Eleven UF gymnasts walked off the mat for the last time this year when Florida’s gymnastics team was shockingly eliminated from the NCAA Championships at the NCAA Corvallis Regional in Oregon.
There will still be Gators under the lights in Fort Worth, Texas, on Friday.
The other four earned a shot at redemption, and they’ll get it Friday.
Sophomore Alyssa Baumann, senior Alicia Boren and freshmen Trinity Thomas and Savannah Schoenherr will all compete as individuals in the semifinal round of the NCAA Championships at the Fort Worth Convention Center in Fort Worth, Texas. The quartet will have to face some tough competition to walk out of Friday’s events with medals. Here are some gymnasts to look out for when UF’s individual representation competes in Fort Worth:
The "I" in team
While the four Gators may be competing in different events – Boren all-around, Baumann on the beam, Schoenherr on the vault and Thomas on the bars and floor – they’ll all run into Minnesota’s Lexy Ramler.
The sophomore from St. Michael, Minnesota, is the other all-around competitor in individual competition, and she’s already cemented her legacy for the Gophers. Her 39.725 all-around score was the best in Minnesota’s history, and she scored a 39.600 or higher in five different regular-season meets.
The Big Ten and North Central Regional Gymnast of the Year will certainly be a threat to Boren’s all-around title, and she’ll also encroach on the three other gymnasts in their respective events, making her by far the biggest obstacle for the group of Gators. She’ll particularly challenge Baumann on the beam, as Ramler was awarded First-Team All-American honors for the event.
There’ll be an air of familiarity from the competition as well. Auburn freshman Derrian Gobourne will face off against Boren and Schoenherr on the vault, and she earned her spot in individual competition with her 9.950 on her routine at the NCAA Baton Rouge Regional. The last time Gobourne faced off against the Gators earlier this year at the Link to Pink meet, she tied Schoenherr’s score of 9.900 but was bested by Boren’s 9.925.
Orange and blue redemption
It’s highly unusual for the Gators to miss out on the NCAA Championships (it has only happened twice since 1982), but UF’s representation certainly has the means to avenge the team's early exit at the regional.
Boren boasts a Second-Team All-American honor for the all-around and the floor, and Baumann earned it for the beam. Schoenherr’s efforts on the vault and the bars earned her a spot on the SEC All-Freshman team.
The Gators’ juggernaut throughout the season has undoubtedly been Thomas. She’s the only UF gymnast to earn a First-Team All-American honor, winning it three times (all-around, floor and bars). Thomas is also the SEC Freshman of the Year, largely due to her 26 event titles over the course of the season.
“It’s going to be a little different because I’m not used to doing just two events,” Thomas said. “(They are) two of my best events, so I’m really excited to mainly focus on those two.”
Despite the individual nature of the events, the four gymnasts competing in Fort Worth tonight have made it abundantly clear who they’re competing for.
“We’re still gonna go in there and try to bring home some hardware for the rest of the team,” Baumann said. “Really, do it for them.”
Follow River Wells on Twitter @riverhwells and contact him at [email protected].