Florida Gators gymnastics starts the 2020 season on Friday

Special report on the Florida Gators gymnastics team:

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Florida gymnastics kicks off the 2020 season this Friday. Preseason No. 3 Florida opens with a home dual versus No. 19 Arkansas.

The meet starts at 6:45 p.m. in the Exactech Arena at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center<https://www.oconnellcenter.ufl.edu/events/gymnastics-vs-arkansas/>.

This is the first of nine consecutive Florida meets versus Women’s Collegiate Gymnastics Association (WCGA) preseason top 25 teams.

Arrive Early to Cheer Your Gators
Much is planned for the 2020 Gator home opener. Be in your Exactech Arena seat by 6:45 p.m. to take in the new floor projection show which leads into the Gators first entrance for the 2020 campaign.

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=Gx7UhCCz5rKuUrLocQDzhDylMluCVOYvPGwCZ1cfphQ&s=5ydklXZSY3rnYyPGe9SbW0NYHLdq78OSsMEumqzjt-4&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=Gx7UhCCz5rKuUrLocQDzhDylMluCVOYvPGwCZ1cfphQ&s=wxsMb2YprFRSA2S9QHU1NSTzDuz28Jb4sGYOR1IYS8w&e= > to provide the best route to Commuter Lot.
*   For 10-15 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=Gx7UhCCz5rKuUrLocQDzhDylMluCVOYvPGwCZ1cfphQ&s=-DNkJGTssY1SYUs1AvAkBmKcEzYB6FATAwFJYYpuiBQ&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=Gx7UhCCz5rKuUrLocQDzhDylMluCVOYvPGwCZ1cfphQ&s=ekpX5ZGjY1qgfw3RBfrG_385Dz04uG-WkmKobY1L64s&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:

*   Premeet – Performance by Sun Country Sports Center
*   Pop-Socket Giveaway – First 2,000 fans receive a pop-socket commemorating Gators’ 2019 SEC title
*   Chick-fil-A Student Tailgate – Arrive early at Gate 3  to enjoy the Chick-fil-A nugget bar, great music from GHQ, games, giveaways, 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, get autographs from the 2019 SEC champion Gator volleyball team, take a photo with the 2019 SEC gymnastics trophy, 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-3D32bdb14f-2D13f8-2D4475-2Db4f7-2D749a5ea94de7&d=DwIFAg&c=sJ6xIWYx-zLMB3EPkvcnVg&r=o5LKAX7slotfFMyE71jI7L22NYBIi1-KbRGNSXudTPo&m=Gx7UhCCz5rKuUrLocQDzhDylMluCVOYvPGwCZ1cfphQ&s=JJM8gwECP-SlyvL2Bng64Bwv9OQGXJHjLIODJpwWdds&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=Gx7UhCCz5rKuUrLocQDzhDylMluCVOYvPGwCZ1cfphQ&s=51fWvFXFxq5cIvRDOk5yb_6oeFh1U4ZCdfneXx12wBM&e= >

The 2020 Gators:
Florida returns six with 17 All-America honors – Alyssa Baumann, Rachel Gowey, Amelia Hundley, Savannah Schoenherr, Megan Skaggs and Trinity Thomas.

An asset for the 2020 Gators is depth, as the coaching staff has many options to fill out the six-member lineup card. Twenty Gators routines return from the 2019 NCAA Regional final.

For the third time in the program’s 48-year history, just one freshman joins the Gator roster for the 2020 season (also one freshman in 1984 and 1990). Payton Richards of Mokena, Ill., shared the 2017 Junior Olympic Level 10 Senior A beam title and was runner-up in all-around and bars. She recorded three top-four individual finishes in 2018 JO Senior D competition – floor exercise (tied for third), all-around (4th) and uneven bars (T4th). Although she alone makes up Florida’s freshman class, the Gators’ are the top team beyond CollegeGymFans.com annual ranking of the top 10 freshmen classes<https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__www.collegegymfans.com_news-2Dsp-2D743792805_features_articles_item_9896-2Dcollegegymfans-2Dcom-2Dtop-2Drecruiting-2Dclasses-2Dof-2D2019-2D2020.html&d=DwIFAg&c=sJ6xIWYx-zLMB3EPkvcnVg&r=o5LKAX7slotfFMyE71jI7L22NYBIi1-KbRGNSXudTPo&m=Gx7UhCCz5rKuUrLocQDzhDylMluCVOYvPGwCZ1cfphQ&s=bD0_AxWVF3XkjXNPubc-T3eIjUYuzRBNSEgeCieDgkk&e= >.

Florida in 2019:
Florida won the 2019 Southeastern Conference regular-season title with a 6-1 record. It was UF’s first since the league began recognizing regular-season titles in 2017 and the 11th SEC crown for the Gator program. Four Gators won individual titles at the SEC Championships – Trinity Thomas (vault), Alyssa Baumann (beam), Rachel Gowey (beam) and Megan Skaggs (beam). Thomas became the ninth Gator (and first since 2015) to claim the SEC Freshman of the Year honor.

The Gators missed advancing to the 2019 NCAA Championships after taking third in the NCAA Corvallis Regional final. It was the second time in the NCAA Championships’ 38-year history Florida didn’t advance to the. Florida’s Alicia Boren claimed a share of the NCAA floor title, becoming the third Gator to win the floor crown. NCAA Championships. Four Gators advanced as individual competitors to the 2019 NCAA Championships, with Boren and then freshmen Savannah Schoenherr and Thomas earning All-America honors.

About the Razorbacks:
Friday’s meet opens the head coaching career of Arkansas’ Jordyn Wieber. A member of the U.S.’s gold medal team at the 2012 Olympics and 2011 World all-around champion, Wieber served as team manager at UCLA for three seasons and was the Bruins volunteer coach the last three seasons. The Bruins advanced to the NCAA team final each of the last four seasons, winning the 2018 NCAA Championship. She replaced Mark Cook, who led the Razorbacks from the program’s first season in 2003 until his retirement at the conclusion of the 2019 season. The Razorbacks posted a 2019 dual meet record of 1-7 and finished eighth in the SEC.

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__floridagators.com_news_2019_12_11_gymnastics-2Dgators-2Dno-2D3-2Don-2Dpreseason-2Dpoll.aspx&d=DwIFAg&c=sJ6xIWYx-zLMB3EPkvcnVg&r=o5LKAX7slotfFMyE71jI7L22NYBIi1-KbRGNSXudTPo&m=Gx7UhCCz5rKuUrLocQDzhDylMluCVOYvPGwCZ1cfphQ&s=Jyed5O5HwINUSC6IJX8o3fI7o8ij3L3NOkADbfgxw3U&e= >.
Arkansas – The Razorbacks are No. 19 on the preseason poll.

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.