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<p>Bridgette Caquatto performs her floor exercise routine during the NCAA Gymnastics Super Six on April 16, 2016, in Fort Worth, Texas.</p>

Bridgette Caquatto performs her floor exercise routine during the NCAA Gymnastics Super Six on April 16, 2016, in Fort Worth, Texas.

In the practice gym and on the competition floor, the departing senior class of Bridgette Caquatto, Bianca Dancose-Giambattisto, Morgan Frazier and Bridget Sloan led by example.

They helped deliver Florida’s first three NCAA National Championships.

They reserved their place in the program’s record books.

"(The senior class) was a huge part of the history of Gator gymnastics," coach Jenny Rowland said.

"They definitely left a legacy. They definitely brought in a lot."

But in the wake of the Gators’ fourth-place finish at the Super Six on Saturday, the time has come for them to pass on the torch.

With the departure of the quartet, coach Rowland’s roster features a lone rising senior in Claire Boyce.

And following the enrollment of a five-member freshman class, Florida will be composed of 10 underclassmen.

Can such a young team fill the leadership void?

And if so, who will step up?

For the better part of a year, Rowland watched her underclassmen grow, absorbing the lessons imparted by the senior class.

Heading into her second year at the helm of the program, Rowland isn’t worried.

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"They really taught the rest of this team what it is to be a true Gator," she said.

"Within their leadership qualities throughout the season in and out of the gym, I’m truly grateful and thankful that they were as strong as they were and were able to help educate the rest of the team and show them really what (being) a Gator’s all about."

For the Gators, the question of sustaining success boils down to a two-part formula.

The first step revolves around the incoming freshman class.

Featuring five new recruits, this influx of talent boasts an international pedigree.

Three gymnasts — Alyssa Baumann, Rachel Gowey and Amelia Hundley — have competed with the U.S. Senior National Team, and a fourth, Maegan Chant, claimed a silver medal as a member of Canada’s 2015 Pan American Games team.

"You’ll see some beautiful, graceful gymnastics," Rowland said.

"I can already see a lot of leadership qualities amongst them."

The second step involves just that — leadership qualities.

Before graduating, the senior class helped establish a culture of accountability.

Each practice session presented a new chance to improve not only their individual gymnastics, but also team chemistry as a whole.

The onus of continuing that legacy now falls on the 10 athletes slated to return.

And when the Gators reconvene next fall, they’ll be prepared.

"It’s always hard to see four strong, young ladies leave," Rowland said, "but like I said, I’m really excited that they taught the rest of the team.

"They didn’t just utilize it and leave. They mentored, they helped develop along with the staff. With that support, I’m really not worried about any lack of leadership."

Contact Alejandro Lopez at alopez@alligator.org and follow him on Twitter @ajlb95

Bridgette Caquatto performs her floor exercise routine during the NCAA Gymnastics Super Six on April 16, 2016, in Fort Worth, Texas.

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