The spotlight is shining brightly on the Gators. Not only does Florida hold the highest scores in each event in the NCAA, but its roster continues to improve as it reaches the end of the regular season.
Led by senior Ashanee Dickerson, who has won nine individual titles and is seventh on vault in the nation with a 9.925 average, UF has built on its quality performances down the stretch.
“Looking at every competition we’ve had this year, every time we step away, no matter what the score was or who we were facing… we always step away knowing we can do better,” coach Rhonda Faehn said.
The Gators’ final home meet of the season proved that.
Facing No. 14 Minnesota on March 1, Florida scored 198.425 points, the highest team score in a meet since 2004.
Three of the last winners — Alabama, which has won two national titles, and UCLA — failed to top 197.875 during their championship seasons.
The Crimson Tide recorded a season-high 197.85 against the Gators in the NCAA Super Six and put together a season-best total of 197.675 in 2011.
UF has hit the 198 mark twice this season.
“Even though we had that great meet at Alabama and Minnesota, it’s fun to think that we have places to improve on, which is mind-boggling to me,” Jamie Shisler said. “We go into every competition knowing we can hit and knowing what we are capable of, and it’s a calming feeling.”
When Florida lost All-American Alaina Johnson to a lower-back injury on Jan. 25, it appeared the Gators would suffer a setback. Johnson, an all-around competitor, was instrumental in Florida’s record-setting uneven bars performance against Missouri on Jan. 18, a week prior to her injury.
But instead of stumbling down the stretch, the Gators grew stronger and used three program records to top Minnesota and prove they are worthy of their No. 1 ranking this season.
“They genuinely believe that they’re the best,” Faehn said.
Ashanee Dickerson performs her floor routine in Florida’s 196.975-196.075 win against Kentucky on Feb. 22 in the O’Connell Center. Dickerson slipped on the balance beam in Florida's first event at the NCAA Super Six, but scored a 9.9 on the floor.