Florida had gotten out to an unexpectedly great start at the NCAA Super Six on Saturday night, acquitting itself nicely on the devilishly tricky beam and exploding for big scores on the floor and vault, and entered its final rotation — the uneven bars — with the inside track to a third straight national title.
But four routines that were simply very good left Bridget Sloan, perhaps the best gymnast in school history, and Alex McMurtry, the program's future, needing strong scores to keep the Gators on the podium.
They got them. And Florida got its title — again.
Sloan and McMurtry posted twin 9.950 scores on the final two bars routines of the evening, helping the Gators post a 197.850 that edged Utah's 197.800 for first, and the first three-peat in the sport since Georgia's fifth straight title in 2009.
That season was also the last one in which a program other than Florida produced both the individual national champion and team champion: Courtney Kupets won the individual title for the Gym Dogs then, and Kytra Hunter (who won a share of it on Friday) won it for the Gators this season. Florida also had Sloan win the individual all-around title in 2013, the year of its first national championship.
Florida's three-peat is just the third in the history of the sport. Despite only six teams sharing the national championships in the 34 years of it being contested at the Division I level, dynastic reigns are somewhat rare.
We'll have much, much more on this triumph tomorrow, but for now: This was awesome.