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Monday, October 25, 2021

Baumann returns for fifth year at Florida

She and senior Megan Skaggs are the only two seniors to use extra year

Alyssa Baumann against Kentucky on Feb. 19. The senior announced via Twitter her intention to return to the Gators.
Alyssa Baumann against Kentucky on Feb. 19. The senior announced via Twitter her intention to return to the Gators.

Gators gymnast Alyssa Baumann hasn’t flipped and tumbled in the O’Connell Center for the last time. 

The senior announced via Twitter Friday she would use the extra year of eligibility granted by the NCAA. 

“I promised myself, coaches and teammates that I would give my all to UF,” Baumann said. “In light of that, four down, one more to go.”

Her decision confirms Florida to return every significant contributor from 2021. Her classmate Megan Skaggs announced April 23 that she would come back for another season. 

Baumann’s return means the Gators remained locked and loaded for another title run after they finished fourth at NCAA Championships. She will also have the opportunity to add to her impressive collegiate resume. 

The Dallas, Texas, native earned eight All-American honors and is a three-time SEC balance beam champion. Baumann will have another year to record her first career 10. She has collected nine scores of 9.975 with six of them occurring on beam. 

This year marked Baumann’s return to the uneven bars. It was her first time competing in the event in 1,699 days due to an elbow injury. She sustained the injury in a practice leading up to the U.S. Olympic Trials as she attempted to secure a spot on Team USA at the 2016 Rio De Janeiro Olympics. 

Baumann breezed through her return to the apparatus versus Kentucky and nearly nailed the landing, but her foot slid an inch forward. Her Florida teammates mobbed her as she bursted into tears because of the long journey back. The judges awarded her a 9.925. 

“I was definitely not expecting to cry,'' she said. "It's just been so long. And then once I landed it, it didn't even matter what my score was going to be. I was just so happy to finally have competed bars again and to do a good routine was just icing on the cake. It was definitely a great moment.” 

Baumann used the first part of the video to reflect on her career so far. 

“I am forever grateful for every opportunity I have been provided and the ability to do the sport that I love,” she said. “Being a Gator is the biggest honor, and I’m thankful for every high and low that has shaped me into who I am today.”

Coach Jenny Rowland gets two of her strongest gymnasts back and a host of freshmen, including Morgan Hurd, Leanne Wong and Riley McCusker, who are currently vying for a spot on Team USA at this year’s Tokyo Olympics.

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Contact Zachary Huber at zhuber@alligator.org and follow him on Twitter @zacharyahuber. 

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