Florida coach Jenny Rowland didn’t smile at the beginning of the Gators beam rotation Friday night. Her face held the same stern acceptance it had a week ago when senior Kennedy Baker tore her Achilles tendon against Arkansas, ending her collegiate career and leaving UF with one less All-American.
For Rowland, this portrait of defeat didn’t change as Missouri took down No. 5 Florida 196.925-196.700 in the Hearnes Center in Columbia.
“It is easy to get a little down after a loss,” senior Alex McMurtry said in a release. “I thought we kept it together and the team showed a lot of fight.”
Missouri entered the meet on a high from its then-season best winning total of 196.625 in its triangular meet at Illinois on Feb. 25. The Tigers proved this was a feat they didn’t intend to give away against the Gators (7-2, 5-2 SEC), taking the lead over Florida by 0.075 points in the third rotation. UF started the third rotation on floor, finishing only 0.35 points ahead of its lowest floor score this season.
The Gators floor round featured two falls, one from freshman Jazmyn Foberg in a season-low of 9.050 and another from sophomore Rachel Gowey with her notch of 9.225. Florida was forced to rearrange its floor lineup with the loss of Baker. The senior made a large contribution to the event over the past two years, recording three perfect 10.0s.
“It was tricky tonight due to the holes without Kenn [Baker] and [Rachel] Slocum,” McMurtry said. “My personal goal tonight was to be loud for the team.”
Despite the loss, a UF gymnast did win each of the four events. McMurtry clinched a first-place finish in bars, beam and vault with scores of 9.950, 9.950 and 9.925, respectively, while junior Alicia Boren and freshman Alyssa Baumann tied for the lead on floor with scores of 9.925. Boren also took all-around for the sixth time this season, leading the Missouri meet with a score of 39.500
“We need to believe in each other. We all have a job to do and we know we are capable of doing that job,” Boren said. “We’ll be ready for next week.”