In the last routine of the night for the Gators, Alex McMurtry took a deep breath, saluted the judges and grabbed onto the bars.
After hitting four perfect handstands, the NCAA All-Around champion stuck her landing, sealing her junior season with yet another perfect 10.
“She really is a true leader for this team,” Florida coach Jenny Rowland. “She carries the weight of this team on her shoulders. She’s a gem.”
But Florida, who trailed for most of the meet, ran out of routines to catch up to Oklahoma, finishing third at the NCAA Championships with a team score of 197.7.
The Sooners repeated as National Champions with a 198.3875, the highest score in Super Six history, while LSU edged out Florida as runner-up in the last rotation.
"This team did a tremendous job of fighting,'' Rowland said. "We had a few mistakes, but everybody came back to cover each other and really, that's what this team has been about all year long. I'm extremely proud."
The Gators started off solid on beam in the first rotation, with McMurtry scoring a team-high 9.9125 as anchor.
The only mistake was a fall by freshman Rachel Gowey on her triple series, which Florida was able to drop.
After a solid rotation on floor, highlighted by two 9.95s from Alicia Boren and McMurtry, Florida struggled to stick their vaults, an event that they had been solid on all season.
Boren couldn’t find her landing, and her yurchenko one and a half twist earned her only a 9.65, just a year after falling in last year’s championship meet.
Despite a fall from Maegan Chant on bars, Florida finished their final rotation with a 49.5375, it’s highest scoring rotation of the night.
It was not the result the Gators had hoped for.
But the team ended the night playing in the rainbow streamers and Gator chomping towards the crowd at Chaifetz Arena in St. Louis, ending the 2017 season with smiles on their faces.
“We’re a team. We’re a family,” Rowland said. “… [I] couldn’t be more proud of this team."
An article posted to FloridaGators.com and a TV broadcast contributed to this story.