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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Two weeks ago, the Gators posted a 197.775, the

highest team total in the country at the time.

UF took the nation’s best score up a notch Friday

night. 

Dynamic performances from its two all-around

competitors and supporting cast helped No. 4 Florida (7-1, 3-1

Southeastern Conference) defeat No. 14 LSU (2-7, 2-3)

197.850-196.850 in its annual Link to Pink meet in

the O’Connell Center. 

The 197.850 is Florida’s fifth-highest total in

school history and gives UF two of the nation’s top team scores in

its past three meets.

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“I wasn’t even paying attention (to the score), and I

don’t think any of the girls were,” junior Randy Stageberg said.

“So when you hear it, it’s even that much better because you’re not

expecting it.” 

Junior Ashanée Dickerson scored a 39.60 to win her

second all-around title of the season in a performance that was

almost deja vu of two weeks ago. Dickerson also scored a 39.60

against top-ranked Arkansas in Florida’s home quad-meet win on Jan.

27. 

“She is just so calm,” coach Rhonda Faehn said. “She

worked really hard this week, especially on her landings and her

polish, and I think that it was wonderful to see that in her

performance [Friday night]. She’s a machine.”

After losing her balance on a vault landing and

scoring a 9.725 early, junior Marissa King rebounded with an

all-around total of 39.40 to share third with LSU’s Rheagan

Courville.  

“I went on bars and was like ‘forget what happened on

vault, start new, start fresh,’” King said.

Freshman Kytra Hunter impressed Friday night in her

first collegiate meet not competing as an all-arounder.

She scored a career high and national best with a

9.975 on floor exercise.

Hunter also recorded a 9.925 to tie for the balance

beam title with Courville, who edged out Hunter for the most recent

SEC Freshman of the Week honor.

In addition, Hunter placed third on vault (9.9). 

Sophomore Alaina Johnson tallied a 9.95 on vault to

win the event title, while Courville came in second with a

9.925. 

Four UF gymnasts – Dickerson, King, Johnson and

sophomore Mackenzie Caquatto – tied with a 9.90 to win the uneven

bars title. The victory is Caquatto’s third consecutive bars

win.

For the night, Florida won at least a share of all

five individual titles. 

After suffering its first loss of the season to

defending national champion Alabama last weekend in Tuscaloosa,

Ala., UF proved it learned from its mistakes and avoided falling

into an early hole by scoring a season high on vault (49.40). 

In front of 8,112, the seventh-highest home crowd in

program history, the Gators carried momentum from their first

rotation and posted their second-best season totals on bars and

beam.

To finish off the match, UF notched its highest score

of year on floor (49.625). 

“They were all contributors in the success [Friday

night],” Faehn said. “They see that’s important that every little

bit adds up.”

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