Gymnastics wins SEC opener

UF junior Ashanee Dickerson matched her season-best of 9.90 in the vault on Friday in the Gators' SEC opener in Lexington, Ky. UF is now 3-0 to start the year.

Matt Stamey/Staff photographer/file
Published: Friday, January 20, 2012 at 11:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, January 21, 2012 at 12:07 a.m.

LEXINGTON, Ky. — The No. 8 Florida gymnastics team upped its season-best total to 196.275 on Friday night to open its Southeastern Conference season with a win at Kentucky in front of a Memorial Coliseum crowd of 1,697. The Wildcats posted a total of 194.075.

Freshman Kytra Hunter claimed at least a share of four event titles Friday, including collecting her third consecutive all-around crown with a collegiate-best 39.475. The all-around win streak makes her the first Gator since Ashanee Dickerson in 2010 to open their premiere collegiate season with wins in the first three meets.

A late addition to the all-around, Hunter stepped into the floor exercise lineup after the three-minute touch warm-up when fellow freshman Rachel Spicer was held out of the event due to a sore calf.

“We weren't going to put Kytra in on floor. But one of her teammates was a little sore so Kytra said she could go and just did an awesome job,” Florida coach Rhonda Faehn said.

Hunter was one of two Gators to post marks of 9.875 to share the meet's uneven bars title against Kentucky (2-3, 0-2 SEC). The bars win was the first for Hunter and first for junior All-American Marissa King since 2010, as she was out of most of UF's bar lineups last year due to a torn pectoral muscle which limited her preseason training. Sophomore All-American Alaina Johnson completed the Gator sweep with her bar mark of 9.85. Florida (3-0, 1-0 SEC) opened up the meet with a 49.175 bar set — just a fraction off the season-best set last weekend.

The Gators' season-best vault total went to 49.275 Friday as Florida's final two posted marks of 9.9 or better. Hunter used Florida's season-best of 9.925 to claim her first vault win as a Gator and Dickerson matched her season-best of 9.90 set a week ago to take second. Senior Nicole Ellis finished the Florida sweep of the event with her third consecutive vault score of 9.85.

Florida's King and Dickerson shared the evening's floor exercise win with identical marks of 9.85. Hunter took third at 9.825 as the Gators turned in a floor total of 49.00. The Gators completed their sweep of the top three spots on each apparatus with their performance on the balance beam. Florida went six-for-six on their final event, led by Hunter's collegiate-best 9.85.

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