Gator Gymnasts Second at Super Six Challenge

Published: Saturday, January 8, 2005 at 10:24 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, January 8, 2005 at 10:24 a.m.

The No. 6 University of Florida gymnastics team took second in the sixth edition of the Super Six Challenge, held Friday night at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center in front of a home crowd of 8,119, the second largest crowd in UF gymnastics history.

The No. 2 University of Georgia GymDogs won the meet with a score of 194.850, while the Gator team earned a 194.450, their lowest Super Six score since Head Coach Rhonda Faehn took over in 2003. Alabama was third at 193.875, Arizona followed at 193.425, followed by Penn State (193.000) and Iowa (190.725).

Georgia dominated the meet from their opening rotation on floor exercises. The Gators scoring started to improve as the meet progressed but the team suffered falls during the floor exercise and uneven bar rotations that put them just 0.4 points short of their first Super Six Challenge win.

"I'm not disappointed in the score at all," Faehn said. "We are more excited to see the potential of what we can achieve. We definitely didn't water anything down and we did our hardest skills possible."

"If we were peaking right now we'd be in trouble in April," Faehn added.

The Gators opened the meet on the balance beam turning in a score of 48.750, the second highest overall. Sophomore Breanne King led the event with a 9.85 and earned her second collegiate balance beam title.

The Gators then competed on floor exercises, experiencing two falls that were added to the team total. Freshman Tiffany Murray and sophomore Savannah Evans led the team, both posting a 9.875 and placing fourth overall.

On the vault, the Gators started to gain back some momentum. Florida turned in the highest team vault score of 48.950. Four gymnasts - King, Murray, Evans, and freshman Ashley Reed - scored a 9.8.

The Gators moved on to the uneven bars with a chance to win the meet but suffered falls that didn't earn the Gators enough points to win. Senior Orley Szmuch and junior Sherie Owens both scored a 9.825 and sophomore Samantha Lutz turned in 9.875, the highest individual bars score.

Alabama's Ashley Miles scored the highest individual vault score of 9.9 and shared first on the floor exercise with Tide teammate Alexis Brion and Georgia's Katie Heenan with scores of 9.9. Miles also took first in the All-Around competition with a score of 39.350. King placed second in the All-Around with 39.2.

Up next, the Gators will travel to Baton Rouge to compete against the No. 8 LSU Tigers on Jan. 14 at 7 p.m. in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center. The Tigers team won the NCAA regional team title in 2004 and had their 2005 season opening meet Jan 7. against Michigan State.

"LSU is a very strong and talented team as well, but our focus is not going to be on LSU. We have to get back into the gym this week," Faehn said.

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