Florida takes 3rd straight NCAA women's gymnastics title
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) Florida has a third straight NCAA women's gymnastics title, despite the efforts of Utah's Georgia Dabritz.
The Gators got a pair of strong closing routines on uneven bars after Dabritz had her second perfect 10 in two days on that event, and Florida held off the Utes in the Super Six finals Saturday night.
Bridget Sloan and freshman Alex McMurtry had consecutive 9.95 scores in the final rotation, and Florida finished at 197.850 to 197.800 for Utah. The Utes had finished one rotation earlier, with Dabritz getting a 9.975 on her team's final vault.
She had to wait to see if it was enough, after another perfect routine on bars earlier made her the first gymnast with multiple perfect scores in the same national meet since 2009. Courtney Kupets had three in leading Georgia to the national title.
''I was hoping for it,'' Dabritz said. ''I did the best vault I could.''
The Gators celebrated wildly after McMurtry's landing on bars, but coach Rhonda Faehn wasn't sure what it meant a year after sharing the title with Oklahoma in the first tie at the national meet. Florida won the school's first championship in 2013.
''I was not doing the math. I never am,'' Faehn said after Florida joined Utah and Georgia as the only schools to win at least three straight titles. ''I really felt Bridget and Alex were the exclamation points to that lineup. They went for everything.''
The Sooners ended up third at 197.525, followed by Alabama, Stanford and Auburn, which was making its first appearance in the finals since the first year of the Super Six format in 1993.
Florida's Kytra Hunter, who was co-champion in the all-around on Friday, had her team's highest score at 9.975 on floor exercise. The Gators had five scores of 9.9 or better on floor.
''It was an absolute incredible floor rotation,'' said Sloan, a three-time national champion in individual events. ''It might have been the best one we've done all season, which if you're going to have a season high rotation it better be at NCAAs. So job well done.''
Dabritz, who had the top Super Six scores on vault and beam, came close to carrying her team to a record-tying 10th title - and Utah's first since 1995.
''We're so happy with the way we placed,'' the senior said. ''We were 12th coming into this competition and then to end up second is great. But it's a little frustrating that we weren't in that No. 1 spot.''
Oklahoma survived a rough preliminary round on balance beam to make the finals, but that was the best event for the Sooners in the finals. The struggles came elsewhere, particularly on the floor exercise. They dropped to 49.175 after scoring 49.475 on Friday.
The Gators won another title despite losing Sloan to an ankle injury in the first meet of the season at Ball State, not far from her Indiana hometown.
''It was not easy this year,'' Faehn said. ''By far it was the hardest championship won from the three. But the most meaningful.''
Stanford's Ivana Hong had the high score on balance beam at 9.975. She graduated from high school in North Texas while training at the same gym that produced Olympic all-around gold medalists Carly Patterson and Nastia Liukin.