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Thursday, October 06, 2022

Florida gymnastics claims sole ownership of the SEC title, ties Auburn

Trinity Thomas and Sloane Blakely earn perfect scores as Florida ties the Tigers

<p>UF gymnastics alum Megan Skaggs will return to the program as an assistant to head coach Jenny Rowland.</p>

UF gymnastics alum Megan Skaggs will return to the program as an assistant to head coach Jenny Rowland.

The crowd at Auburn Arena had plenty to cheer for as Florida and Auburn traded 10s all night long and put on an electric showing. 

The Gators clinched sole-ownership of the SEC regular-season title and became the fifth team to do so undefeated. This also marks Florida’s fourth consecutive season holding the accolade.

Florida head coach Jenny Rowland reflected on her team’s ability to overcome the obstacles in front of them.

“We couldn't have written the script for a night like this,” Rowland said. “So extremely proud of the Gators in their presence and their commitment to following through in everything we've been working on in training. The Gators got better today.”

UF senior Trinity Thomas earned the first perfect score of the night with her elite work on vault. She sent the Gators to floor with tremendous momentum to build on their .200 lead. 

Auburn’s freshman sensation Suni Lee picked up her second-consecutive perfect score in the third rotation on beam, navigating the event with ease. As the crowd erupted for Lee’s accomplishment, UF’s Sloane Blakely remained calm and collected as she performed on floor. 

Blakley wasn’t rattled at all as she nailed the double back in her second pass and posted the first 10 of her young collegiate career.

Before Blakey’s perfect routine, Megan Skaggs, Peyton Richards, Alyssa Baumann and Leanne Wong all scored 9.925 on floor. Nya Reed also wowed with a 9.975.  

The Gators continued to build their lead after each apparatus and led by .225 heading into the final rotation. 

Senior Leah Clapper anchored Florida on the beam. She won the event against Auburn last year, but couldn't keep her composure and fell off the 4-inch wide base Friday. 

Clapper’s error gave the Tigers one final sliver of hope to avoid a loss as senior Derrian Gobourne closed out the night on floor. 

As Gobourne took to the floor, her music didn’t play on cue. She walked off to get reset as the Gators headed over to cheer her on. Gobourne tumbled with confidence and hit her double back pike in the closing pass to earn her the fourth 10 of the night. 

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After the last rotation, the scorecard read double. 

UF and Auburn were deadlocked at 198.575 to match/break its respective program records.

Although the Tigers couldn’t fully pull off the upset, they secured seven career-highs and two tied career-highs on the night. 

Florida will be in Raleigh, North Carolina, next Friday for a tri-meet against North Carolina State, Rutgers and Pennsylvania. 

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

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