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Thursday, October 06, 2022

No. 3 Florida Gymnastics Bests Georgia in SEC Road Win

Gators have won 11 of the last 13 meets against the Bulldogs.

<p>The team counts on Reed, the spark plug for this year’s Gators team, to keep the energy high. Photo from UF-Mizzou meet Jan. 29, 2021. Reed was nearly perfect on the vault Friday night, finishing with a 9.95. </p>

The team counts on Reed, the spark plug for this year’s Gators team, to keep the energy high. Photo from UF-Mizzou meet Jan. 29, 2021. Reed was nearly perfect on the vault Friday night, finishing with a 9.95.

Coming off a historic and exhilarating finish to beat No. 6 Alabama, the Gators hit the road Friday to take on the Georgia Bulldogs inside Stegeman Coliseum. Florida scored their season-best on bars scoring a 49.475, while Megan Skaggs recorded her second consecutive win in the all-around with another 39.525. 

Gators secured the win with a final score of 196.975-194.475. Florida has  won 11 of the last 13 meetings against UGA. 

Florida head coach Jenny Rowland praised her team for handling adversity on the road.

“First road trip at Georgia is a challenge as it’s always a really tough environment,” Rowland said. “This team handled it with a lot of grace, a lot of poise and a lot of fight tonight to come out with a win.” 

Florida dominated on bars in the first rotation as Trinity Thomas and Leanne Wong finished with back-to-back perfect landings generating them both a 9.975. The Gators gathered the momentum heading to the vault where Georgia senior Mikayla Magee recorded a 9.9. 

UF senior Nya Reed had the best vault of the night in the second rotation, scoring a 9.95 after a small hop on the landing. Wong followed up with another stuck landing giving the Gators a slim .400 lead entering rotation three. 

Georgia had an abysmal showing on beam when four of their routines fell, giving the Bulldogs a lousy 46.625 as a team on the event. 

The Gators continued to dominate heading to the floor, feeling confident after Thomas’ and Reeds’ perfect 10’s last week against the Crimson Tide. Reed showcased her dynamic tumbling again posting a solid 9.95.

Florida assistant coach Owen Field rushed to carry senior Halley Taylor off the mat after she fell in her opening tumbling pass. Taylor winced in pain and grabbed her ankle when she went to the mat. Sophomore Ellie Lazzari also suffered an injury during the pre-meet warm-up on the floor.

Both Taylor and Lazzari will be evaluated by team doctors back in Gainesville. 

Florida stayed composed entering the final rotation, heading to beam with a three-point advantage over Georgia. Thomas effortlessly hit her first beam routine of 2022 with only a small hop on her aerial back full dismount scoring a 9.95 to win the exercise. 

For senior Alyssa Baumann, this meet marked the last guaranteed battle between her sister Rachel Baumann. Senior Leah Clapper closed out on beam, the Dawgs exploded as Rachel Baumann earned a perfect 10 and won on the floor. 

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Georgia was able to rally and finish on a high note, but still fell short as Florida showcased elite talent all night. Moving to 5-0 (2-0 SEC) on the season, the Gators will take on Arkansas next on Jan. 28 back in Gainesville.  

Contact Madeline Lawson at mlawson@alligator.org. Follow her on Twitter @MadsLaws.

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