The SEC Championships on March 24 marked two changes for the Gators gymnastics team.
Sports | Gymnastics
Right before senior Rachel Slocum stepped up to the mat for her floor routine during the NCAA Regionals on Saturday, teammate Alex McMurtry ran up to her, grabbed her hands and touched her forehead to Slocum’s. Although it only lasted three seconds, the private moment had a clear effect on Slocum, who went on to claim her first floor title as a Gator.
The moment before senior Alex McMurtry landed her final pass on floor, Rec Hall was quiet.
The atmosphere in Florida’s practice gym on Wednesday was as normal as any other day this spring.
After finishing in third place at the SEC Championships on Saturday, the No. 5 Gators gymnastics team is hoping to redeem itself at the NCAA Regional Championships on April 7. The field for the event was announced on Monday afternoon by the NCAA.
Alex McMurtry didn’t show any signs of anxiety as she took a quick breather and rolled her shoulders back for the final pass of her floor routine.
Alyssa Baumann finished her beam routine amongst chants for a 10 from her teammates.
Amelia Hundley is excited for a fresh start heading into postseason action. After competing in 10 regular season meets over the past three months, the sophomore isn’t anxious heading into the SEC Championships on Saturday. She’s ready.
The Gators gymnastics team is spending its week off between the regular season and SEC Championships in its usual spot — the practice gym.
The Florida gymnasts were silent as they took their seats in front of the post-meet press conference Friday night. It wasn’t the attitude of a team that had just ended its last home competition with its second-highest meet total of the season. A somber mood settled over the room like a wet blanket.
Alex McMurtry thrust out a perfectly pointed left foot and pushed both arms forward in a mock sprint. Sweeping her hands back, she wasted no time in her last time competing in the O'Connell Center. She raced forward to perform her final vault routine at home this season and in her collegiate career.
Florida coach Jenny Rowland didn’t smile at the beginning of the Gators beam rotation Friday night. Her face held the same stern acceptance it had a week ago when senior Kennedy Baker tore her Achilles tendon against Arkansas, ending her collegiate career and leaving UF with one less All-American.
There was one less smile at the Gators gymnastics practice gym Wednesday.
The air in the O’Connell Center was stale with the shock of a crowd of 8,321. No one spoke as all eyes in the arena focused on senior Kennedy Baker, who sat clutching her foot following a fall during her floor routine.
The Florida gymnastics team is finding its groove, having won its previous five meets by an average of 0.480 points.
In what was supposed to be a series of perfect back handsprings, senior Alex McMurtry dropped to the floor off the balance beam. It was the first time since the 2017 season that she had competed in every event, a thought that didn’t escape her mind even as she wrapped up her last event of the night. The fall resulted in a 9.325, one point higher than her season-low score of 9.225 against Auburn on Feb. 2.
Before Florida’s meet against Georgia on Friday night, UF freshman Alyssa Baumann danced on the side of the mats while the rest of her teammates warmed up. The energy she entered the Stegeman Coliseum with carried into the Gators’ sixth competition of the regular season, where she placed first on balance beam with a score of 9.900.
At the beginning of its practice on Tuesday, the Florida gymnastics team wasn’t rehearsing its sprints on vault or tweaking its routine on balance beam. It wasn’t even preparing to warm up. Instead, each member of the team had a smile on her face and a lacrosse stick in her hand as the team competed in a small lacrosse scrimmage.
Before the No. 5 Gators walked onto the mats of the O’Connell Center, the team sat down and described its individual goals heading into its meet against No. 9 Alabama on Friday.