The University of Florida women’s gymnastics team raised the bar this weekend.
Under current coach Rhonda Faehn, the team advanced to the Super Six eight times, but on Saturday it won it’s first NCAA women’s gymnastics title at University of California, Los Angeles.
Despite a rocky start, the team ended the championship with a score of 197. 575, edging past Oklahoma’s second place score of 197.375 and Alabama’s third place score of 197.350.
Two Gators fell off the beam at the start of the event, putting Florida in last place after the first rotation. The gymnasts turned things around, and UF Athletics Director Jeremy Foley said they represented UF well.
“Obviously, they put themselves in a hole with the first rotation,” he said, “but you saw the skills, you saw the toughness, you saw the coaching, and they were able to overcome it.”
In 2012, the team took second place, losing to Alabama by .075. Coach Faehn said the gymnasts didn’t want to repeat history.
“They know how bad that hurts, and they didn’t want to feel that,” she said. “They were determined, we were not leaving LA without the championship.”
The team’s welcome home celebration is Monday at 7 p.m. in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center.