Alicia Boren

Junior Alicia Boren and the Florida gymnastics team are in St. Louis to compete in the NCAA Championships tonight at 7. Oklahoma, Utah, Washington, California and Kentucky are the other teams competing in UF's group.


As soon as junior Alicia Boren’s feet touched the mat, the Gators exploded into commotion. Boren brought her hands to her chest and lifted her face to the ceiling of the Auburn Arena, her smile shining at the end of her balance beam routine as she celebrated her first-place score of 9.925 with her teammates.

The No. 5 Gators (4-1, 2-1 SEC) overcame No. 17 Auburn (2-5, 1-3 SEC) 197.400-197.000 Friday night. Florida hasn’t lost to Auburn since 2004.

“Today’s performance was a big improvement over any of our previous road meets,” coach Jenny Rowland said in a release.

Boren continued to make strides for Florida, ending the night with another first-place finish on floor with a 9.950, equaling her collegiate best. McMurtry added to these wins and swept two events of her own on vault and bars, completing a Gator win in each event of the match.

This marked the second time this season both Boren and McMurtry dominated all four events. In UF’s season-opening win against West Virginia on Jan. 6, Boren swept the meet again in floor and beam, while McMurtry clinched victories in bars and vault.

“We were able to build on each routine,” Rowland said. “We were resting some and others were coming back from illness so there were some new faces in the lineups, which is always fun to see.”

Auburn ended the first rotation ahead of the Gators by a margin of .025, but quickly fell behind following after Florida’s turn on vault. Three All-Americans -- McMurtry, Kennedy Baker and Rachel Slocum -- finished in the top-four overall in the event. Their scores were good enough to give UF a lead it wouldn’t give up.  

“We were a little quiet on bars,” Rowland said. “After bars, the energy ramped up and we had a stellar vault.”

The Gators’ win Friday night is their third in a row and comes after their home win over then No. 1 Oklahoma. Coming off its second SEC win of 2018, the team will now focus its attention on its match against No. 10 Alabama at the O’Connell center Friday..

Follow Alana Gomez on Twitter @alanaa_gomez and contact her at [email protected].

Alana Gomez is a sports writer for the Alligator and covers the University of Florida gymnastics team. She has previously covered UF men’s and women's cross country. She has worked at the paper since Fall 2017.