Special report on the Florida Gators gymnastics team:
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – In Friday’s meeting of the Southeastern Conference unbeaten gymnastics teams, it was No. 2 Florida retaining that title with a 197.85 – 196.70 win over No. 12 Auburn Friday evening at Exactech Arena at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center.
Florida’s 197.85 stands as the nation’s No. 6 total of the season and is UF’s second-highest for 2019. Auburn’s 196.70 is just off its season-best of 196.775 set Jan. 25 in its win over Georgia.
Tonight’s Exactech Arena crowd of 9,055 for the 13th Annual Gators Link to Pink is Florida’s season-high and ranks as the ninth largest in program history.
Florida opened the meet with a season-best 49.35 on vault, but trailed the Tigers by 0.025 heading into the second rotation. Senior Alicia Boren won the evening’s vault title with a Gator season-best 9.925. Freshmen Savannah Schoenherr and Trinity Thomas shared second with Auburn’s Derrian Gobourne at 9.90.
That deficit was quickly closed on the second rotation, as Florida pushed out a 0.475 lead at the meet’s midway point. Thomas claimed her third bars title of the season at 9.95. Junior Amelia Hundley shared second with Auburn’s Abby Milliet at 9.90.
A six-for-six Gator beam set was led by a winning 9.9 from a trio of Gators – Boren, Rachel Gowey and Alyssa Baumann.
Florida finished the meet with a season-best 49.65 on floor exercise. Thomas won the title with her collegiate-best of 9.975. Boren took second at 9.95 while Baumann and freshman Nya Reed shared third with Auburn’s Milliet at 9.925.
Thomas equaled her collegiate-best to take her second all-around title (39.70). Boren’s runner-up total of 39.625 is her season best. Auburn freshman Derrian Gobourne took third a 39.45.
GATOR PERFORMANCE NOTES:
* 197.85 is the nation’s No. 6 score for 2019 and Florida’s second-highest for the season
* Florida’s 49.65 raises its season-best for floor exercise, as UF posted a 49.60 at Oklahoma last Friday.
* Thomas equaled her collegiate-best all-around of 39.70 to take her second title. That total shares third among the nation’s all-arounders this season and is the highest among the nation’s freshmen.
* In addition to Thomas’ all-around, two other Gator season-bests were posted Friday – Boren (9.925 – vault) and Thomas (9.975 – floor).
* Florida has four totals among the nation’s top 12 for 2019 – 198.025 (No. 3), 197.85 (No. 6), 197.675 (No. 10) and 197.50 (No. 11)
* Thomas takes her third bars title of season. Each of her 2019 bars marks are 9.925 or better.
* Thomas now has three nearly perfect 9.975 marks (two on bars, one on floor). Three equals the season high by a Gator freshman set by Bridget Sloan (2013).
* Crowd of 9,055 is No. 9 in Florida history and UF’s season-high. The Gators Link to Pink meet continues to be popular, as the meet has drawn the program’s No. 6 (9,198), No. 7 (9,197), No. 8 (9,108) and No. 9 crowds.
RECORDS: Florida (4-1, 4-0 SEC), Auburn (5-1, 4-1 SEC).
THE SERIES: Florida leads the series 77-11.
ABOUT LINK TO PINK:
Tonight was the 13th Annual Gators Link to Pink meet. These meets are part of a Southeastern Conference initiative and most of the league’s teams will participate in a “pink” meet this season. Team colors are set aside as the teams wear pink to show their support for the breast cancer fight.
HEAR FROM THE GATORS:
On the team’s progress at the season’s midpoint:
“The light is at the end of the tunnel and they’ve made steady steps. I can really see this team peaking at the end of the season.” – Florida Head Coach Jenny Rowland
On how it felt to be in the floor lineup for the first time this season:
“I was super excited. I’ve been working really hard in the gym trying to make floor lineup. It’s the event I really wanted to compete. It’s the most fun and the one everyone loves to watch the most. So I’ve just been working hard and trying to make my passes the best that I can in practice to be able to make the lineup so I can prove myself. Competing tonight was a lot of fun and I can’t wait to hopefully be in the lineup again.” – freshman Savannah Schoenherr
On how much she wants a perfect score after getting a 9.975 in three consecutive meets (twice on bars and tonight on floor):
“I want it bad, really bad. I’m working hard on it and I can see in the gym it’s getting more and more consistent looking and in competition.” – freshman Trinity Thomas
On competing in her first Gators Link to Pink:
“It’s amazing to compete for such a great cause and know we’re competing for something more.” – freshman Savannah Schoenherr
Florida – Florida is No. 2 in the Road to Nationals standings<https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__roadtonationals.com_results_standings_season_2019_5_0_5&d=DwIFJg&c=pZJPUDQ3SB9JplYbifm4nt2lEVG5pWx2KikqINpWlZM&r=6MG06PG_fwpe7ULfewi6NrFR2j_4ngNZtgGHhDCeRY0&m=DWtuR0p-fP7oUC3oSOpVBvscLlVMgkQddKbHtNCk91Y&s=BugtxrDV5ryTPmeTzvzZJGDdSVQzJ6lDCqX-IktS2P0&e=>.
AU – The Tigers are No. 12 in the Road to Nationals standings<https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__roadtonationals.com_results_standings_season_2019_5_0_5&d=DwIFJg&c=pZJPUDQ3SB9JplYbifm4nt2lEVG5pWx2KikqINpWlZM&r=6MG06PG_fwpe7ULfewi6NrFR2j_4ngNZtgGHhDCeRY0&m=DWtuR0p-fP7oUC3oSOpVBvscLlVMgkQddKbHtNCk91Y&s=BugtxrDV5ryTPmeTzvzZJGDdSVQzJ6lDCqX-IktS2P0&e=>.
It’s Florida’s third top-10 match-up of the season when they compete at No. 8 Alabama on Friday, Feb. 15. The Tide won 196.70-195.80 at Arkansas tonight to push its record to 8-2 and 3-2 SEC.
The meet airs live on the SEC Network at 8:30 p.m. and can be found on