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Monday, April 22, 2024
<p>UF gymnast Kennedy Baker hugs teammate Alicia Boren and celebrates with teammates during Florida's win over Auburn on Friday night in the O'Connell Center.&nbsp;</p>

UF gymnast Kennedy Baker hugs teammate Alicia Boren and celebrates with teammates during Florida's win over Auburn on Friday night in the O'Connell Center. 

In the last routine of the meet, junior All-American Kennedy Baker stepped up to the mat.

As her name was announced, the O’Connell Center, filled with 9,108 fans, erupted.

With Missy Elliot’s “Get Your Freak On” blaring in the background, Baker went in for her first pass - a Piked Arabian double front.

“I stuck it and I was (like) “OK. I can do it, I can get a ten,” Baker thought.

Then she went for her second pass - a double pike, and stuck it.

“And then I did my second pass and I was like “yeah,” Baker said. “And then I did my last pass and was I like “it should happen.”

And it did.

Baker scored Florida’s first perfect 10 of the season, putting on a tumbling clinic and helping the No. 3 Gators defeat No. 16 Auburn 197.7-196.4.

“It felt so good,” Baker said. “I just felt really good to get a ten. Again.”

Florida (4-0, 2-0 SEC) remains undefeated on the season and won its 11th straight Link to Pink Meet in the O’Dome.

And while Baker’s perfect score headlined the night, it was a team win from start to finish.

In addition to Baker’s floor title, the Gators had a different athlete win each of the other three event titles, on bars Amelia Hundley (9.95), on beam Rachel Gowey (9.925), and on vault Alex McMurtry (9.95).

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Hundley also won her first all-around title, notching an overall score 39.550, and became the first freshman to win the title since sophomore Alicia Boren at last year’s Link to Pink meet.

She set a career high both the bars and beam (9.90).

“I was very excited, I wasn’t expecting that at all,” Hundley said. “When they called it was really neat. I’m more happy about the team doing well. … I was really trying to do it for the team.”

This is the first time the Gators have scored at least a 197.10 in their first four meets in school history.

“We had some phenomenal performances tonight,” Florida coach Jenny Rowland said. “It’s a marathon of a season, it's not a sprint. So I’m very pleased with how the team has been building from meet to meet.”

lstaff@alligator.org

@lstaff27

UF gymnast Kennedy Baker hugs teammate Alicia Boren and celebrates with teammates during Florida's win over Auburn on Friday night in the O'Connell Center. 

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