#5 Gymnastics Wins SEC and Finishes Third Nationally
For 17 years, Alabama and Georgia dominated the Southeastern Conference. The last time anyone other than those two schools captured the conference crown was when the Gators did so in 1989. Until 2007.
The Gator Gymnastics team posted its best team score ever (197.325) in SEC Tournament competition to hold off the two-time defending NATIONAL champion Georgia.
UF's Gymnastics' coach Rhonda Faehn earned her second straight SEC Coach of the Year honors, and the Gators held the nation's top spot in the polls for every week except one throughout the season.
"It was just unbelievable the way our athletes competed with so much heart and determination," Faehn said during the final night of competition. "There was just so much passion. We proved that this team has the heart and the determination to win. They came back, even though they made mistakes and they just didn't give in."
The Gators then captured the NCAA Northeast Regional in Ann Arbor, Mich. to advance to the NCAA qualifying sessions in Salt Lake City. In doing so, UF captured at least a share of the title on each apparatus – something they hadn't done at an NCAA regional since 1985.
Florida finished second at the NCAA qualifier, posting the school's highest score in NCAA competition history. The second place finish earned them a spot in the NCAA Super Six.
Unlike the SEC Championships in Little Rock, Ark., however, the Gators weren't able to hold off Georgia who captured their third straight National Championship. UCLA barely edged out the Gators who finished third in the team competition.
It was the Gators best NCAA finish since finishing second behind UCLA in 1998.