Special report on the Florida Gators gymnastics team:
BATON ROUGE, La. – It was exactly what was expected for a meeting of top-five gymnastics teams. After trading the lead back and forth, it was No. 3 Florida hitting every routine on its final rotation to surge ahead to take a 197.50 – 197.425 win at No. 5 Louisiana State.
Tonight’s attendance of 12,093 at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center is the seventh highest in LSU history. Three of LSU’s top seven crowds are versus Florida.
UF-LSU Series Notes:
* Competitions between these two programs are traditionally tight. Florida’s 0.075 margin of victory tonight is the 17th span of half a point or less in the last 21 meetings.
* LSU last lost at home one day shy of six years ago (Jan. 19, 2013 – 197.725-197.50 vs No. 5 Alabama).
* This is the first Florida win in four visits to Baton Rouge. The Gators last won a dual in the PMAC in 2011.
* Tonight’s result ends the Tigers’ four dual meet win streak in the UF-LSU series.
Gators opened with a solid uneven bars set, led by freshman Trinity Thomas’ team high 9.925. Florida also received 9.90s from Amelia Hundley and Megan Skaggs. Florida led by the slenderest of margins, 0.025 after the opening rotation.
The Tigers took a midpoint two-tenths lead after its final three uneven bars performers went 9.925 or better. Thomas’ 9.875 was the Gators’ top vault score among UF’s season-high event total of 49.225.
Florida used three consecutive floor marks of 9.9 or better to narrow the Tiger lead to 0.075 heading into the final rotation. Florida’s Nya Reed and Alicia Boren each posted 9.90 and Thomas posted UF’s season-best of 9.95 to share the event title.
A six-for-six balance beam set gave the Gators the winning margin. The final four Gators – Boren, Rachel Gowey, Thomas and Alyssa Baumann – all turned in marks of 9.9 or better. Gowey’s 9.925 won the evening’s beam title.
LSU senior Sarah Finnegan won all-around (39.70), vault (9.925), bars (9.975) and shared the floor win at 9.95 with Thomas.
GATOR PERFORMANCE NOTES:
* Gowey has used marks of 9.90 or better to win both beam titles this season. It is her eighth beam win of her Gator career.
* Thomas’ 39.65 took second in the all-around and set Florida’s 2019 high total. She also was second on vault (9.875) and shared third on bars (9.925)
* Four Gators took either first or second on beam. Behind Gowey’s winning mark of 9.925, Baumann, Boren and Thomas were among a five-way tie for second.
* Florida turned in three team season highs Friday – team (197.50), vault (49.225) and beam (49.475).
RECORDS: Florida (2-0, 2-0 SEC), LSU (1-2, 0-2 SEC).
THE SERIES: Florida leads the series 71-40.
HEAR FROM THE GATORS:
How does this one feel?
“It feels great. Super excited and joyful for this team. They reaped the benefits tonight of the hard work they have been putting in the gym. They’ve been going in day in and day out, putting in the numbers like everyone else, but when we come out on the floor there was such a sense of calmness that is such an eerie feeling, but a great feeling as well.
“But this team did a fabulous job. I’d say we came out a little timid tonight, a little reserved, nothing extreme, but a little cautious. But after the first event, the Gators started getting on a roll so I was very proud to see them settle down a bit and just do what they’ve been doing.” – Florida coach Jenny Rowland
How does this one feel?
“This one feels amazing, especially since last year we lost at home [to LSU]. To come here and win, it’s just a great feeling and it really sets us up for the rest of the season knowing that if we could do this we could do anything.” – sophomore All-American Alyssa Baumann
What did it feel like tonight?
“It was really different. They were cheering loud for LSU but I pretended that they were cheering for us and used it to my advantage. I thought it was so much fun.” – freshman Trinity Thomas
What does this win feel like?
“I can’t even put it into words right now and what this team feels. Honestly going into beam we were a little shaky here and there but then we got it together and did what we know best which is to just be normal. We feel so good.” – senior All-American Alicia Boren
Florida – Florida is No. 3 in the Road to National standings<https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__roadtonationals.com_results_standings_&d=DwIFJg&c=pZJPUDQ3SB9JplYbifm4nt2lEVG5pWx2KikqINpWlZM&r=6MG06PG_fwpe7ULfewi6NrFR2j_4ngNZtgGHhDCeRY0&m=1PzIq_j2KCqSZZ0KB6laL2p67lKSGrtJWTiuHQ5TBos&s=8qcaVx4V9NCTbfEMhHmivYKQTBMFn47vk8HRuihH5L8&e=>.
LSU – The Tigers are No. 5 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=1PzIq_j2KCqSZZ0KB6laL2p67lKSGrtJWTiuHQ5TBos&s=8qcaVx4V9NCTbfEMhHmivYKQTBMFn47vk8HRuihH5L8&e=>.
It’s an early start for Florida’s next competition.
The Gators play host to No. 15 Kentucky Friday, Jan. 25 in the Exactech Arena at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center<https://www.oconnellcenter.ufl.edu/events/gymnastics-vs-kentucky-2/>. The meet kicks off a SEC Network triple-header at 5:45 p.m.
There is plenty planned for fans for the UF-UK completion.
* Let O’Connell Center concessions help with Friday’s dinner plans. There is reduced concession pricing for the UF-UK meet.
* Enhance your wardrobe by adding a pair of socks – just like what the Gators wear. The first 1,000 fans get a pair of socks!
* Following Friday’s meet, the Gators will sign autographs.
No. 3 Florida at No. 5 Louisiana State
Final Team Totals
Jan. 18, 2019 ● Pete Maravich Assembly Center (12,093)