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Sunday, April 21, 2024

UF gymnast Corey Hartung continued her dominance on the vault against Arkansas on Friday night.

Hartung led the No. 3 Gators in their 196.7-195.75 win against the No. 9 Razorbacks in front of 5,157 fans in the O'Connell Center.

Aided by a 9.925 winning vault score, Hartung won her second all-around title of the season and ninth of her collegiate career.

The vault win was Hartung's third in as many competitions. She is currently ranked No. 1 in the event, but she did not compete in the event against Auburn.

Despite her fast start, Hartung is focused on improving every meet in order to compete at her highest level when the NCAA championships come around.

"I am just determined every meet," Hartung said. "I make it very important for me to perform my best and do one event at a time. I can't get ahead of myself."

Friday's win improved UF's overall record against the Razorbacks to 16-0.

Although the Gators did not have any counted falls, they did suffer one when Nicola Willis slipped on the uneven bars.

This was the second for Willis in three weeks; however, she was suffering from a cold and had to be pulled from the floor and vault before the start of the meet.

Besides the fall, the Gators struggled to get the high scores they expected on the uneven parallel bars, and coach Rhonda Faehn is considering switching things up.

"We feel very confident that this will get worked out," Faehn said. "We're possibly going to change the lineup order and have Maranda (Smith) start first and have [Willis] go second."

Smith performed second this week and was able to turn in a solid performance to get UF going after Willis' slipup.

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The Gators claimed every event title other than the bars but still feel as though they didn't perform their best.

"I have to say there were definitely some great, positive points in the competition, but I still feel we are making little mistakes," Faehn said. "They're little mental mistakes, little errors here and there, that are really adding to overall not get us where we want to in the score."

Top gymnasts Melanie Sinclair and Amanda Castillo were two of the Gators who suffered from small blunders. Their scores did not show their problems.

Sinclair finished second in the all-around, and Castillo had a first-place finish in the floor exercise.

If the Gators are to compete for a national championship, these mistakes will need to be fixed in the next few weeks.

"I let the athletes know, 'Hey, we're four weeks in, now is the time we are going to have to really get rid of those little errors,'" Faehn said.

UF will be looking to find the best lineup for a championship during the next week or so, when it will head to Kentucky to take on the Wildcats.

"When we get further on down the line for LSU and Utah and those competitions going into SECs, we will have that set lineup of all of our top competitors," Faehn said. "That is where the inconsistencies and all the little mental errors will diminish."

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