McMurtry

UF gymnast Alex McMurtry sprints during a routine in Florida's win against Missouri on Feb. 24, 2017, in the O'Connell Center.

Grace King / Alligator Staff

When she’s competing, Alex McMurtry feeds off of the energy of her team and the crowd.

But it’s not the only thing she eats during Florida’s meets.

The junior is never without a Snickers candy bar, which gives her a boost of energy when she needs it most, especially right before a physically demanding floor routine.

“Growing up I started that trend, and I’m a pretty superstitious person,” McMurtry said on Wednesday. “Even if it’s just a bite, I feel like I have to do it.”

The nougat candy has helped shape her into the preeminent gymnast on Florida’s roster.

During the regular season, McMurtry became the first Gator to score a 10.0 on three different events (bars, floor, vault) in a single season, despite only competing all-around three times.

She also came within striking distance of perfection on beam and a coveted gymslam, a perfect 10 in each of the four events, notching three 9.95s on the apparatus.

The Midlothian, Virginia, native is hoping to carry that same momentum into the postseason.

However, as the Gators will be on podium this Saturday at the SEC Gymnastic Championships, another perfect score may be hard to come by for her.

Unlike the regular season, teams compete on a raised platform — called a podium — during the SECs and NCAAs, which is more springy than the concrete floor the equipment usually sits on.

The gymnasts competing on floor stand a few feet above their teammates on the sideline.

“The forgiveness that the podium gives on the body is fabulous,” Florida coach Jenny Rowland said. “The girls love it. It’s a great opportunity that the girls are showcased one other time. It makes you feel special.”

But while podium training isn’t common at the college level, all but one of the Gators, the exception being freshman Sierra Alexander, are familiar with it.

Freshman Amelia Hundley, who is a former U.S. National Team Member, is excited to be back on it in her first postseason appearance.

"I know how to adjust to it," she said. "There are little differences in each event I always know how to accommodate to.”

Contact Lauren Staff at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @lstaff27.