The Florida gymnasts were silent as they took their seats in front of the post-meet press conference Friday night. It wasn’t the attitude of a team that had just ended its last home competition with its second-highest meet total of the season. A somber mood settled over the room like a wet blanket.
Senior Alex McMurtry dominated in No. 5 UF’s 197.925-196.700 win over Nebraska. She took all five event titles on the night. However, the team was more focused on what Friday’s meet marked the end of.
The victory fell on the Gators’ Senior Night, when the team celebrated the careers of McMurtry, Kennedy Baker, Grace McLaughlin and Rachel Slocum.
“It is the meet that is the most emotional over the course of the entire season,” coach Jenny Rowland said in a release. “It was a great finish to the regular season.”
Motivated by the bittersweet knowledge that it was the last home meet of her collegiate career, McMurtry kept her composure to end the night with a win in all five events. Her achievement stands alongside Ashanee Dickerson, the last Gator to claim each event title at LSU in 2011.
“I was lucky enough, and I was prepared enough to put on a show in every event,” McMurtry said. “That’s the note you wanna end on.”
McMurtry’s top scores against Nebraska (11-3, 5-0 Big Ten) included an all-around win of 39.825, equaling UF’s all-around record set by Alaina Johnson and Bridget Sloan in 2014. It was only McMurtry’s third time competing in the all-around this year, as a lingering back injury kept her off the floor event for most of the season. The 15-time All-American showed she hadn’t missed a step when she equaled her highest floor score on the season at 9.925, locking in her last two titles of the night.
McMurtry has made a significant impact on Gators gymnastics in her career at UF. In four short years she has scored a 10.0 in each event and earned SEC Gymnast of the Year honors in 2017. Her perseverance and excellence throughout each season are traits Rowland will miss as she says goodbye to McMurtry and her fellow seniors.
“Alex talked about being able to touch people’s lives,” Rowland said. “I am not the same person (after) working with this team this year. Really, this team is better together.”
In a meet that celebrated the achievements of its seniors, the night was also highlighted by freshman Jazmyn Foberg. Foberg placed third in vault and second in bars with collegiate bests of 9.990 and 9.950, respectively. Five Gators posted 10 collegiate or season bests, a confidence booster for Florida (8-2, 5-2 SEC) as it prepares for the SEC Championships on March 24.
“I needed that confidence going into postseason,” McMurtry said. “We still have a lot in us.”
Follow Alana Gomez on Twitter @alanaa_gomez and contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Senior Alex McMurtry tied a school record with a 39.825 in all-around against Nebraska on Friday.