Florida Gators gymnastics wins at Alabama for first time since 1979

Special report on the Florida Gators gymnastics team:

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – It’s been 40 years since the Gators gymnastics team won a dual meet at the University of Alabama. Tonight, No. 2 Florida became the only the second Gator team – and first since 1979 – to claim a dual meet win in Tuscaloosa.

The Gators took the rare win with a 197.325 -196.475 decision over the Tide Friday evening in front of 12,828 at the Coleman Coliseum.

Florida-Alabama Notes:

*         This was Florida’s first dual meet win in Tuscaloosa since Feb. 3, 1979 – a span of 40 years and 12 days. The Gators made 16 consecutive dual meet visits to Tuscaloosa without a win. The Gators last registered a win in Coleman Coliseum when they claimed the 1985 Southeastern Conference title.

*         Friday was the 56th consecutive meeting (dating back to the 2002 NCAA Championships) that both Florida and Alabama ranked in the top 10.

*         Alabama leads Florida 29-25-2 in that span since 2002, but since 2011, Florida owns a slight 14-12-1 edge. This was the first time in the last 17 meetings that the visiting team took the win.

TONIGHT’S MEET
Some problems with handstands and steps on landings resulted in Florida’s lowest uneven bars total of the season (49.175). Junior Amelia Hundley’s runner-up mark of 9.875 led the Gators.

Florida posted its second-highest vault total of the season (49.30) to take a 0.125 led at the meet’s midpoint. Freshman Trinity Thomas claimed her first vault title by equaling her collegiate best of 9.90 for the second consecutive week. Sophomore Alyssa Baumann made her first 2019 vault lineup appearance Friday, receiving a collegiate-best 9.875 for her Yurchenko one and a half. She tied for second with Alabama’s Ariana Guerra and Abby Armbrecht.

Floor was red-hot for the Gators Friday, equaling the second-highest total for the event in program history (49.725). Four Gators set or equaled collegiate floor bests Friday – Nya Reed (9.925), Alicia Boren (9.975), Thomas (9.975) and Baumann (9.95).

Florida closed the meet on beam, using four marks of 9.875 or better to tally a 49.125. Thomas and sophomore Megan Skaggs shared second on the event at 9.90.

Thomas took her second consecutive all-around win (39.525) and Boren was runner-up (39.20). Alabama’s Lexi Graber took the beam win (9.925) and Ariana Guerra topped the bars standings (9.90).

GATOR PERFORMANCE NOTES:

*         Florida’s floor total (49.725) shares No. 2 all-time for Florida and is stands No. 2 in the nation for 2019. It equals UF’s highest floor tally on the road (also 49.725 in 2013 NCAA Super Six).

*         The 9.975 for Alicia Boren sets her collegiate-best. She received a 9.95 in 10 previous meets.

*         Six Gators set or equaled nine collegiate-best marks in Friday’s road action:

o    Alyssa Baumann – 9.875 (vault) and 9.95 (floor)

o    Alicia Boren – 9.975 (floor)

o    Leah Clapper – 9.875 (beam)

o    Nya Reed – 9.875 (vault) and 9.925 (floor)

o    Megan Skaggs – 9.90 (beam)

o    Trinity Thomas – 9.90 (vault) and 9.975 (floor)

RECORDS: Florida (5-1, 5-0 SEC), UA (8-3, 3-2 SEC)

THE SERIES: Alabama leads the series 74-45-2.

HEAR FROM THE GATORS:
On the Gators getting the win on the road versus Alabama…

“This team just came in clutch tonight. Not our best performances on certain events, certain routines but overall this team never gave up through the entire competition. They fought with a lot of heart and I couldn’t be more proud of them.” – Florida coach Jenny Rowland

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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.