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Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Leanne Wong headlines impressive Florida win against No. 5 Auburn

Wong earned 10s on bars and beam

Leanne Wong dismounts after her bar routine against the Auburn Tigers Friday, Jan. 13, 2023.
Leanne Wong dismounts after her bar routine against the Auburn Tigers Friday, Jan. 13, 2023.

Sophomore Leanne Wong reached near perfection against the No. 5 Auburn Tigers. She scored two 10s on the way to the highest all-around score of the night. Her performance helped the Florida Gators’ gymnastics program prove itself as a force once again.

The No. 2 Gators competed against Auburn Friday night. They played at home and hosted their first Equality Night. Florida came into the meet as the favorite, and their performance proved why in the top-five matchup. 

The Gators finished with a score of 197.825, edging out Auburn, which finished with a score of 197.200. The Gators won three of the four events and put on a show for the sold-out Stephen C. O’Connell Center. The 9,676-person crowd was the sixth-highest attendance in program history.

Wong achieved history as the third Gator in UF history to get two 10s in a single meet — joining senior Trinity Thomas and former gymnast Alex McCurty. Her all-around score of 39.825 is the current highest total of the 2023 season in the nation. Wong entered the season as first in the nation on bars. 

“My sharpest performance is the beam,” Wong said.”

The Gators are home to many nationally recognized players this season, and Wong is proving she belongs in the group. 

However, the team still has major hurdles to overcome. Graduate student Savannah Schoenherr broke her foot in a non-gymnastics-related incident. She is hoping to make her return in approximately eight weeks. 

Graduate student Rachel Baumann was originally set to perform vault and floor before she pulled out of both events. Her condition is unknown at this time, head coach Jenny Rowland said. Her injury led to Morgan Hurd’s unexpected floor appearance. 

“It was her first time ever competing floor,” Rowland said. “She has overcome so much, so her energy draws you in and electrifies the crowd.”

Florida’s deep roster could give everyone the opportunity to compete. 

Freshman Kayla DiCello had a standout performance this evening, scoring a 9.90 and above on  bars, vault and beam. Her success across three of the four events has already proven beneficial to the program. 

Florida’s next meet will be against the No. 8 Alabama Crimson Tide. The teams will face off at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 20 in the Coleman Coliseum in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The match will be broadcast on ESPN U. 

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Contact Jori Rzepecki at Follow her on Twitter @jorirzepecki.

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Jori Rzepecki

Jori Rzepecki is a first-year journalism major and the Gymnastics reporter for The Alligator. In her free time, she enjoys binge-watching television shows and reading books.

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