GAINESVILLE, Fla. - The No. 2 Florida gymnastics team won the eighth annual Gators Link to Pink meet over No. 3 LSU in front of a Stephen C. O’Connell Center crowd of 9,197. Florida turned in a season-best 198.125 and the Tigers posted a 197.625. The 198.125 is the nation’s second-highest total of 2014, just a fraction behind the 198.175 No. 1 Oklahoma turned in last Saturday.
Junior All-American Kytra Hunter finished Florida’s vault rotation Friday with the same score she earned a week ago - a 10.0. It was the second back-to-back vault 10.0s for Florida and the first in 16 years.
Hunter was just a fraction away from turning in her second perfect mark of the evening, as she won floor at 9.975. Gator sophomore Bridget Sloan took the balance beam win at 9.95 and also claimed her sixth-consecutive all-around title at 39.70. She is the defending NCAA champion for both events.
The Gators trailed the Tigers by 0.05 at the midway point of the meet. Florida’s season-best of 49.55 on balance beam gave UF a slender 0.075 lead heading into floor exercise. On its finishing event, Florida tallied a meet-high event total of 49.65, a total which makes UF the nation’s only team to turn in two floor totals of 49.65 or better this season. The Gators set their school record with a 49.875 on Jan. 24 - a total which is the nation’s highest on any event since 2006.
LSU junior Rheagan Courville was the all-around runner-up at 39.675. She shared the evening’s uneven bars title with teammate Sarie Morrison at 9.95.
It was the eighth annual Gators Link to Pink meet. All of the Southeastern Conference’s gymnastics teams will have a pink meet this season, with the intention to help raise awareness about the fight against breast cancer.
Alabama Gymnastics Second at the Perfect 10 Challenge in Oklahoma City
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – The No. 5 ranked Alabama gymnastics team finished second by a tenth of a point to No. 1 Oklahoma at the Perfect 10 Challenge in Oklahoma City, Okla., Friday night, 197.200-197.100. No. 7 Michigan was third with a 196.200 while West Virginia was fourth at 193.525.
Trailing the Sooners by more than three-tenths of a point going into its final rotation, Alabama finished the night off with its best vault rotation of the season, going 49.550, capped by senior Diandra Milliner scoring a season-best 9.975. Freshman Katie Bailey scored a career-best 9.900, sophomore Lauren Beers posted her second 9.95 of the season while junior Kaitlyn Clark led the Tide off with a 9.875 on the vault.
“We took on the No. 1 team in the country without our top all-arounder and came within a tenth of a point,” UA head coach Sarah Patterson said. “I’m extremely proud of this team and how they competed tonight.”
Alabama went into the meet without senior all-arounder Sarah DeMeo.
“Sarah missed a release move on the uneven bars during practice on Tuesday and had concussion symptoms,” Patterson said. “She was cleared to compete, but she did not feel 100 percent and so we felt holding her out was in her best interest and in the best interest of our team. It’s all about helping these ladies be successful in April. This allowed us an opportunity to use our depth and get others experience.”
Alabama started the night with a 4.225 on the uneven bars, led by senior Kim Jacob’s 9.875. Bailey started things off with a 9.85, a score matched by rookie Amanda Jetter. Jacob led the way again on the balance beam, anchoring the lineup with a 9.9, pushing Alabama to a 49.075 team score.
“We had people step in and step up throughout our lineup,” Patterson said. “We took a challenging situation and did a great job with it. Diandra went in the all-around for the time since her sophomore year and was outstanding.”
Milliner, who was competing in front of a large group of friends and family, won the all-around with a career-best 39.525 while Bailey went 39.350 to take second.
After back-to-back home meets, Alabama returns home for three home contests in a row, starting with No. 2 Florida on Feb. 28 at 7:30 p.m.
“Oklahoma is the No. 1 team in the nation this week and Florida will probably be No. 1 next week after the big score they put up tonight,” Patterson said. “I hope our fans will fill Coleman Coliseum next week and help our ladies take on the Gators.”
Tickets for the Tide's home meets and the SEC and NCAA Championships are on sale through the Alabama Ticket Office (205.348.2262) located in the lobby of Coleman Coliseum, and online at RollTide.com.
Fans can keep up with the Tide via Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube by following BamaGymnastics.
No. 6 Georgia Tops No. 10 Auburn, 196.875-196.100
AUBURN, Ala. - The sixth-ranked Georgia gymnastics team turned in its highest road score of the season and defeated No. 10 Auburn, 196.875-196.100, Friday night at Auburn Arena.
The Gym Dogs (4-4, 3-2 SEC) jumped out to an early lead and closed the meet by hitting all six beam routines to clinch their first road win of the season.
"I'm pleased overall and glad that we started strong and finished strong," UGA head coach Danna Durante said. "I'm proud of this group. They've been training hard in the gym the last two weeks, and they've been much more intentional as a team. This team competed strong and confident tonight."
The Gym Dogs opened the meet with a 49.5 on bars - their second-highest score away from home this season. Chelsea Davis placed first with a 9.95 in the anchor position, while Brandie Jay, Lindsey Cheek and Brittany Rogers added three 9.9s.
Georgia extended its lead to 98.725-98.125 with a 49.225 on vault in the second rotation. Jay and Cheek tied for first with a pair of back-to-back 9.9s.
UGA again stretched the lead with a 48.9 on floor in the third rotation, while Auburn had to count a fall on beam. Freshman Morgan Reynolds turned in a team-high 9.85.
The Gym Dogs closed the meet by hitting all six routines on beam to score a 49.250. Cheek led the team with a 9.875, while Rogers, Brown and Kaylan Earls turned in three 9.85s.
Jay tied her career-high on bars and her season-high on vault with a pair of 9.9s.
Georgia will return to action for the final SEC meet of the season March 1 against Arkansas.
Grable Ties Program Record As The Gymbacks Soared To New Heights
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Senior All-American Katherine Grable matched her own school record in the all-around of 39.725 on a night where she had a clean sweep of all five event titles for the first time in her career. Overall, the No. 13 University of Arkansas gymnastics team recorded the third-highest score in program history of 197.100 to defeat Kentucky with a 195.975.
Grable started her record night on the vault by tying the first of four career-best marks with a 9.95 to anchor the vault rotation. She then went on to the bars, where she also matched her career best of 9.90. On the beam, she recorded a 9.925 and put her with in a 9.95 to tie her school record. Finally, Grable would cap the meet with her fourth-straight score of 9.95 on the floor and tie former teammate Jaime Pisani’s record of 11 scores of 9.95 on the floor in her career and their shared record of 39.725 in the all-around.
The Razorbacks were able to set their season best score of 197.100 with a big help from a season-best floor rotation of 49.450, which is the second-best score in program history. Freshman Samantha Nelson started off the rotation with a career-best mark of 9.875 and followed by another career-best mark of 9.90 from sophomore Sydnie Dillard. Freshman Amanda Wellick and junior Stephani Canizaro each matched their career-best scores of 9.875 and 9.85, respectively. Senior Bailee Zumwalde would also add a 9.85 and Grable anchored the rotation with a 9.95.
Missouri Gymnastics Posts Banner Night Against George Washington
COLUMBIA, Mo. - Behind the sixth highest bars total in Missouri gymnastics history, the Tigers claimed a 195.725 to 193.700 meet victory Friday evening over the visiting George Washington Colonials. Along with their historic 49.300 effort on bars, the Tigers posted new season-highs on beam, floor and overall team score.
The Tigers began Friday evening on vault, and finished with a team total of 48.525. Freshman Alyson Heimsath posted a 9.700 score in the second slot, and was followed by a solid 9.800 score from junior Laura Kappler. The score for Kappler matched her previous personal best on the event, which she established at NC State earlier this year. Junior Rachel Updike rounded out Missouri's first rotation with an outstanding 9.925 score.
At the second rotation, Missouri moved to bars and it proved to be the Tigers most successful single event score of the season. Behind three new Tigers career-highs, the team finished with a 2014 bars best of 49.300. Sophomore Blair Elmore led off the lineup with a new personal best of 9.750. Up next, junior Briana Conkle posted a new career-high of her own with a 9.850 score. After only previous exhibitions on the event this season, freshman Sasha Sander made her lineup debut and posted an impressive 9.825. Sophomore Miranda Eubank finished with an excellent 9.875 score, and was then followed by a new career-high of 9.900 for junior Rebecca Johnson. Updike anchored the outstanding night on bars for Missouri, and recorded a 9.850.
Missouri headed to beam for their third rotation, and saw their first five gymnasts post scores of 9.725 or above. Senior Mackenzie McGill led off the Tigers lineup with a 9.775, and was followed by a solid 9.725 from Heimsath. Up third for the Tigers was Kappler, and the junior finished with a 9.750 score. Fresh off a new personal best on bars, Sander continued her standout night at the Hearnes with a new career-high of 9.825. Conkle rounded out the event for Missouri and posted a career-high of her own with a 9.725 score. The Tigers ended the event with a team total of 48.800, marking the 2014 season high score on the event.
The Tigers concluded the night on floor, and Heimsath led off for Missouri with a 9.750 score. Kappler was up next for Missouri and posted a new career-high of 9.800 for the home team. Conkle continued the upward trend for the Tigers, and finished with a 9.825 score. Columbia, Mo. native Angie Kern once again delivered on floor for Missouri and posted a new career-high of 9.875. Freshman Anna Bowers ended the night for the Tigers and produced a 9.850 score. As a team, the Tigers lineup produced a 49.100 team total, marking the highest floor total of the 2014 campaign.
The post meet awards section was full of Tigers gymnasts, as Updike won the vault title (9.925), Johnson claimed the bars title (9.900), Sander claimed a win on beam (9.825), and Kern picked up the victory on floor (9.875). It was the 14th event win on the season for Updike, the second for Johnson, and the first career wins for the freshmen duo.
Missouri travels to St. Charles, Mo. this Sunday, Feb. 23 for a tri-meet with Lindenwood University and the Air Force Academy. The competition at the Robert F. Hyland Arena begins at 2:00 p.m. CT and can be followed online at www.lindenwoodlions.com.
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