GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Defending NCAA champion Florida tops the 2014 preseason poll released by GymInfo on Dec. 12. This is first time the Gator gymnasts open a season at No. 1 since the poll’s inception in 1992.
Florida has appeared among the preseason top four teams each of the last eight years (2007: 3rd; 2008: 2nd; 2009: 3rd; 2010: 4th; 2011: 3rd; 2012: 3rd, 2013: 3rd).
The five leading the preseason poll also finished among the top five in the 2013 NCAA Super Six team final. Alabama holds the No. 2 position on the preseason poll and 2013 NCAA runner-up Oklahoma is No. 3 on the list. Rounding out the top five on the GymInfo preseason list is No. 4 UCLA and No. 5 LSU.
Florida faces eight opponents in the poll, including five in the preseason top eight. Four of Florida’s home dates feature an opponent among the preseason top 12 – No. 3 Oklahoma on Jan. 31, No. 5 LSU for the Feb. 21 Gators Link to Pink meet, No. 8 Georgia on Jan. 24 and No. 11 Arkansas on Feb. 14.
In 2013, the Gators claimed their first NCAA championship and also won both Southeastern Conference and NCAA regional team titles. Four Gator All-Americans return this season, including the last two NCAA all-around champions – sophomore Bridget Sloan and junior Kytra Hunter. Also returning are 2013 NCAA uneven bars champion Alaina Johnson and 2013 NCAA uneven bars and balance beam finalist Mackenzie Caquatto.
The home season opens at 7 p.m. Jan. 24 when the Gators play host to preseason No. 8 Georgia in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center.