Florida Gators gymnast sophomore All-American Alaina Johnson is honored as this week’s Southeastern Conference Gymnast of the Week, the league office announced Tuesday. While this is Johnson’s first league accolade of the season, this sophomore isn’t new to be recognized for her outstanding performance.
Last season, Johnson was named SEC Freshman Gymnast of the Week on four occasions and SEC Gymnast of the week once. Johnson completed her freshman year on a high note, earning SEC Freshman of the Year and picking up three All-America honors along the way. She remarkably became only the second gymnast in school history to advance to three NCAA Individual Event Finals (vault, bars, floor) in a single year.
“Alaina is really not only a fantastic competitor but I love her demeanor,” Florida coach Rhonda Faehn said about Johnson heading into last weekend’s meet against then-No. 17 Auburn (3-9, 0-5 SEC). “She’s very calm and in training, she’s very focused as well. She’s disciplined in the gym when she trains and I think that really comes through in her competitions. She’s a very smart gymnast.”
In the Auburn Arena last Friday night, Johnson claimed her first all-around title of the season scoring a Florida season-high total of 39.625. Johnson’s all-around score is the nation’s fourth highest of the season and highest mark received last weekend. Johnson was the only Gators’ gymnast who competed in the all-around against the Tigers as Florida registered the nation’s sixth-highest score of the season, 197.50, to defeat Auburn’s196.875. Johnson’s all-around title marks the fourth of her career.
Johnson shared her second consecutive vault title with freshman Kytra Hunter as the duo posted collegiate-best marks of 9.95. The Gators turned in the second-highest vault total in the program’s history and a season-best score of 49.575.
Johnson also shared second on the floor event with Auburn’s Toi Garcia as the two registered a 9.875. Johnson also surpassed her collegiate beam best on Friday night to improve to 9.90, placing for third.
In current GymInfo national rankings, Johnson is No. 3 in the all-around (39.525 average), No. 17 in vault (9.89), No. 3 in uneven bars (9.889) and No. 12 in balance beam (9.843).
The top-ranked Florida Gators (8-1, 4-1 SEC) are back in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center at 7 p.m. Friday night to face SEC rival Georgia (5-2, 4-1), which is tied for No. 3 nationally. This marks the 18th time in the last 20 meetings between the Gators and Bulldogs that one of the teams holds the No. 1 national spot.
GatorVision will be streaming the meet live and Sun Sports will air the meet on three separate occasions: 4 p.m. on March 3, 9 a.m. on March 4 and 11 a.m. on March 11.
Gator Country reporter Elizabeth Rhodes can be reached at email@example.com.