No. 1 Gator gymnasts compete for chance to advance to national championship meet
The No. 1 Florida gymnastics team (15-2) will host the NCAA Regional Saturday night with the goal of advancing to the NCAA Championships.
The Gainesville Regional is one of six regional meets nationwide, and will begin at 6 p.m. at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center. The top two teams from each region will advance to the NCAA Championships, April 19-21 in Los Angeles. Florida has advanced to the NCAA Championships 30 times in the meet's 31-year history, missing only the 2000 event.
Florida's regional includes Auburn and Minnesota, who are currently tied at No. 12 in the nation. Florida defeated Auburn 197.65-196.025 on Jan. 25 and earned a win over Minnesota 198.425-197.175 on March 1. The other three teams in the Gainesville Regional are No. 24 Maryland, No. 29 Bridgeport and No. 36 Pittsburgh.
The Gators are the only team among the 2013 Gainesville Regional field to advance to the 2012 NCAA Championships. Florida equaled the program's top finish in NCAA competition of second overall in 2012. Auburn will be seeking its first NCAA Championships berth since 2003 while Minnesota last advanced in 2002. Maryland, Bridgeport and Pittsburgh have not yet advanced from regional competition to the NCAA Championships.
The NCAA began seeding regional fields in 1999 and UF has been a region's top seed in each of the last eight years. Florida won six consecutive NCAA Regional titles from 2005-10 and claimed the program's 12th regional win in 2012.
Tickets for the Gainesville NCAA Regional range in price from $5 to $10. UF students with a Gator1 identification are admitted free.