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Tuesday, March 21, 2023

After notching their first win of the season last week, the Gators are out to prove just how good they can be.

No. 4 Florida (1-1, 1-0 Southeastern Conference) hits the road to take on No. 12 Kentucky (3-1, 1-0 SEC) at Memorial Coliseum.

It’s the Gators’ first SEC road meet, and they hope to come away with their first road win of the season after opening the year with a loss at Oklahoma.

“It’s just another chance to go out there and show everyone what we’re made of,” freshman Randy Stageberg said. “There’s no one out there who can touch us if we do what we know we’re capable of doing.”

The victory over Arkansas has given UF confidence as it moves forward with the season. But a victory on the road against Kentucky will boost Florida’s confidence even more.

“We’re excited for this to be an away meet,” senior Maranda Smith said. “We want to prove to ourselves we can get a high team score in an away situation, and not just at home.”

In their second meet, the Gators improved their scores on  the uneven bars, balance beam, floor exercises and total team score.

The team has continued to work on the minor details to continue improving, like sticking landings, jumps on floor routines, handstands on bars and all-around performance.

“We’ve proven that we have the skills,” Smith said. “Now we just need to put those tiny details in to get those 9.95s instead of a 9.9 or 9.85.”

Last week, the Gators had some mistakes in the middle of their lineups, and coach Rhonda Faehn hopes the team can eliminate those errors.

The Gators know they are going to have to come into Kentucky comfortable and confident.

The team will have to adjust to the water-weighted bars that Kentucky, and most other schools, use. The bars aren’t drilled into the ground and are bouncier.

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Faehn said the team is familiar with the bars and it shouldn’t make a difference.

“They know how to adjust, we’re just making sure they’re prepared mentally,” Faehn said.

For the Gators, that mental preparation combined with the physical work on details they have gone through this week has added to their confidence.

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