Florida gymnastics books trip to NCAA meet

Florida gymnast Alaina Johnson captured the all-around championship at the NCAA University Park Regional on Saturday.

Matt Stamey/Staff photographer/File
Published: Saturday, April 5, 2014 at 8:51 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, April 5, 2014 at 8:51 p.m.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The top-ranked Florida gymnastics team earned the opportunity to defend its NCAA championship after winning the NCAA University Park Regional on Saturday.

The Gators scored a 197.05 to win their third consecutive regional title. The top two teams in regional competition advance to the NCAA Championships and Penn State claimed the other berth at 196.725. Oregon State was third at 196.525, followed by Kentucky (195.925), New Hampshire (195.025) and Maryland (194.525).

It wasn’t a clean meet for the Gators, as the team was forced to count a fall for the first time this season, as two Gators recorded misses on balance beam. Florida also had to count a stumbled landing on floor toward its total.

But the Gators opened and closed the competition with meet-high totals of 49.55 on both uneven bars and vault. The vault total stands as the Gators’ top tally on the event this season.

The Gators claimed at least a share of each event title. Senior Alaina Johnson won the all-around title at 39.55 and shared the balance beam win (9.85). Sophomore Bridget Sloan took the vault title (9.95) and shared the uneven bars win with senior teammate Mackenzie Caquatto with the same mark. Junior Kytra Hunter was the floor champion at 9.95.

Florida advances to Birmingham, Ala., for the April 18-20 national championships. The 12-team NCAA Championships' field competes April 18 in two semifinal sessions of six teams each. The top three teams in each session advance to the April 19 NCAA Super Six, where the team champion is determined.

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