Alex McMurtry was more than ready. She had just recorded her first ever 10.0 on balance beam one week prior against No. 1 Oklahoma, making her the second UF gymnast in program history to tally a perfect score in every event.
Sports | Gymnastics
When a person thinks of the word “doctor,” certain synonyms might come to mind: safety, comfort, healing. From now on, when people think of the name Larry Nassar — a man once admired and renowned by gymnasts around the world — the only image that will appear is one of pain and distrust.
In a sold-out O’Connell Center on Friday night, the Florida gymnastics team put on a show for its home crowd. Its efforts didn’t go to waste as the No. 5 Gators (3-1, 1-1 SEC) overcame No. 1 Oklahoma 198.150-198.125. In addition to two perfect 10.0s in one night, Florida also took first in three of its four events.
Alex McMurtry didn’t hesitate. Facing the long stretch of mat ahead of her, the All-American threw her hands above her head before bringing them in close to her chest and breaking into a full sprint. A sold-out O’Connell Center watched as she spun into the air and touched her feet down to the ground in her first of two perfect 10.0s of the night.
For the second time this season, the UF gymnastics team will host a No. 1 team at home. The No. 5 Gators (2-1, 1-1 SEC) are set to take on No. 1 Oklahoma (3-0, 1-0 Big 12) tonight at 6:45 in the nation’s top gymnastics match of the weekend.
Kennedy Baker stuck a solid landing, glancing first to the left at her teammates, then to the right at assistant coach Adrian Burde for approval. She smiled at the close of her performance, starting the Gators off with a season-best 9.800 on the uneven bars.
Jenny Rowland was the epitome of positivity on Wednesday. As she led the Florida gymnastic team’s practice, the third-year coach showed no sign of worry, instead displaying confidence in the wake of UF's 197.250-197.125 home loss to LSU on Jan. 12.
The odds were all lined up in favor of the Florida gymnastics team. After coming off a first-meet win that featured a record-breaking 39.575 all-around score from junior Alicia Boren, the Gators were finally back at home. And for the first time ever, they were performing in front of a sold-out O’Connell Center.
Rachel Slocum spit into her hands, once, twice, five times. She prepared her stance and sprinted toward the mat, gaining speed until she stopped just short of it. Among encouraging cheers from her teammates, Slocum positioned herself back to the start of the stretch for her second attempt and finished her vault routine with a score of 8.550.
It’s been seven years since the Florida gymnastics team overcame No. 1 LSU in a regular-season meet. But after opening the 2018 season with a win over West Virginia on Jan. 5, a night that saw junior Alicia Boren register the highest all-around score ever to open a season in program history, No. 7 UF is hoping to end that streak.
For the fifth year in a row, the Florida gymnastics team proved that starting off the season away from home has no effect on its performance. The Gators (1-0) kicked off their 2018 schedule with a 195.900-194.425 win over West Virginia (0-1) on Friday night at the WVU Coliseum.
By the time Alex McMurtry’s turn came on bars, Oklahoma had already clinched its second straight NCAA title.
Rachel Gowey stepped onto the mat, closed her blue-gray eyes and took a deep breath.