Florida Gators gymnastics host two top 25 teams on Friday

Special report on the Florida Gators gymnastics team:

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Three of the nation’s top 20 gymnastics teams – No. 2 Florida, No. 4 Denver and No. 18 Iowa State – meet Friday. Action begins at 6:45 p.m. ET at the Exactech Arena at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center<https://www.oconnellcenter.ufl.edu/events/gymnastics-vs-denver-iowa-state/>.

Denver at Florida is the nation’s only top-10 matchup this weekend.

Arrive Early to Cheer Your Gators
Much is planned for the Exactech Arena’s first tri-meet since 2012. Be in your Exactech Arena seat by 6:45 p.m. to take in the floor projection show prior to the teams entering the competition floor.

Here’s some tips to expedite your trip to the Exactech Arena Friday:

Getting TO the Arena:

*   Season parking holders can enter the O’Connell Center lot off Lemerand Drive OR SW 2nd Avenue.
*   Public parking is available in the O’Connell Center parking garage on first-come basis. Those wishing to park in the garage must enter lot off SW 2nd Avenue.
*   A complimentary parking shuttle transports fans from which originates at the Commuter Lot on Lemerand Drive to the O’Connell Center. Parking map for Gator Gymnastics<https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__floridagators.com_sports_2015_12_10_-5Ffacilities-5Fparking-5Fgymnastics-5F.aspx&d=DwIFAg&c=sJ6xIWYx-zLMB3EPkvcnVg&r=o5LKAX7slotfFMyE71jI7L22NYBIi1-KbRGNSXudTPo&m=UwG9f7cn1H5zyadY6cxE_VpvLwgedeJhGhR5USIYAOA&s=q8xgbaqvnyHOdZqNXfiCa55qz0oHinXvGfUEaiuAd9Q&e= >
*   Use the Waze app<https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__www.waze.com_-3FDB-5FOEM-5FID-3D5200&d=DwIFAg&c=sJ6xIWYx-zLMB3EPkvcnVg&r=o5LKAX7slotfFMyE71jI7L22NYBIi1-KbRGNSXudTPo&m=UwG9f7cn1H5zyadY6cxE_VpvLwgedeJhGhR5USIYAOA&s=NxwFH9WHE2GIvkNxmi4fJYptg_iJ2cJLr-M4YUM471E&e= > to provide the best route to Commuter Lot.
*   For 5-10 minutes following Gator gymnastics meets, Lemerand Drive will close for north and south bound traffic from University Avenue to Stadium Road to provide pedestrians a safe exit.

Getting IN the Arena:

*   To get tickets ahead of Friday’s meet, visit the FloridaGators.com ticket site<https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__floridagators.com_sports_2015_12_10_-5Ftickets-5Fgymnastics-5F.aspx&d=DwIFAg&c=sJ6xIWYx-zLMB3EPkvcnVg&r=o5LKAX7slotfFMyE71jI7L22NYBIi1-KbRGNSXudTPo&m=UwG9f7cn1H5zyadY6cxE_VpvLwgedeJhGhR5USIYAOA&s=zeRAvXrk5VlXkIUX6CIlo6gZ7A8P-9fm2rvh0-Cu2o0&e= > or stop by the Gator Ticket Office (open Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.).
*   The O’Connell Center ticket windows open at 5 p.m., with the gates opening at 5:30 p.m. Gates 1 and 2 will be open for each gymnastics meet. UF students should enter at Gate 3.
Entry Gates for Gymnastics<https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__floridagators.com_images_2020_1_7_2020-5FGymnastics-5FMap-5Fwith-5F101-5F105-5Fas-5Freserved.png&d=DwIFAg&c=sJ6xIWYx-zLMB3EPkvcnVg&r=o5LKAX7slotfFMyE71jI7L22NYBIi1-KbRGNSXudTPo&m=UwG9f7cn1H5zyadY6cxE_VpvLwgedeJhGhR5USIYAOA&s=S9B-s7rXoP9n4R4pKz0ImkPGxsc1v9RlFjMjUXPwayU&e= >

*   Bags are checked before entering the building. Everyone will go through the O’Connell Center metal detectors when entering. When using the metal detectors fans need to empty their pockets prior to screening, then walk through the detector. After that, tickets will be scanned and then you are ready to cheer your Gators!

Friday’s Promotions:

*   Gator Gymnastics Socks – First 1,000 fans get a free pair of socks – just like the Gators wear!
*   Gator Gymnastics Autograph Night – Gators sign team posters after Friday’s competition.
*   Student Tailgate – Arrive early at Gate 3 Student entrance to enjoy free Domino’s pizza, games, live DJ from GHQ, free stuff, and more!
*   Comfort Temp Kid’s Corner – Located on the Practice Courts near Gate 4, kids can have their face painted, get a balloon animal, play games, make posters, meet the mascots & Dazzlers, and more!
*   Posters & Schedule Magnets – Make sure to grab a 2020 poster and schedule magnet at the marketing table in the main atrium throughout the meet.

How to Follow the Gators:
Follow the action live:

*   SEC Network +<https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__www.espn.com_watch-3Fid-3D3b3f79de-2Debae-2D4ff7-2D9914-2D208a1441489a&d=DwIFAg&c=sJ6xIWYx-zLMB3EPkvcnVg&r=o5LKAX7slotfFMyE71jI7L22NYBIi1-KbRGNSXudTPo&m=UwG9f7cn1H5zyadY6cxE_VpvLwgedeJhGhR5USIYAOA&s=67uEfswxAcDSC7RODo54r9uU1dZ6uCJt3ud1uLbnUNw&e= > – action called by Gator gymnastics alumnae Amanda Cheney and Stacey Abbott Gleim.
*   Live scores<https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__sidearmstats.com_florida_gym_&d=DwIFAg&c=sJ6xIWYx-zLMB3EPkvcnVg&r=o5LKAX7slotfFMyE71jI7L22NYBIi1-KbRGNSXudTPo&m=UwG9f7cn1H5zyadY6cxE_VpvLwgedeJhGhR5USIYAOA&s=nQMK7uJFPBteAtULc7nsdT9E8pm-LLDNMbMpN33Eotg&e= >

The Gators’ Last Meet:
Florida used the nation’s top total of the weekend for a 197.80 – 196.60 win at No. 12 Kentucky. That total stands No. 4 among the nation’s 2020 scores. The Gators swept the event standings. For the second consecutive week, sophomore Trinity Thomas posted the nation’s leading total of the weekend as her 39.725 claimed her third all-around win of 2020. Thomas also claimed the uneven bars (9.925), balance beam (9.95) and floor exercise (9.95) titles to raise her season total to 13 event wins. Freshman Payton Richards claimed her first collegiate event title after matching her collegiate vault best of 9.925. Florida turned in its season best (49.475) on vault to close January competition.

SEC Gymnast of the Week Honors for Trinity Thomas:
After posting the nation’s top all-around of the week (39.725) and claiming the bars, beam and floor titles at Kentucky, Gator sophomore Trinity Thomas is the SEC Gymnast of the Week<https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__floridagators.com_news_2020_2_4_gymnastics-2Dtrinity-2Dthomas-2Dis-2Dsec-2Dgymnast-2Dof-2Dthe-2Dweek.aspx&d=DwIFAg&c=sJ6xIWYx-zLMB3EPkvcnVg&r=o5LKAX7slotfFMyE71jI7L22NYBIi1-KbRGNSXudTPo&m=UwG9f7cn1H5zyadY6cxE_VpvLwgedeJhGhR5USIYAOA&s=y4gIe4OHkiKzSr-wckYXlAn_KHupYrqySmV_HxtYv-U&e= >.

It is her third honor the season and sixth of her career.

About the Denver Pioneers:
Denver is 9-1 in 2020 and Friday’s meet is the Pioneers fourth multi-team meet of the season. The Pioneers only loss came Jan. 25 versus No. 1 Oklahoma (197.525 – 196.575) at the Metroplex Challenge. DU’s Maddie Karr (39.620 average) and Lynnzee Brown (39.555) are No. 3 and No. 4, respectively, in the Feb. 3 Road to Nationals all-around standings. Brown was among the four-way tie for the 2019 NCAA floor exercise title, which included then Gator senior Alicia Boren.

When Florida and Denver last met, DU won the NCAA Corvallis Regional and the Gators finish third and did not advance to the 2019 NCAA Championships. Denver is the second team Florida faces in regular-season action that advanced to the 2019 NCAA team final.

The Pioneers are coached by Gator alumna Melissa Kutcher-Reinhart (1989-92). She was a member of Florida’s 1989 SEC Championship team.

About the Iowa State Cyclones:
Iowa State posted its season high of 196.625 at Georgia on Jan. 20. Friday’s meet is the fourth of a six-meet road stretch for the Cyclones. This is the first meeting between Florida and Iowa State since the 2009 season. Sophomore Ana Palacios competed as an all-arounder in the opening three meets and is the only Cyclone to compete all-around in 2020.

National Rank:
Florida – Florida is No. 2 in the Week 5 Road to Nationals rankings<https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__roadtonationals.com_results_standings_season_2020_5_0_5&d=DwIFAg&c=sJ6xIWYx-zLMB3EPkvcnVg&r=o5LKAX7slotfFMyE71jI7L22NYBIi1-KbRGNSXudTPo&m=UwG9f7cn1H5zyadY6cxE_VpvLwgedeJhGhR5USIYAOA&s=lctTzT67vfNdSRrJylh8QvRajC1lW8WunuraA7Wu6b0&e= >.
Denver – The Pioneers are No. 4.
Iowa State – The Cyclones are No. 18.

Andrew Spivey
Andrew always knew he wanted to be involved with sports in some capacity. He began by coaching high school football for six years before deciding to pursue a career in journalism. While coaching, he was a part of two state semifinal teams in the state of Alabama. Given his past coaching experience, he figured covering recruiting would be a perfect fit. He began his career as an intern for Rivals.com, covering University of Florida football recruiting. After interning with Rivals for six months, he joined the Gator Country family as a recruiting analyst. Andrew enjoys spending his free time on the golf course and watching his beloved Atlanta Braves. Follow him on Twitter at @AndrewSpiveyGC.