Florida Gators gymnastics opens 2019 season with a win

Special report on the Florida Gators gymnastics team:

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Gator gymnastics opened season and Southeastern Conference action with a 197.30-196.450 win over Missouri Friday evening in front of an enthusiastic Exactech Arena at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center crowd.

Tonight’s attendance of 8,446 is the second-highest season opening crowd for the Gator program.

Florida Event Winners Friday

Vault:

Alicia Boren

9.875

Uneven Bars:

Trinity Thomas

9.950

Balance Beam:

Alicia Boren

9.900

Rachel Gowey

9.900

Floor Exercise

Alicia Boren

9.925

Nya Reed

9.925

All-Around

Alicia Boren

39.575

TONIGHT’S MEET
Many teams around the nation opened the 2019 campaign last weekend. The Gators performance Friday looked as if they already were a few meets into their schedule, as their 197.30 is the program’s all-time season-opening high. It is also the second-highest opening total in the nation for 2019.

Florida won at least a share of each of the evening’s event titles. Senior Alicia Boren’s four titles includes matching her Gator all-time season-high all-around total of 39.575 for the second consecutive year. Boren shared three event titles. Freshman Nya Reed and Boren tied for the floor title (9.925). Boren and junior All-American Rachel Gowey each turned in the high beam mark of 9.90. Boren and Missouri’s Hannah McCrary shared the vault win (9.875).

Freshman Trinity Thomas’ 9.95 took the uneven bars win. Thomas also took second with the fourth-highest total (39.475) for a Gator making her all-around debut.

Five from Florida’s top-ranked freshmen class made their collegiate debuts tonight. In addition to Reed and Thomas, Leah Clapper, Sydney Johnson-Scharpf and Savannah Schoenherr each turned in some solid routines Friday.

GATOR PERFORMANCE NOTES:

*         Boren claimed her 12th all-around win tonight. She is the 11th Gator in the program’s 47-year history with a dozen or more all-around victories.

*         Thomas’ 9.95 is the second-highest season-opening bars mark in Florida history. All-American Melanie Sinclair opened the 2007 season with a 9.975 at the Super Six Challenge in Fayetteville, Ark.

*         Two Gators -Reed and Boren – equaled the Gators’ all-time season-opening floor mark (9.925). Of the seven gymnasts on that list, Boren is the only repeat. She also opened the 2018 season with a 9.925 floor win at West Virginia.

*         Florida’s 49.50 is the nation’s highest season opening uneven bars total of 2019.

SIDELINED GATORS:
A pair of Gator sophomores cheered from the sidelines Friday due to injury. All-American Alyssa Baumann’s fall during Thursday’s bars training resulted in her being transported to Shands Hospital for a precautionary evaluation. She will return to training and competition this season.

Jazmyn Foberg underwent elbow surgery in the fall. If her recovery goes well, she could return to competition late in the 2019 schedule.

RECORDS: Florida (1-0, 0-0 SEC), Missouri (3-1, 0-1 SEC).

THE SERIES: Florida leads the series 24-1.

HEAR FROM THE GATORS:
Opening Statement:
“Wow. I told the team at the end of the competition that they were super normal tonight – which is the best compliment I can give them. What they did out on the competition floor today was what we had been training in the gym. I know this team was itching and ready to go after starting one week after most of the teams. After this meet, it should continue. If this is what jitters look like first meet out, then it is going to be a spectacular year. Each team is memorable and this season is no different than any other.”

“We are going to go back and pick apart this meet, but today we are going to enjoy the moment and enjoy this win. We are going to celebrate this evening with lots of new people on this team. I am so thankful they all came together and had each other’s backs tonight.” – Florida Head Coach Jenny Rowland

On winning four event titles and another all-around title…
“I was really excited. I know a lot of people were like it’s your last first meet ever, but it was just another meet. Just have my teammates back and know they have mine, take it one event at a time. They definitely kept me calm, kept the nerves down. I think this is the most comfortable I’ve been going into the first meet of the season.” – senior All-American Alicia Boren

On what competing in her first collegiate meet felt like…
“I thought it was the most exciting thing ever. I was super excited, of course, going into my first college meet, but it was just like any other meet, except like 12 times more fun.” – freshman Trinity Thomas

On what she’ll remember from her first competition in the Exactech Arena…
“My first vault in the O’Dome is something I will always remember!” – freshman Nya Reed.

National Rank:
Florida – Florida is No. 3 in the Women’s Collegiate Gymnastics Association preseason poll<https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__www.wcgagym.com_news_pre-2Dseason-2Dcoaches-2Dpoll_&d=DwIFJg&c=pZJPUDQ3SB9JplYbifm4nt2lEVG5pWx2KikqINpWlZM&r=6MG06PG_fwpe7ULfewi6NrFR2j_4ngNZtgGHhDCeRY0&m=a56HIcWA2kEvM5_TpoNlh5dt6vYEVpEjT81u3QM4dT8&s=e5ggBzKEbqhUw5nK5sUxx31pgHXuoJinbetAfRPKa3U&e=>.
MU – The Tigers are No. 11 in the Road to Nationals standings<https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__roadtonationals.com_results_standings_&d=DwIFJg&c=pZJPUDQ3SB9JplYbifm4nt2lEVG5pWx2KikqINpWlZM&r=6MG06PG_fwpe7ULfewi6NrFR2j_4ngNZtgGHhDCeRY0&m=a56HIcWA2kEvM5_TpoNlh5dt6vYEVpEjT81u3QM4dT8&s=W9ay-lzpnus7A59YTNdkdyAWavO2umzfEjTOdZwixU8&e=>.

UP NEXT:
Florida travels to face No. 4 Louisiana State on Friday, Jan. 18 in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center. The meet is the bookend of a SEC Network triple-header and action begins at 9 p.m. ET.

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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.