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University of Florida gymnastics squad ready for NCAA championship

GATOR GYMNASTICS

For freshmen Amelia Hundley and Rachel Gowey, it may be their first NCAA Championship appearance, but it's not their first time competing in the arena.

In the 2016 USA National Championships at Chaifetz Arena in St. Louis, both gymnasts finished in the top 10 in the all-around competition.

"This arena, I've competed in it before for championships, so it'll be nice going back to that arena and knowing the space and the lighting," Gowey said. "And kinda having the advantage that I've competed there before."

But Hundley takes a different approach.

"I can remember the arena, but it also is a different atmosphere going in with a team," Hundley said. "And it's still probably different equipment. So I don't know if I have an advantage since I've been there before."

Florida held the national title for three consecutive years (2013-15), but finished fourth last season. Only four members of this team know the feeling of being named a collegiate champion, but everyone is ready to get back on top.

"Last year it stung a little bit," head coach Jenny Rowland said. "Those who returned to the team definitely carried that with them throughout the season and showed the freshmen the ways of what it takes to me a national contender and a national champion. So I think that's definitely helped fuel the fire."

The Gators held their last practice in Gainesville Tuesday afternoon, and leave for St. Louis Wednesday. To keep the team loose during travel, Rowland said the squad will enjoy a nice lunch on the 48th floor of a building overlooking the city.

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