Pendleton's perfection sparks win
Published: Saturday, February 1, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 31, 2003 at 11:48 p.m.
Florida gymnast Erin Pendleton had a goal to score a perfect 10 on the uneven bars this season.
Florida Gator gymnast Erin Pendleton scored a perfect 10 on the uneven bars Friday night. The only other time a Gators' gymnast was perfect on bars was in 1996, when Kristen Guise and Amy Myerson both scored 10s on the event.
She met that goal Friday night.
Scoring just the third 10 on bars in school history, Pendleton led the No. 7 Gators to a school-record team score on the event and third-highest team total of 196.950 to win a quad meet in front of 2,611 at the O'Connell Center.
"Everyone did great from the start and it just built on each other," said Pendleton, ranked fifth in the country on bars. "You're always hoping to do your best and tonight it just happened."
The only other time a UF gymnast was perfect on bars was in 1996, when Kristen Guise and Amy Myerson both scored 10s on the event.
Florida, the top-ranked bars team in the country, set the school record with a 49.675 team score on the event, passing the previous mark of 49.50.
That also is the country's top bars score this season, passing UCLA's 49.625 total from earlier this season.
The score raised the UF seasonal average from 49.283 to 49.381. Kristen Stucky (9.975) and Lindsey Miner (9.875) also scored career bests on bars.
"I say to them, `You're the best bar team in the country,' (after the routines)," said UF assistant coach Randy Lane, who works primarily on bars. "I really feel that when you say that as a group and as a whole, it really puts their mind into a confidence mode. I think it shows. When they compete, they're confident."
Pendleton scored the third 10 on bars this season. UCLA's Jamie Dantzscher and Michelle Kasuga of Denver also had perfect routines this season.
"You concentrate on one skill at a time every time," said Pendleton, who also won the Ernestine Weaver Award for the most entertaining routine of the meet. "Coming towards the end, all you think about is sticking that dismount."
The high bars scored lead the Gators (10-2) to an easy victory against No. 10 Washington (194.650), George Washington (190.450) and Rhode Island (188.525).
"I think it went great, however, we know as a coaching staff and the athletes know as well that's still just the tip of the iceberg," said first-year UF coach Rhonda Faehn. "That was much improved upon last week's meet and the meets before that. That was great for them to be able to see that they almost scored a 197 with still room for improvement on vault and on floor. But I think it was exciting that they had the energy and the fire that carried throughout the entire meet."
But bars was not the only strong event.
Florida matched a school record on the balance beam with a team total of 49.350. Stucky scored a career-best 9.95 to share the title with Washington's Stacy Wong. This is the first season Stucky has competed on beam since knee injuries have limited her to bars her first two seasons.
"I felt like warmups were a little bit off, but obviously I felt on (during the routine)," Stucky said. "I just had a really great night."
Also notching a career-best on beam was Erinn Dooley, who scored a 9.925. The lowest score the Gators had to count toward the team total was Alecia Ingram's 9.80.
"It was really nice to see that Alecia came back with confidence, especially since she really wasn't happy with her performance last week," Faehn said. "She went out there and nailed a great routine. And the same with Kara (Waterhouse) after falling last weekend; she hit a great routine as well."
The Gators totaled a season-best 48.975, one-tenth better than the previous season high, on the vault.
Freshmen Amanda Stroud (9.825) and Sherie Owens (9.75) both scored career bests on the vault, while Miner had a season-high 9.9 on her handspring front pike with a half twist.
On floor, Florida totaled a 48.950. Miner had the top UF score with a 9.90 for her routine.
Washington's Emily Pritchard won the all-around with a 39.325 total. Miner was second at 39.050.
Doris Yon can be reached at (352) 374-5052 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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