Alicia Boren clapped her hands in fury moments after she stuck her landing on the vault. With a scream of triumph, she high-fived every teammate and coach that rushed to congratulate her on the routine.
The Gators were riding high as the SEC’s sole undefeated team in conference play when they s…
Boren’s score of 9.925 helped propel No. 3 UF over the No. 20 Arkansas Razorbacks 197.225-196.350 at the Barnhill Arena in Fayetteville, Arkansas, on Friday. The win gives UF sole possession of the SEC Championship, as the Auburn Tigers defeated Alabama, giving the Crimson Tide two conference losses.
Freshmen were in the spotlight during the first rotation on the bars. Trinity Thomas netted the highest score on the rotation with a 9.925, and Savannah Schoenherr, who’s been a solid staple in the bars lineup throughout the year, earned a 9.900. Sophomore Megan Skaggs and junior Amelia Hundley weren’t far behind, both earning 9.875s.
The Razorbacks, while not having any terribly low scores, could only stay within the 9.7 range on the vault. The team’s highest score was a 9.850, achieved by two gymnasts, and as a result, Florida entered the second rotation with a comfortable 49.425-49.050 lead.
The next rotation showcased an event that Thomas singled out before the meet as an area the team needed to improve on. Based on the Gators’ performance, it looks like they’ll still be spending some time on it in practice.
Only three of the six gymnasts hit above the 9.8 mark for UF during the vault: Boren, who netted the team-high 9.925, Thomas, with a 9.800 exactly, and freshman Nya Reed, who earned a 9.825. Schoenherr and Hundley were both given 9.700s, and sophomore Alyssa Baumann had the drop score of 9.625.
Arkansas couldn’t capitalize off the Gators’ shortcomings on vault, though. The Razorbacks once again failed to hit above 9.9 with any gymnast, and Florida held on to its lead 98.375-98.175 heading into the third rotation.
Florida redeemed its vault struggles during its third rotation on the floor. The floor corps netted two 9.925s--one from Thomas and one from Boren—and a 9.900 from Reed. Every other UF gymnast hit at or above 9.850, extending its lead to 197.850-196.975 heading into the final rotation.
Arkansas’ struggles continued. Razorbacks gymnast Amanda Elswick’s 9.550 on the beam was set to be the drop score, but a 9.300 from Sophia Carter forced them to keep it. Once again failing to hit above 9.9, the Razorbacks found themselves down by almost a full point heading into the last rotation.
The Gators finished out the meet with a solid beam rotation. Boren continued her stellar night, netting another 9.925, and Thomas contributed a 9.900 with her routine. Freshman Leah Clapper, who competed for the resting Rachel Gowey for the second straight week, placed with a 9.875.
Although Arkansas had a solid floor routine, which included 9.925s from Sydney McGlone and Sophia Carter, it wasn’t nearly enough to give the Razorbacks a chance for victory. The Gators took the win, the SEC Championship, with the same .875 margin they held coming into the last rotation.
Follow River Wells on Twitter @riverhwells and contact him at [email protected].