Perhaps it was her family.
The audience at the O’Connell Center gasped in disbelief as sophomore Alyssa Baumann hit the floor.
When sophomore Alyssa Baumann fell off the beam during her routine, perhaps it was her parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles in the audience there to watch her sister Rachel and her compete that put the pressure on her. Perhaps it was the tenseness that came with how close the match was the entire night (it was eventually decided by .075 points). Perhaps it was just an off night for the world champion.
“This week, we had some mistakes,” Baumann said after the meet. “I think that’s gonna push us, especially since it was to one of our biggest rivals.”
Whatever it was, it was costly. Her dropped score forced the Gators to keep a 9.675 on the beam, and when it came time for her floor routine, it forced her to hit at the 9.9 mark to tie or to go above it to win. She couldn’t do either.
They were mistakes that No. 2 UF cannot afford when the team enters the postseason, and they’re something that coach Jenny Rowland and her squad are well aware of.
“We can either go down from our mistakes, or we can use them as a learning tool to see how we can improve upon them,” junior Amelia Hundley said after the meet. “And I think that’s what we’re going to do.”
For the second week in a row, Florida had only one of its gymnasts go above the 9.9 mark on vault, with Alicia Boren’s 9.925. UF’s vault landings have been one of its weaker areas this season, and it will look to get its vault scores higher before the SEC Championships begins in late March.
It wasn’t all negatives for Florida in its defeat, though.
Freshman Trinity Thomas had yet another stellar showing as an all-arounder, scoring 39.675 overall and netting two 9.975 scores, one on the uneven bars and the other on the floor. Thomas shattered olympian Bridget Sloan’s school record of four 9.975 scores as a freshman. She has six with two more regular season meets to go.
Rowland had particular praise for Thomas after the meet and, on top of her scores on bars and floor, she commended her beam routine as the best she’d ever seen her perform.
“She had a spectacular night tonight,” Roland said. “She really looked calm, at ease. Just did what she does in practice every day.”
UF has 27 days to address its weaknesses before the SEC Championships start. The last two regular season meets for the Gators should be no challenge. They face a 1-6 team in the No. 21 Arkansas Razorbacks on the road on Friday, and they host No. 24 Penn State in their last meet of the season.
Despite her mistakes and the team’s defeat, Baumann had a simple warning for her sister and Georgia that she isn’t going to repeat the same mistakes when they matter.
“Get ready for SECs, Rachel.”
Follow River Wells on Twitter @riverhwells and contact him at [email protected].