Alex McMurtry didn’t show any signs of anxiety as she took a quick breather and rolled her shoulders back for the final pass of her floor routine.
The Gators were leading Saturday night’s SEC Championships after freshman Alyssa Baumann posted a first-place score of 9.975 on beam. All McMurtry needed to do was perform as she always does on floor to help the No. 5 Gators clinch their 11th SEC title.
With one final glance down at the mat, the 15-time All-American sped forward and launched into her final pass. But as she came down from her last flip, she stumbled and fell out of bounds and onto her back.
“It is hard to be one of the routines that had a mistake, but it is a learning lesson,” McMurtry said in a release.
At the end of the rotation, Florida dropped from first to fourth place with a score 147.350. It never recovered from McMurtry’s mistake, finishing the meet in third behind LSU and Alabama with a score of 196.825.
McMurtry’s mishap came just after freshman Megan Skaggs’ routine, where she also stumbled on her first pass and ended with a 9.175. Florida’s score of 48.400 on floor marked the team’s lowest score on the event this season.
“The team was somber after the meet,” coach Jenny Rowland said. “They came in hungry and ready, but unfortunately, a couple of falters brought the mood down.”
The night didn’t start out that way, however. Florida opened the meet as the No. 2 seed in the SEC. The Gators’ confidence showed through their opening rotation on bars, where McMurtry took the title with a score of 9.950. McMurtry also placed first in the meet’s last event, showing resilience with a 9.975 vault that followed her floor slip up. Keeping the Gators afloat was junior Alicia Boren, who tied for a first-place finish on floor with a score of 9.900 and came in second in the all-around with a score of 39.475.
“There were some well-executed and very confident performances,” Rowland said. “We fell short on one event.”
Florida won’t forget Saturday night’s floor routine. The rotation will weigh heavy on the gymnasts’ minds as they head into a week off before the NCAA Regionals on April 7. The field for the NCAA Championships will be announced today at 4 p.m. and will be streamed on NCAA.com.
“We just have one more event to put together, and then it’s going to be gold,” Rowland said.
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Florida senior Alex McMurtry stumbled and fell during her floor routine at the SEC Championships. The Gators eventually finished third in the meet behind LSU and Alabama.