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Sunday, June 23, 2024

In a high-scoring affair with the Crimson Tide, the

Gators ultimately fell into a hole too deep to climb out.

The Tide’s depth and home momentum proved to be too

much for UF on Friday night, as No. 3 Florida (6-1, 2-1

Southeastern Conference) came up short against defending national

champion No. 6 Alabama (6-0, 3-0 SEC)

"s1">197.725-196.900 in the Coleman Coliseum in Tuscaloosa,

Ala.

To this date, UF hasn’t won a dual meet in Tuscaloosa

since 1979.

“It was not our best competition,” coach Rhonda Faehn

said. “It certainly wasn’t the same energy or the same execution as

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last week. We were a little bit flatter and a little bit more

sluggish, but there were definitely some great areas, some great

things.” 

While the team score of 196.90 is the second-highest

total for Florida this season, behind last week’s nation-leading

197.775 against top-ranked Arkansas, No. 24 Maryland and

Bridgeport, UF couldn’t match the intensity of an Alabama team that

was firing on all cylinders. 

The Crimson Tide, the No. 1 vault team in the country

with a 49.333 average, began the meet on vault, while Florida took

uneven bars. A 10 by Alabama’s Diandra Milliner helped propel the

Tide to an early 49.600-49.225 lead after the first rotation. 

From that point on, Florida struggled to eliminate

the deficit, as the Tide only added to its advantage throughout the

remainder of the meet.  

“Alabama did a great job tonight; there’s no doubt

about that,” Faehn said. "They’re obviously a very strong vault

team. That was fortunate for them that they started off on a strong

event for them, and it helped carry the momentum.”

Although Florida suffered its first loss of the

season, two UF gymnasts picked up at least a share of two

individual titles Friday. 

Scoring a 9.9, sophomore Mackenzie Caquatto won her

second consecutive bars title, while junior Ashanée Dickerson won

balance beam in a four-way tie with three other Alabama gymnasts at

9.9. 

Freshman Kytra Hunter scored a 39.45 to share second

place in the all-around category with the Crimson Tide’s Ashley

Sledge. Sophomore Alaina Johnson came in third with an all-around

total of 39.375. 

Alabama’s Ashley Priess claimed the all-around title

with a 39.55. 

While UF didn’t appear shaken or rattled by an

intimidating Coleman Coliseum crowd of 12,457, Faehn said she

thought her team looked a little tired Friday night. 

“It’s a tough environment,” Faehn said. “I’m proud of

the way they competed. They’re excited to get back in the gym to

make the corrections of little things we did [Friday night] that we

know we could do a lot better.”

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