For the fifth year in a row, the Florida gymnastics team proved that starting off the season away from home has no effect on its performance. The Gators (1-0) kicked off their 2018 schedule with a 195.900-194.425 win over West Virginia (0-1) on Friday night at the WVU Coliseum.
Junior Alicia Boren registered a 39.575 all-around score, the highest individual score to open a season in UF history, breaking the previous record of 39.550 recorded by Ashanée Dickerson in 2011 against Nebraska.
“I thought I did pretty good for the first meet,” Boren said in a release. “I always get really nervous and last night we really focused on believing in yourself and thinking positive thoughts so good things can happen. [Assistant Coach] Adrian [Burde] told us that, so I think I applied it pretty well for our first meet.”
The No. 2 Gators returned to action following a third-place finish in last year’s NCAA Super Six, and as they walked onto the floor of the coliseum on Friday, they carried an air of confidence. Boren led off the uneven bars for UF, matching her career high with a 9.900 performance to wash away any first-meet jitters for her teammates.
Boren and senior Alex McMurtry — a pair of All-Americans — eventually combined to win all four events, with Boren’s scores of 9.925 and 9.900 clinching floor and beam, respectively, while McMurtry’s scores of 9.925 and 9.900 secured victories in bars and vault.
Sophomore Rachel Gowey and freshman Alyssa Baumann also registered a score of 9.900 on beam to tie Boren for first, while sophomore Amelia Hundley finished third in bars with a score 9.850 and freshman Jazmyn Foberg finish third in floor with a score of 9.825.
“The freshmen did a great job tonight,” coach Jenny Rowland said in a release. “Jazzy [Foberg] competed unexpectedly in the all-around and did a fabulous job, hitting four-for-four.”
Foberg helped show off Florida’s No. 1 ranked four-member freshman class with her floor performance, where her finish was greeted with applause and excitement from her teammates. Foberg also ended the night fourth in vault with a score of 9.825, just behind her more experienced teammates of McMurtry and Boren.
The Gators will now return to Gainesville where they will face No. 3 LSU on Jan. 12 at the O’Connell Center.
“I think there is a lot to take away from this meet – good and bad,” Rowland said. “Anything that was good, they can take away with a lot of confidence. Anything that wasn’t exactly how they planned it to go, they can take it and work on it for the next meet. This season is a marathon so there will be lots of opportunities to come.”
An article from floridagators.com contributed to this report.