Perfect 10 highlights UF win over Missouri


Florida junior Mackenzie Caquatto competes on the uneven bars against Missouri at the Stephen C. O'Connell center on Friday in Gainesville.

Matt Stamey/Staff photographer
Published: Friday, January 18, 2013 at 11:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, January 19, 2013 at 12:31 a.m.

The season-high crowd of 5,453 who came to the O'Connell Center for Friday night's Southeastern Conference meet between No. 3 Florida and SEC newcomer Missouri witnessed perfection.

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Florida junior Mackenzie Caquatto competes on the uneven bars against Missouri at the Stephen C. O'Connell center on Friday in Gainesville.

Matt Stamey/Staff photographer

Facts

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What: Link to Pink meet
Who: Auburn
When: Friday at 7 p.m.
Where: O'Connell Center

Behind junior All-American Mackenzie Caquatto's perfect 10 on the uneven bars and an exhilarating all-around effort by senior All-American Ashanee Dickerson, the third-ranked Gators downed the Tigers 197.300-194.625 to move to 2-1, 1-1 on the season, while the Tigers now stand at 0-2, 0-2.

The team mark was a season-high for UF and came just one week after the Gators dropped their SEC dual-meet opener on the road to LSU.

“It was a really great night,” head coach Rhonda Faehn said. “I love that they took last week's competition very seriously and turned it around in our training and had a different attitude of fight tonight for everything. There were mistakes here or there and there were inconsistencies and wobbles, but no one really let it just completely affect the overall performance for everybody.”

There were almost multiple 10s for the Gators. On UF's opening event, Dickerson came close to perfection as well, bringing the crowd to its feet with chants of “Ten, ten,” before she settled for a collegiate-best mark of 9.975 in the vault that is now tied with 11 others for No. 2 all-time in the event at Florida.

Caquatto, however, gave them the answer they wanted minutes later on UF's second rotation, and the Gators never looked back. Her mark was the seventh perfect score on the bars in program history.

“That was really a great feeling,” she said. “I was actually surprised. When you're up there, you just try the best you can do, but when I stuck the dismount, I knew it was one of the best routines that I'd done. I'll never forget it.”

The Gators posted season-high scores as a team in three of the four events, topped by a 49.60 score on the bars that is tied for the fifth-best mark in program history. They also set season-high marks on the balance beam (49.175) and the floor exercise (49.20).

“The energy stayed up, and that's the most important thing,” Faehn said. “It's still early in the season, and we are still experimenting with lineups. We're putting other people in. We're trying to put out a little bit of difficulty here and there, and with that, there's going to be kind of what I would call a roller coaster because you're not quite sure what's going to happen.

“It's important that they learn not to give up and to fight for every little thing so that when the lineups do get set and they get in their rhythm, it becomes almost automatic.”

No one seemed more energized than Dickerson, who punched her fists in the air after sticking her vault landing and then went on to add the floor exercise and all-around titles, bringing her career total to 63.

“Yes, that (vault) definitely gave me a boost, and then seeing Macko get a 10 just made it even better,” Dickerson said. “We just went out there and had fun.

“We fought through everything. Rhonda was telling us from last week that we didn't fight as much, and I felt that we fought a lot more for landings and trying not to make many mistakes this week, and it just worked out.”

Freshman Bridget Sloan claimed the balance beam with a 9.90 mark to give the Gators a sweep of the meet's titles.

Other UF highlights included a collegiate-best 9.925 on the bars from sophomore All-American Kytra Hunter as well as a collegiate-best 9.80 by sophomore Kiersten Wang on the floor.

Junior All-American Alaina Johnson also performed her new floor routine for the first time in front of the home crowd and scored an impressive 9.875 to finish runner-up to Dickerson.

UF hosts its seventh annual Link to Pink meet Friday at 7 p.m. when the Gators host Auburn.

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