting the night off to a great start as Kenzie Hedges went 9.8 and Kayla Hartley’s vault earned a 9.6.

    Harrison’s 9.9 finished a strong second rotation on bars. Hartley’s 9.825 equaled her career-high as did Sara Shipley’s rotation opening 9.8. Shelby Hilton earned a 9.725 and Alexis Gross went 9.625.

    Kentucky notched a season high 49.0 when the action shifted to beam. Shannon Mitchell nailed her routine to notch a career-best 9.825. Marissa Beucler could not have opened her UK career in much better fashion as her 9.825 gave her a share of event honors at her first career meet. Gross scored a great routine with a 9.8 on beam. Kayla Sienkowski as well as Harrison both earned scores of 9.775.

    The evening’s outcome was all but sealed when the Wildcats rotated to floor, but there was still the matter of sending the huge crowd home entertained. Harrison was up for the challenge as she nailed all her passes, but also struck the right chords with her dance to garner a 9.85 and the event title. Mitchell also invigorated the fans with another career-best 9.825. Hedges went 9.75 and Hilton nailed her routine for a 9.725.