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Tuesday, February 20, 2024
<p>Bridget Sloan celebrates with teammates after scoring a perfect 10.0 on bars during Florida's win against Texas Woman's University on March 13 in the O'Connell Center.</p>

Bridget Sloan celebrates with teammates after scoring a perfect 10.0 on bars during Florida's win against Texas Woman's University on March 13 in the O'Connell Center.

On a night intended to honor Florida’s four seniors, junior Bridget Sloan stole the show.

No. 2 Florida (7-3) handily defeated Texas Woman’s University (5-11) 197.900-193.400 Friday in the team’s final tune-up before the Southeastern Conference Championships, but it was Sloan who provided the signature moment by scoring a perfect 10 on bars.

It was the junior’s second perfect score of the season and her first ever on bars – giving her a perfect mark on every event in her collegiate career.

“She’s pretty good, right?” coach Rhonda Faehn said jokingly. “Wow – it’s incredible. She’s just a remarkable athlete.”

After scoring 9.975s back-to-back weeks because of a small deduction for her feet not being together, Sloan spent the entire week working tirelessly to ensure it wouldn’t happen again.

“Once I landed, in my mind I was thinking ‘There is no way, this isn’t happening again,’” Sloan said, “because in my mind (the two judges) were gonna give me a 9.95 and a 10 – here we go again, round three.

“But I was kinda eyeballing the judge and I heard the crowd go for one side and I was like ‘Come on – please, please, please,’ and once they gave that other 10, it was a very accomplishing moment for me.”

The meet was also Sloan’s first time on vault since scoring a perfect 10 in Florida’s season-opener — one rotation before suffering the ankle injury that sidelined her for six weeks. She scored a 9.950 on Friday and looked as if she had been performing all season.

Florida’s seniors didn’t disappoint, either.

Kytra Hunter scored three 9.900s and a 9.975 on floor in her final meet in the O’Connell center. Throughout her entire floor routine, the senior wore a beaming smile as she soaked up every moment.

“Honestly, we all have favorite events and floor is the last event being at home, and I just wanted to put an exclamation point on my meet tonight,” Hunter said. “I definitely just relaxed … that’s the best routine I’ve done all year.

“I’m really happy with myself and I’m really happy to leave the O’Dome the way I finished off.”

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Senior Kiersten Wang ended her final home meet with a 9.900 on vault and a 9.925 on floor, and senior Rachel posted a 9.750 on vault, a 9.00 on beam and a 9.875 on floor.

All three were honored after the meet along with senior Jamie Shisler, who tore her Achilles tendon prior to the first meet of the season.

After the final rotation had concluded, the Gators had Shisler — who was wearing a walking boot — do a mini-floor routine as tribute. It lasted about five seconds.

Freshman Kennedy Baker only competed on bars after her ankle flared up in warm-ups prior to the meet. Faehn said she decided to keep the freshman out as a precaution simply to ensure her health for the SEC Championships in two weeks.

For Faehn, the night was a reminder of how quickly her time with this year’s senior class has gone by.

“It’s tough,” she said. “I was telling Kytra’s dad when he came out for the senior presentation literally just how fast time goes by, and I said the same thing to Bill Spicer.

“I said ‘It seems like you guys were just sitting in my car and I was telling you how awesome Rachel was gonna be in college, and already, she’s done – almost.’ It just seems like the blink of an eye.”

Follow Graham Hack on Twitter @graham_hack24

Bridget Sloan celebrates with teammates after scoring a perfect 10.0 on bars during Florida's win against Texas Woman's University on March 13 in the O'Connell Center.

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