Only two weeks have passed since the Gators gymnastics team saw a 10.0 score on the mats of the O’Connell center. This proved too long for Florida, which ended its home match against Alabama on Friday night with a 10.0 on the floor from senior Kennedy Baker, her third perfect score in the routine in the past two years.
Her score was, as she likes to say, “icing on the cake” to an all-around win for the No. 5 Gators over No. 9 Alabama 197.850-197.075.
Jenny Rowland was all smiles in the Florida gymnastics team’s practice facility Tuesday morn…
“After my first pass I could feel it,” Baker said. “The rest was easy.”
Florida (5-1, 3-1 SEC) began the match trailing behind the Crimson Tide (3-3, 3-2 SEC) by .025 in a first rotation on vault that featured three back-to-back scores of 9.825 from sophomores Maegan Chant, Amelia Hundley and freshman Jazmyn Foberg. The team then picked up on the passion from their home crowd in the bars routine, where it posted a total score of 49.500, its highest total in the event this season.
“I think everybody's on a bit of a high right now,” coach Jenny Rowland said. “This team accepted the challenge and handled it with a lot of grace.”
Senior Alex McMurtry entered Friday night’s action coming off two 10.0s against No. 1 Oklahoma on Jan. 26 and a fall off the beam in the Gators win over Auburn on Feb. 2. She showed her versatility against Alabama, leading the match in vault and bars with scores of 9.975 and 9.950, respectively.
“We just had a strong week of practice and brought it into the meet tonight,” McMurtry said.
Following her teammate’s example, junior Alicia Boren made strides Friday night, placing second in bars, beam and floor. Boren topped her collegiate best in bars with a score of 9.925, and matched her season bests in beam and floor. She took all-around with a score of 39.600, placing above Hundley and Alabama’s Kiana Winston.
“I’ve really been focusing on being confident in myself,” Boren said. “I definitely struggle with that.”
In addition to a season high overall on bars, the Gators also made a 2018 best on floor with a total score of 49.625
“Everybody came forward and said something that they want to work on today,” Rowland said. “Some said that they didn’t want to be perfect tonight, they wanted to be great, but not perfect.”