UF enters SEC meet as top team

Florida's Alaina Johnson competes on the floor during last week's home meet against Utah. Johnson was the overall winner as UF won the meet. The Gators compete today at the Southeastern Conference Championships in Duluth, Ga.

Brad McClenny/Staff photographer
Published: Friday, March 23, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, March 24, 2012 at 12:29 a.m.

DULUTH, Ga. — The No. 1 Florida gymnastics team begins the championship portion of its season today at the highly competitive Southeastern Conference Championships in The Arena at Gwinnett.


UF gymnastics

What: No. 1 Florida (11-1) at SEC meet
Where: The Arena at Gwinnett, Duluth, Ga.
When: Today, 4 p.m.

Five of the nation's top-10 teams (No. 1 Florida, No. 3 Alabama, No. 5 Georgia, No. T-8 LSU and No. 10 Arkansas) are among the seven-team SEC field. This is the 15th time a league team has brought the No. 1 ranking into the SEC meet and the third time UF has brought the top ranking (2007, 2011, 2012).

Of the nation's top 25 team scores posted this season, 12 came from SEC programs, including seven of the top 10. In addition, an all-around total 39.60 or above has been posted 22 times this season among the nation's collegiate gymnasts. Of the 13 different gymnasts represented on the list, a SEC gymnast owns 15 of the marks on the list.

Three different teams have claimed the last four SEC meet titles. Alabama, the defending NCAA champion, claimed the 2011 and 2009 league titles. The Gators (11-1, 5-1 SEC) picked up their seventh league crown in Jacksonville on March 27, 2010. The last time the meet was held in Duluth, Ga., the final result was the closest in the meet's history as Georgia won the 2008 title with a 197.35 while Florida and Alabama tied at 197.325. The 0.025 margin is the smallest margin allowed in the sport.

Florida used the nation's second-highest score of 2012 to end its regular season last Friday with a 197.90-196.475 win over No. 7 Utah. A Gator claimed at least a share of every event title Friday.

Sophomore Alaina Johnson led a trio of Gator All-Americans who swept the top three all-around spots - all with totals which rank among the nation's top seven of the season. Johnson equaled her collegiate-best of 39.675 to take her second win of the season. Also turning in a collegiate-best was junior Marissa King, who was second 39.65.

Johnson shared the vault win at 9.90 with a pair of Utes. She and Dickerson shared the uneven bars title (9.95) and Johnson also teamed up with King to top the balance beam standings (9.925). King and freshman Kytra Hunter paired up to take the floor exercise win with marks of 9.95.

At the 2011 SEC meet in Birmingham, Ala., Florida was second to Alabama, 197.225-196.975. Dickerson claimed a share of the league's floor exercise title with her mark of 9.925.

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