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.
So on Friday night in a road matchup with Auburn, she mounted the beam with a smile.
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It was a smile, however, that quickly disappeared behind a shadow of disappointment 18 seconds later.
As she prepared to land on the beam at the end of a flip, she misplaced her feet and fell onto the ground, resulting in a season-low score of 9.225.
The feeling was far from foreign to McMurtry, who fell flat onto the mat during a bars routine last year against Missouri on Feb. 24. Similar to her misstep off the beam on Friday against the Tigers, McMurtry’s fall last February followed a previous perfect 10.0 on bars in the Gators’ match against Georgia just two weeks prior to the Missouri meet.
“We finished off with a solid beam rotation,” coach Jenny Rowland said in a release. “We had a miss from Alex, but the rest of the team did really well.”
Though her performance didn’t follow the same perfect procedure that got her two 10.0s against Oklahoma on Jan. 26, No. 5 Florida (4-1, 2-1 SEC) still took a win over No. 17 Auburn (2-5, 1-3 SEC) 197.400-197.000. Even with the victory, McMurtry wasn’t oblivious to her mistake Friday night. Her 9.225 came just after freshman Alyssa Baumann’s 9.675, a score the team was hoping to make up for with McMurtry’s routine. McMurtry recalled the atmosphere of the team was a little off from the beginning.
“We started a little conservative,” McMurtry said. “Luckily, we picked up the energy as the night went on.”
Despite the small stumble, McMurtry claimed event titles in both bars and vault, with scores of 9.975 and 9.950, respectively. Junior Alicia Boren, who took first in floor and beam, rounded out the Gators domination in each event.
“We have more to give and more to show,” Boren said. “We are going to get back to the gym and work on that.”
Boren matched her collegiate best Friday night in her floor routine with a score of 9.950. Both her and McMurtry’s performances were a shining light for the Gators, who were happy to take home their second SEC win of the season.
“The team seemed to take a little more confidence on the road with us after our last home meet,” Rowland said.