UF GYMNASTICS

Top-ranked Tide beat Gators


Published: Saturday, January 31, 2004 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, January 31, 2004 at 1:01 a.m.
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Florida's Kristen Stucky competes in the uneven bars portion of the Gators' meet against Alabama in Coleman Coliseum in Tuscaloosa, Ala., on Friday night. The Gators opened the meet with a season-best team total of 49.35 on the uneven bars.

JASON GETZ/N.Y. Times Regional Newspaper Group
TUSCALOOSA, Ala.- The No. 1 University of Alabama (8-0, 2-0 SEC) defeated No. 4 University of Florida (8-2, 1-1 SEC) 197.925-196.175 Friday night in front of a Coleman Coliseum crowd of 11,380.
The Gators opened the meet with a season-best team total of 49.35 on the uneven bars.
Senior Erin Pendleton led the Gators on the event with her third-place mark of 9.90.
Two Gators turned in marks of 9.875 - Erinn Dooley and Kristen Stucky.
Friday's bar performance was the first of the season for Dooley and her mark of 9.875 is a collegiate-best.
"We were much better on bars, . . . but we still need to work on sticking the landings," coach Rhonda Faehn said. "But in general, it was a good bars set for us.
"Orley tried her double-layout on floor tonight for the first time. To try a skill that difficult was huge for her and she will only get better with it as she gains confidence with it," she said.
Florida tallied a 49.15 on the vault on the next rotation.
Two Gators posted season-best marks of 9.875 on the event - Orley Szmuch and Katie Rue.
"Katie Rue nailed her landing - that was the best vault she's done all year," Faehn said. "Orley's vault was the best she's done this season, and Breanne also stuck her vault as well."
The Tide led the meet by .575 at the midway point of the meet after posting season-best totals on both vault (49.575) and uneven bars (49.50).
Freshman Breanne King led UF on floor with her collegiate-best mark of 9.875.
The Gators turned in a total of 49.175 on floor. Dooley also matched her season-best of 9.85 on the event.
Two Gators competed double layouts on their opening tumbling passes Friday - Rue (9.80) and Szmuch (9.825).
It was the first time in her collegiate career that Szmuch competed the double-layout.
Dooley shared the meet's top honors on the balance beam with Alabama's Rice at 9.925.
Rue was third with her collegiate-best of 9.90.
For the first time this season, the Gators were forced to count a fall toward their team total as two Gators recorded falls on the balance beam.
"Balance beam was uncharacteristic tonight," Faehn said. "We made some mistakes that you don't want to see happen, but when they do happen, you need to learn from it."
The Tide claimed the meet title after posting totals of 49.25 on beam and a season-best 49.60 on floor exercise.
Alabama sophomore Ashley Miles, the defending NCAA vault champion, led the Tide sweep of the vault with a perfect score of 10.0.
She also led the Tide's floor sweep with her winning mark of 9.975. Alabama senior Jeana Rice won the uneven bars with a 9.95 and the all-around with a season-best 39.70.
Dooley, competing in her first all-around competition of the season, was runner-up at 39.45. Szmuch took third at 39.40.
UF coach Rhonda Faehn said the team showed some bright spots Friday.
"There were some new things or improvements that we saw tonight - especially on vault. I thought the team did a really good job on floor - probably the best so far this year," Faehn said.
"We are going to use (mistakes on the beam) as fuel for training this week to get them prepared and aggressive for our home meet against Georgia."
Up next, the Gators continue SEC action when the team plays host to No. 2 Georgia on Feb. 6. Meet time is set for 7 p.m. in the O'Connell Center.

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