The Gators will be without their sole senior for the rest of the season.
All-American Claire Boyce announced on Tuesday that her gymnastics career has come to a close because of lingering pain from a hip dysplasia surgery that sidelined her during her junior year, just two meets shy of Senior Day.
“Throughout this comeback, it’s been really hard,” Boyce said. “And in the end, I just couldn’t make it happen. I was in too much pain and it was affecting me too much.”
Boyce, who has been a part of four floor lineups this season, notched her season-best score of 9.875 against Georgia on Feb. 10.
During her collegiate career, the Joshua, Texas, native racked up a slew of honors on beam and floor.
As a sophomore, she earned All-American honors during the 2014 NCAA Championship as the leadoff on floor, helping the Gators nab the program’s third straight national title.
That year, she also earned 2015 All-SEC honors on beam and won seven event titles (six beam, one bars).
She holds collegiate-bests of 9.95 (beam), 9.90 (floor) and 9.875 (bars).
“It’s a decision that nobody ever wants to hear,” Florida coach Jenny Rowland said. “But at the end, I think it’s a good decision for her. It’s a decision we respect completely and know that her health is most important.”
Boyce has been fighting through the pain in order to help her team succeed this season, which hasn’t been easy on her or her body.
The surgery she underwent normally results in the end of an athlete’s career, and Boyce could have quit after last season.
But she didn’t.
“Her surgery isn’t easy to get past,” Rowland said. “That in itself just goes to show the grit of this athlete, the dedication, the determination and what she is willing to do for her team.”
Throughout the season, Boyce’s younger teammates — especially the freshmen — have said that she is a role model for them and is always there for them.
“She definitely took us all under her wing,” freshman Rachel Gowey said. “Claire was very helpful to us and very nice coming in. … She kind of helped us kind of transition into this new life.”
While she may not be competing, she will still be honored on Senior Day against West Virginia on March 10, and will be there to help her team in any way that she can.
“My goal was to do everything I possibly could to get back to competing for this team,” Boyce said. “The best thing for me at this point is going to be to step away and serve as a different person for the team.”