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Tuesday, May 21, 2024
<p>Sophomore Kytra Hunter performs her beam routine in a dual meet against Ball State on Jan. 4 in the O’Connell Center. Hunter won the all-around title at the NCAA Regionals on Saturday.</p>

Sophomore Kytra Hunter performs her beam routine in a dual meet against Ball State on Jan. 4 in the O’Connell Center. Hunter won the all-around title at the NCAA Regionals on Saturday.

Florida’s trek of dominance came to a close on Saturday night in Salt Lake City, UT.

No. 2 Florida (8-2, 6-1 Southeastern Conference) fell short against No. 7 Utah (10-2-1, 4-1-1 Pac-12) 198.125-197.875 for its second loss of the season.

Utah led for majority of the night due in part to key performances on both uneven bars and floor, registering scores of 49.60 and 49.65, respectively.

In its second rotation, Utah’s Georgia Dabritz flirted with perfection and posted the first 10.00 score of her collegiate career. Prior to Saturday’s dual meet, only Florida’s Mackenzie Caquatto and Nebraska’s Janelle Giblin hit the perfect mark.

Utah ranked 10th in the NCAA on bars heading into Saturday evening, and the score put Florida at a point disadvantage for the remainder of the meet.

The Gators responded and pieced together a stellar bars routine with Bridget Sloan anchoring the rotation with a near-perfect 9.975. It was the second time Sloan hit the mark in the last three meets after recording it against No. 19 Kentucky on Feb. 22. Consecutive scores of 9.90 or higher from Marissa King, Kytra Hunter and Mackenzie Caquatto put Florida in reach heading into one of its strongest events – vault.

For the third consecutive meet – and fourth time in 2013 – Hunter notched a 9.975 on the apparatus. But Florida was unable to answer the call as no gymnast besides Hunter and Ashanee Dickerson scored higher than a 9.90, leaving UF in a hole heading into floor.

In need of a strong performance, Florida was unable to catch fire. UF tallied a 49.375 – just slightly above its 49.319 average – despite putting out its most productive floor combination.

Meanwhile, Utah capitalized.

On balance beam, UT hit a 49.425 as a whole. Prior to Saturday, Utah ranked 12th in the NCAA with a team average 48.978. Utah improved the mark by nearly half a point to take a decisive advantage heading into the final exercise.

The Gators needed a stellar output on beam and a lapse by Utah to seal its ninth win.

UF posted a 49.500 score on beam – well above its 49.161 average – to get within striking distance. But Utah didn’t let down, registering a 49.650 to seal a home victory over a highly favored Florida program.

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Sophomore Kytra Hunter performs her beam routine in a dual meet against Ball State on Jan. 4 in the O’Connell Center. Hunter won the all-around title at the NCAA Regionals on Saturday.

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