Good News, Bad News for Gymnastics Team?

The Gator gymnastics team will once again be in the field of 12 for the NCAA Championships. Florida earned the spot by virtue of its win in the NCAA Southeast Regional in Gainesville Saturday night. Florida's performance was strong enough to earn the Gators the No. 2 National Qualifying Score in the country. That's impressive, but perhaps not ideal.

As a result of being the No. 2 team entering the competition, Florida will compete in the afternoon session at the NCAA event in Athens on April 24. Most athletes prefer the routine of competing at night, but that minor setback might also be a positive for Rhonda Faehn's team. By competing in the day session the Gators will not have the distraction of competing alongside defending champ and home standing Georgia. Instead the Gators will try to earn a spot in the "Super Six" against a pretty familiar cast of characters.

LSU enters the NCAA meet ranked No. 3 and will be in Florida's session along with No. 6 Alabama, No. 7 Oregon State, No. 10 ranked Oklahoma and No. 11 Arkansas. That's four of six teams coming from the SEC, three of those are teams Florida has already beaten this season. Of course it also includes an Alabama team that edged Florida at home and tied the Gators in the SEC Championship meet.

The top three teams in each session advance to the Super Six the next night when the NCAA title will be decided. Rhonda Faehn has done a tremendous job in her six years in Gainesville, reaching the NCAA every year and the Super Six three times in five chances. Ironically, the two years Florida did not advance their score, which was fourth best in their session would have been third best in the other group. A top three finish is certainly well within their grasps and could set up yet another showdown with Georgia on the night of the 25th.

Questions or comments? Contact's Larry Vettel

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