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Tuesday, February 20, 2024
<p>Kennedy Baker (left) and assistant coach Adrian Burde (right) celebrate after Baker's vault routine&nbsp;during the NCAA Gymnastics Super Six on April 16, 2016, in Fort Worth, Texas.</p>

Kennedy Baker (left) and assistant coach Adrian Burde (right) celebrate after Baker's vault routine during the NCAA Gymnastics Super Six on April 16, 2016, in Fort Worth, Texas.

It only took Amelia Hundley one meet to break a school record.

The freshman competed as an all-around entry in Florida’s season-opening meet on the road at N.C. State Sunday, notching an overall score of 39.375.

It was the highest score for a freshman in a road season opener in UF history.

“(I was) very happy,” Hundley said. “I’m really happy with how I did and looking forward to improvements for me. Just really excited.”

It’s a typical response to a solid performance, but Hundley is not a typical freshman.

Six months ago she was in San Jose, California, competing against 13 of the best gymnasts in the country for one of five spots on the U.S. Olympic Team.

Placing ninth overall, Hundley missed the cut but capped off an elite pre-college career that included being a three-year member of the U.S. Senior National Team and representing the U.S. on the 2014 and 2015 Pan American Games championship teams.

Now, as one of No. 3 Florida’s all-arounders, the Hamilton, Ohio, native is an essential part of the Gators’ lineup.

“Amelia is a very special kid. She has so much talent and she has so much potential,” Florida assistant coach Adrian Burde said. “She will get even better than she was at the first meet. The whole entire freshman class has so much potential. It’s a very special group of kids with big dreams and the chemistry that they bring to this team is incredible.”

While Hundley has competed on some of the biggest stages in the world during her career, she is still cherishing the opportunity to compete in her first home meet in the renovated O’Connell Center on Friday against Kentucky.

“The arena is beautiful. We got to train in it actually last week,” Hundley said. “Just seeing the atmosphere and seeing that those seats are actually going to be filled is just a great experience. … I’m just really excited for this week, and it should be really good.”

However, even though she has experience in the sport, Hundley is still a freshman and new to collegiate gymnastics.

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And unlike USA Gymnastics’ Elite Program, where you compete mostly as an individual, Hundley is competing as part of a team now. And she’s relying on her older teammates to give her advice and help smooth the transition.

“They told me just to relax, you know, sometimes I get a little too uptight,” Hundley said. “They tell me just to go out, do your thing, be yourself, and have fun. They have been so great through it all. They have been there for me when I’ve had struggles, and they are there to experience it with me when I’m cheering and laughing and having a great time. They have been so great.”

Contact Lauren Staff at lstaff@alligator.org and follow her on Twitter @lstaff27.

Kennedy Baker (left) and assistant coach Adrian Burde (right) celebrate after Baker's vault routine during the NCAA Gymnastics Super Six on April 16, 2016, in Fort Worth, Texas.

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