January 23, 2016,
Florida Gators gymnastics
AUBURN, Ala. - For the second straight weekend, the University of Florida gymnastics team took the win versus a top-10 team. This time the win came on the road, as Florida opened Southeastern Conference action with a 197.075 - 195.90 win at Auburn.
Florida Event Winners Friday
Florida’s Jenny Rowland, who spent the last five seasons on the Auburn coaching staff before taking the Gators’ head position in May of 2015, received a warm welcome during pre-meet introductions from the sellout Auburn Arena crowd of 7,424.
The Gators were steady with a few minor breaks in their third meet of the season. Florida swept the meet’s event titles Friday, with senior All-American Bridget Sloan using a 9.925 to claim the uneven bars title. Sophomore All-American Alex McMurtry again stuck her vault landing, taking the win at 9.90.
Sophomore All-American Kennedy Baker used the high score of the evening on any event to take the floor title at 9.95. The Gators finished the meet on balance beam, with McMurtry taking her second event title of the night with her 9.90 beam score.
The all-around title went to Sloan, the reigning SEC Gymnast of the Week. She turned in a 39.575 for her third straight all-around win. Baker was second at 39.475. SEC Freshman of the Week Alicia Boren shared third with AU’s Caitlin Atkinson at 39.275.
GATOR PERFORMANCE NOTES
* Three was the number for tonight, as three Gators picked up their third straight event titles. Sloan has claimed the all-around and uneven bars titles in each of Florida’s meets this season. McMurtry has taken the vault win in each meet. The floor title went to Baker for the third straight meet.
* The vault win was the 10th of McMurtry’s collegiate career. She claimed her first career win on beam tonight.
* Sloan’s two event wins tonight pushes her career total to 75. Only five Gators in the program’s 44-year history have 70 or more event titles.
RECORDS: Florida (3-0, 1-0 SEC); Auburn (2-2, 0-2 SEC).
THE SERIES: Florida leads 70-11.
The Florida at Auburn meet airs again Sunday, Jan. 24 beginning at 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN.
HEAR FROM THE GATORS
On Florida’s performance:
“I was very proud of them. There were some little problems here and there, but they fought hard. The Gators showed a lot of heart and a lot of grit. You learn from each meet and move forward.
“It was a great learning tool for the gymnasts. We’ll go back into the gym, reflect on what went well and what didn’t. Much went the way we wanted tonight, but there were a few bumps. We’ll go back into the gym and work on smoothing those things out.” - Florida head coach Jenny Rowland
On the performances of tonight’s event winners:
“We had some outstanding performances tonight. I can’t say enough about Bridget Sloan. She comes into practice day and after day and grinds through. In competition, she thrives. Really proud of Alex McMurtry and Kennedy Baker. As sophomores, they are really stepping up and showing a lot of leadership.” - Florida head coach Jenny Rowland
On Florida’s first SEC road meet:
“I thought tonight was a meet that we needed. TWU was our very first road meet so tonight gave our freshman a taste of a real SEC rivalry. That’s what we got tonight. It was a great competition. Jenny (Rowland) stresses that you strive for perfection, but it isn’t always going to come. There are few things that could have gone better. We want to make mistakes now so we can learn from it. This is exactly what we wanted to have.” - senior All-American Bridget Sloan
On team’s performance tonight:
“I think we did really well. It was a fun environment here. We hit our routines - that was the goal and that’s what we did.
“Beam wasn’t our best tonight but we’ll work on smoothing it out this week in practice.” - sophomore All-American Alex McMurtry
How was Coach Rowland received in her return to Auburn?
“Sure it was a little hard for Jenny (Rowland) as she recently came to Florida from Auburn, but she did a great job. She is truly a Gator now. We trust her and we want to go out there and make her look good.” - senior All-American Bridget Sloan
What do you think of the performance of the freshman class?
“They are really stepping up. We have incredible freshman who are really starting to learn. They are cheering and kind of getting into the college atmosphere. It was awesome to have them do so well in a road meet.” - senior All-American Bridget Sloan
Florida - Florida is No. 1 in the Jan. 18 Road to Nationals<http://roadtonationals.com/results/standings.php#pages/national.php?nat=2> rankings.
Auburn - Tigers No. 8 in Jan. 18 rankings
The Gators return home to continue action versus top 10 teams when they face No. 4 Alabama on Jan. 29. Meet time is set for 6:45 p.m. in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center<http://oconnellcenter.ufl.edu/eventprofile.asp?eventid=2595>.
Friday’s gymnastics meet kicks of Florida’s Fill the Dome weekend. Florida fans are encouraged to come out to support the Gators as they face top-10 teams in three consecutive days in the O’Connell Center:
Friday at 6:45 p.m.
Gymnastics versus No. 4 Alabama
Saturday at noon:
Men’s basketball versus No. 6 West Virginia
Sunday at 1 p.m.
Women’s basketball versus No. 9 Kentucky
To get tickets for this weekend’s events, visit the FloridaGators.com ticket site<http://floridagators.com/sports/2015/12/10/_tickets_.aspx> or stop by the Gator Ticket Office (open Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.).
The first 750 fans at Friday’s gymnastics meet receive a free cell power bank.
Alabama lost 196.70 - 196.40 to No. 10 Arkansas in home action Friday.
The meet airs live on the SEC Network and will also stream on SEC Network +<http://es.pn/1JZKUVf>.
No. 1 Florida at No. 8 Auburn
Final Team Totals
Jan. 22, 2016 ● Auburn Arena (7,424)