A difficult adjustment

Published: Saturday, January 8, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 7, 2005 at 11:57 p.m.
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Florida's Breanne King scored a 9.850 on the beam at the Super Six Challenge at the O'Connell Center.

MICHAEL C. WEIMAR/The Gainesvillle Sun
The second-largest crowd in Florida gymnastics history roared as the 2005 Gators were introduced Friday night. It was a scene sophomore Breanne King won't soon forget.
"When I heard the crowd as we came out I got chills," she said.
But a night that began with so much promise turned into a mixed bag for the Gators.
Using a higher level of difficulty on its routines and several freshmen in its lineup, No. 6 Florida finished second in the Super Six Challenge before 8,119 fans at the O'Connell Center. Second-ranked Georgia captured the title with a 194.850, claiming their fourth Super Six title in the event's six seasons.
The Gators scored a 194.450, which was the lowest score in coach Rhonda Faehn's three-year tenure at Florida. However, on this opening night, scores were very low across the board.
Fourth-ranked Alabama finished third with a 193.875, No. 13 Arizona finished fourth with a 193.425, No. 19 Penn State finished fifth with a 193.000 while No. 17 Iowa finished sixth with a 190.725.
The Gators finished with a 48.750 on beam, 48.050 on floor and 48.950 on vault and a 48.700 on bars.
"I am not disappointed by the score," Faehn said. "We are more excited about the potential we can achieve. Some of the judges told us how phenomenal, and how great, (the Gators) look."
Florida's score, low by its recent standards, was the result of Faehn increasing the difficulty level on many of her gymnasts' routines. Faehn hopes once the Gators master those routines, they can compete for a national title by the end of this season.
"We know this team is really talented and probably the strongest team Florida has ever had," Faehn said. "Tonight, we put some new routines in. We had some really good spots and some really bad spots."
Georgia coach Suzanne Yoculan said the Bulldogs won the match because they simplified their routines.
"Florida had more difficulty and we felt like it was more important to stick our routines," she said. "But Florida has an excellent team, one of the best Florida teams I've seen."
Still, Florida had to count three falls on the night, and might have edged out Georgia if it had had one less.
"I'm just glad we have Florida in Athens and not here," Yoculan said, referring to the teams' Feb. 4 meeting.
Nevertheless, there were several bright moments for Florida.
Sophomore Samantha Lutz won the bars title with a 9.875 while King won the beam with a 9.850. King appeared to be the most poised Gator on this night, scoring a 9.800 on vault and bars in addition to a 9.750 on floor.
"Once I heard the crowd, it calmed me down and I knew I could do it," King said.
Alabama's Ashley Miles won the All-Around with a 39.350 while King finished second with a 39.200. Senior Orley Szmuch finished sixth in the All-Around while freshman Ashley Reed, of Davie, finished tied for seventh.
Another freshman, Tiffany Murry of Orlando, dazzled the crowd with a 9.875 on floor and 9.80 on vault.
"It was amazing," Murry said. "The fans out there were really cheering you on and really made you want to go out and compete."

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