Alyssa Baumann finished her beam routine amongst chants for a 10 from her teammates.
The freshman’s 9.975 put her in first place in the event and pushed the Gators to lead the SEC Championships at the end of the second rotation.
The energy was short lived, however, as Florida’s next routine on floor knocked it out of the running and LSU took the conference crown for a second consecutive season. The Gators wrapped up the SECs Saturday night in third with a final score of 196.825.
Florida entered the Chaifetz Arena in St. Louis, Missouri, as the No. 2 seed. It began the meet strong, ending its bars routine tied with LSU in second at 49.400. The event was led by three Gators, with senior Alex McMurtry placing first with a score of 9.950. Sophomores Amelia Hundley and Rachel Gowey followed after her at 9.900 to tie in second with three other LSU gymnasts.
UF’s second rotation was dominated by Baumann’s balance beam win, her third beam title on the year. Her 9.975 clinched a Florida lead for the first and last time Saturday night, as the Gators would not move above third place for the rest of the SECs.
In what should've been a smooth transition to the floor, Florida’s third rotation featured two slip ups in what eventually brought it down to its third-place finish. Freshman Megan Skaggs was the first to misstep, as she struggled to regain her balance in a routine that ended at a 9.175 for the night. Just after her was McMurtry, who, on her last pass, stumbled to the end of the podium and fell backwards out of bounds to the edge of the mat. Her season low floor score of 9.125 settled the Gators in fourth heading into their last rotation.
Although McMurtry bounced back to finish the night in first place on vault and junior Alicia Boren took second place in floor at 9.900 and all-around at 39.475, it wasn't enough for the Gators. Florida’s ending total of 48.400 on floor, which tied its season low from its matchup with Georgia on Feb. 16, proved to weigh stronger for UF as it finished in third place.
The Gators will have an opportunity to redeem themselves at the NCAA Regional Championships on April 7.
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UF freshman Alyssa Baumann placed first in the balance beam event, her third win of the season, at the SEC Championships in St. Louis, Missouri. The Gators finished third with a score of 196.825.