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Friday, March 01, 2024

Florida got off to a strong start on the uneven bars Friday night against N.C. State and used it to propel the team to its fourth-consecutive victory, 195.475-194.450.

The Gators registered the five best bar scores of the meet, including a pair of 9.85s by senior Amanda Castillo and freshman Marissa King, who both won their first events of the season.

“I’ve never really considered myself a bar worker,” King said. “But to get my first win there is encouraging.”

The quick start on bars helped No. 3 Florida (4-1, 3-0 Southeastern Conference) jump out to an early .700-point lead after one rotation, which was enough to hold off No. 22 N.C. State (3-2) in Raleigh, N.C.

“We hit on our handstands, and the aggressiveness was there on bars,” UF coach Rhonda Faehn said. “We carried that momentum moving forward in the meet and had an awesome vault as well.”

The Gators implemented changes to the lineup and a few routines against the Wolfpack, hoping to put together a higher team total.

A couple of those changes paid dividends Friday night, as sophomore Elizabeth Mahlich improved her bar score with a 9.80, and King tallied another 9.775 on balance beam, which Faehn said was King’s best performance of the season.

Freshman Randy Stageberg also recorded a 9.80 in her return to floor exercises after missing last week’s LSU meet due to an illness.

Not all of the tweaking Florida did to its routines paid off, though. Freshman Ashanée Dickerson scored a 9.20 on bars after missing on one of her release moves.

“We were all a bit shocked because we’ve never seen her do that,” Faehn said. “She is human, though.”

The meet marked the first time this year Dickerson did not finished in the top two in the all-around.

Instead, N.C. State’s Brooke Barr took home the all-around title with a 38.925 and King was second with a 38.850.

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Freshman Liz Green also took home her third-straight beam title with a 9.825.

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