Rhonda Faehn and Gators "at peace' with NCAA gymnastics runner-up finish
NOTE: Check out video of Rhonda Faehn talking about Saturday night's competition below
When the final score was tallied at the NCAA Gymnastics Championshpips Saturday night, the Florida women's team fell one-tenth of a point shy of Alabama and an NCAA gymastics national championship trophy.
Florida, which entered the competition ranked No. 1 in the nation, was edged out of the title spot by Alabama, giving the Tide their second consecutive and sixth overall NCAA Championship. Alabama won the title at 197.85, while the Gators were 0.075 behind at 197.775.
And although the Gators were bitterly disappointed, Florida coach Rhonda Faehn said the Gators did "everything right'' in leading up to the national championshp competition and she's at peace with the fact that both the athletes and staff gave everything they had Saturday. It was just not quite enough.
"I feel at peace because we know we did everything right this year,'' Faehn said referring to her staff and the major changes they implemented this season. "We did it to the best of our ability. The athletes didn't peak too early, they weren't just barely surviving getting into the championship. We know that with our sport, it's so hard. At the SEC championship a couple of years ago, first, second and third was just a quarter of a tenth (separating the teams). We were second, and first place was a quarter of tenth above. That's the worst. Three-quarters of a tenth is hard, but we know that's just how it is. Everyone has had a situation like that. But knowing that we really made sure we started the athletes slow, we took care of them as far as making sure we would shut them down if they were starting to get hurt or having some issues. And their mindset was tremendously differen this year. They were very tight as a group and as a team. And we felt like just everything was what we could have asked for. We couldn't have asked for more. So we do feel good as a coaching staff. It's a tremendous accomplishment. We of course wanted to bring the trophy home to Florida, but we feel like we have the group of athletes, we know the plan and we feel next year we'll have just as good a shot if not better.''
Freshman gymnast Kytra Hunter won the NCAA all-around and vault competition for the Gators, and Faehn said she's extremely encouraged by the gymnasts she has returning and the stellar incoming freshman class. The Gators lose just two starting routines from this season.
Hear more from Faehn on Saturday night's competition here: