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Saturday, April 20, 2024

No. 5 Gators gymnastics claims sixth-consecutive SEC regular-season title

Anya Pilgrim earned her first collegiate 10

<p>Freshman Anya Pilgrim performs her floor routine in the Gators&#x27; annual Link to Pink meet on Friday, Feb. 9, 2024. </p>

Freshman Anya Pilgrim performs her floor routine in the Gators' annual Link to Pink meet on Friday, Feb. 9, 2024.

Florida freshman Anya Pilgrim helped keep the Gators afloat against Kentucky as they struggled to land cleanly in their vault routines. Their struggling dismounts cost them minor setbacks on the scoreboard. 

Pilgrim, however, kept the momentum alive with her elegant floor routine that earned her a 10.  The freshman’s first collegiate perfect score followed with an all-around score of 39.675. 

Her score was the only 10 the Gators scored, and it brought the energy back for Florida in its final apparatus. 

The No. 5 Florida Gators (11-1, 6-1 SEC) defeated the No. 6 Kentucky Wildcats (7-4, 4-3 SEC) 198.225-198.100 on the road in Rupp Arena in their final SEC regular season matchup. 

UF junior Sloane Blakley debuted for the Gators on the uneven parallel bars and earned a 9.800 to start the meet. However, freshman Gabby Disidore was the one who brought the momentum when she scored a 9.900 after a clean performance. 

Pilgrim matched Disidore’s score after she executed a stellar performance on bars while keeping her composure. Ringing in the top slot was none other than junior Leanne Wong when she capped off her routine with a strong landing that scored her a 9.975. 

All Florida gymnasts earned scores above a 9.5 to finish the first rotation with an overall score of 49.425. 

UF freshman Skylar Draser opened up on vault for the Gators and displayed a clean routine that earned her a 9.950. While Florida continued to keep its momentum alive, an uneasy dismount from senior Victoria Nguyen made the apparatus challenging to comeback from. 

However, freshman Danie Ferris managed to match Draser’s score with her elegant routine. Both Ferris and Draser were the only two Gators in the top slots. Wong, usually saved as best for last in Florida’s meets, had an underwhelming performance that scored her a 9.875 and placed in seventh for the apparatus. 

UF sophomore Lori Brubach opened up for Florida in its third rotation on floor exercise. Brubach excelled in her routine as she earned a 9.750 to bring the Gators momentum back into the meet. 

Nguyen proved that the Gators could continue their fight when she dazzled in her routine and earned a 9.900. Junior Morgan Hurd kept the momentum flowing as she glistened with excitement during her routine and gave everything she had to top off her performance and earned a 9.950. 

Each competitor for the Gators raised the score each time and Pilgrim’s routine was just what Florida needed to bring the fiery energy. Pilgrim’s powerful routine allowed her to earn her first collegiate 10. 

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UF earned its first lead of the meet after the floor apparatus up by .300 points, with a score of 148.650 against Kentucky’s 148.350. 

Draser opened up for Florida on the balance beam, and with her uneasy stuck landing, she earned a 9.950. Pilgrim followed with a score of 9.950 after she gracefully moved across the beam and stuck a firm and smooth dismount. 

Wong closed out the balance beam claiming first place in the apparatus, earning a 9.975. Florida managed to stay in the lead and wrapped up the meet with a .125 advantage over Kentucky.

Next, UF will compete on the road in a quad meet March 9 at 7 p.m. against Nebraska, Eastern Michigan and Lindenwood in Lincoln, Nebraska. The meet will be broadcast on BIG+. 

Contact Alyssa Britton-Harr at abritton-harr@alligator.org. Follow her on X @abrittonharr.

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Alyssa Britton-Harr

Alyssa Britton-Harr is a second-year journalism major and a sports reporter for The Alligator. In her free time, she enjoys cheering on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and spending time with her friends. 


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