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Monday, May 27, 2024
<p class="p1"><span class="s1">Bridget Sloan performs on vault in UF’s 196.975-196.075 win against UK on Feb. 22. Sloan and Kytra Hunter were the only Gators to stick their landings in vault at the SEC Championships on March 23.</span></p>

Bridget Sloan performs on vault in UF’s 196.975-196.075 win against UK on Feb. 22. Sloan and Kytra Hunter were the only Gators to stick their landings in vault at the SEC Championships on March 23.

One day after the Southeastern Conference named Bridget Sloan Freshman of the Year, she reached even greater heights.

The Pittsboro, Ind., native claimed a share of the all-around title at the SEC Championships on Saturday in Little Rock, Ark.

Sloan posted a 39.75 individual total to help No. 1 Florida win its second consecutive — and ninth overall — conference title.

Sloan, a former Olympian, has embraced the pressure of competing for the nation’s top-ranked team.

When Florida took the floor on Saturday, Sloan was comfortable.

She is a six-time member of the U.S. Senior National Team and was the youngest member of Team USA’s silver-medal squad at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.

In her freshman year, Sloan has racked up 16 individual titles — nine coming since Feb. 16.

Prior to Saturday’s competition, Sloan ranked second in the NCAA with a 39.59 average.

“I definitely think that Bridget’s competitive experience has been a definite benefit,” coach Rhonda Faehn said.

“One of the first things she said when we were getting ready for podium training was ‘I love the podium. I can’t wait to compete on it,’ because that’s where all her competitions have taken place.”

UF opened the SEC title meet on vault with a relatively low score.

Florida notched a 49.375 on the apparatus due to a few missteps on landings and found itself in fourth after the first event.

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In the next rotation, however, Sloan’s showing helped the Gators regain their footing.

Sloan tied for first on uneven bars with a 9.95.

She leads the nation with an average score of 9.868 on uneven bars.

In her final seven regular-season contests, the freshman placed first or second in each of her uneven bars performances.

And when Florida found itself in a close contest with Alabama heading into the final rotation, Sloan delivered yet again.

After a pair of 9.9 scores from Randy Stageberg and Kiersten Wang, Sloan recorded a 9.95 on floor.

Sloan’s score sparked Ashanee Dickerson, Marissa King and Kytra Hunter, who each posted floor scores of 9.9 or better.

The floor scores helped lift the Gators over the Crimson Tide for UF’s second consecutive SEC crown.

With Sloan now in the fold, Florida is hopeful it can get over the hump and defeat Alabama at this year’s Super Six to win the first national championship in program history.

Bridget Sloan performs on vault in UF’s 196.975-196.075 win against UK on Feb. 22. Sloan and Kytra Hunter were the only Gators to stick their landings in vault at the SEC Championships on March 23.

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