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Sunday, June 23, 2024

On a night when the Gators loaded up the lineups with their four main all-arounders, Kytra Hunter dazzled the most.  

Hunter recorded an all-around score of 39.675, topping sophomore Alaina Johnson’s 39.625 last weekend against Auburn, as No. 1 Florida (9-1, 5-1 Southeastern Conference) defeated No. 3 Georgia (5-3, 4-2 SEC) 197.525-196.825 in the O’Connell Center on Friday night. 

“I can’t say enough about how incredible [Hunter] is, not just as a talented athlete, but as a strong mental competitor,” coach Rhonda Faehn said. “She’s very motivated, and it has showed in her performances.”

A Florida freshman gymnast has tallied a 39.675 against the Bulldogs in each of the last two seasons. Last year, Johnson pulled off the same feat at Georgia.  

After resting from uneven bars and floor exercise last weekend, Hunter scored a 9.95 on vault and floor to pick up the individual titles. She now has a team-leading 15 event titles for the season. 

“When I competed at Auburn (last Friday), I was just pretending that I did compete all four events just to keep my body moving,” Hunter said. 

Refreshed after sitting out two events against Auburn, junior Marissa King also notched two event titles against Georgia. 

After stumbling early on vault with a 9.775, King scored a 9.95 on balance beam and a 9.925 on bars to win both events. She also tied for third as an all-around competitor with Georgia’s Kat Ding (39.45). 

King has now claimed five beam titles in 2012.

Junior Ashanée Dickerson placed second in all-around (39.575), while Johnson came in sixth (39.40). 

UF ended the first rotation with a .15 lead over Georgia after UGA’s Shayla Worley slipped from the bars to post a 9.2. 

At the midway point, Florida held a 98.775-98.475 advantage.

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The Gators then powered through their third event, beam, with a team total of 49.45. With UGA trailing by .525, UF almost gave the Bulldogs a fighting chance after struggling on floor in their final rotation. 

Junior Randy Stageberg (9.775), Johnson (9.75) and King (9.8) all received .1 deductions for stepping out of bounds on floor. But Dickerson and Hunter closed out well on floor, patching up the event score at a solid 49.30. 

“Obviously, going out of bounds three times in a row on floor was a little bit shocking,” Faehn said. “It was wonderful to finish with Ashanée and Kytra, the 1-2 punch right there.”

After Friday night’s victory, UF is now 2-1 in top-10 matchups in 2012.  

“Georgia is our rival, and they came to our house having the mindset of beating us in our own house, but we had the mindset of beating them in our own house,” Hunter said.

“We did make mistakes, but we overcame those mistakes and put them past us.”

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