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Friday, September 29, 2023

King rebounds from disappointing performance with historic day

Twenty-four hours after having the worst all-around performance of her career, Florida freshman Marissa King had a historic day for the Gators.

In the Super Six on Friday, King made mistakes on all four of her routines, but it was a different story Saturday during the NCAA Championships Individual Event Finals.

The four-time All-American scored a 9.825 on vault and a 9.8875 on floor, setting and tying the best finishes for a freshman in Florida history.

King’s vault score was good enough for a fourth-place finish. The previous best finish was eighth by Chantelle Tousek at the 2004 NCAA Championships in Los Angeles.

Her floor score earned her a tie for fifth place with Alabama’s Morgan Dennis, and tied former Florida gymnast Elfie Schlegel for the best floor finish by a freshman in school history.

“I was really bummed about yesterday, luckily, to have another opportunity to compete … was phenomenal,” King said.

King wasn’t the only Florida freshman to excel in the individual competition, though.

Ashanée Dickerson scored a 9.8 on vault and finished sixth, which is the second-best finish ever for a Florida freshman.

On floor, Dickerson marked the fourth-best finish for a freshman in team history when she tied for tenth with Arkansas’ Jaime Pisani (9.85).

Two other Gators were in action Saturday, with seniors Maranda Smith and Amanda Castillo competing for an individual title on the uneven bars.

Smith (9.9) finished in a tie for fifth with Casey Jo Magee of Arkansas and Castillo finished in a three-way tie for eighth with a 9.8625.

Castillo’s bar performance made her the first Florida gymnast to ever compete in every individual event final in a career.

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“To step up like she did for us yesterday… and then to nail her bar routine and become an All-American on bars…that was something really special and she couldn’t have asked for more,” UF coach Rhonda Faehn said.

A pair of gymnasts from UCLA also won individual event titles to go with their team title won Friday. Vanessa Zamarripa (9.925) took home the individual vault title and Brittani McCullough (9.9375) won on floor.

Stanford’s Carly Janiga (9.9375) won the bars title and LSU’s Susan Jackson (9.9625) finished first on beam.

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