Amelia Hundley

Junior gymnast Amelia Hundley scored a 9.925 on beam, UF’s highest total in the event, against Georgia on Feb. 22 at the O’Connell Center.

 

The Gators gymnastics team had a week to reflect on its regular-season conference title.

That week has come and gone, and UF will seek the second piece of SEC hardware to complete the set when it heads to New Orleans on Saturday for the SEC Championships.

While they will mostly attempt to fend off the vengeance of those they topped in competition earlier this year, the Gators also look to get some vengeance of their own against the one SEC team they couldn’t beat: Georgia.

It Just Means More

Five of the eight teams competing in the SEC Championships are in the nation’s top 10, including UF.

Florida has already bested six of its seven opponents Saturday night, and it will enter the competition as the No. 2 seed behind the LSU Tigers. While it seems strange that the conference’s regular-season champion isn’t the No. 1 seed, coach Jenny Rowland didn’t seem concerned about it.

“Numbers, seedings don’t really matter at this time,” Roland said. “It’s not in our control, but this team is able to control a lot, and that’s energy, that’s the gymnastics.”

The Gators will need that energy to get past the stacked field in the championships, which includes the one conference team that defeated them this year in the Georgia Bulldogs. UGA ended its season 4-3 in the conference and is coming off a loss at the hands of LSU to end its regular-season schedule.

The other top 10 teams in the field include No. 9 Kentucky and No. 10 Alabama.

“It’s going to be some of the top schools in the nation,” sophomore Megan Skaggs said. “But we’re ready to go and battle it out.”

Well-Rested

There’s something all the top 10 teams in the championships have done that the Gators haven’t: They all competed last week.

Florida did not, and that one week of rest could be the key to its success come Saturday.

“Not having as many meets, we’re just gonna come out with more power, more energy,” junior Amelia Hundley said.

UF also has the benefit of starting on perhaps its strongest event, the bars, and finishing on its weakest event, the vault. The Gators hope to carry the momentum from the bars all the way through the routine and finish strong on the event that’s vexed them throughout the year.

“At the end of a competition, I think it sets this team up really well,” Rowland said about vault being last in the event order. “(The team is) actually really excited about it.”

With proper rest and an event order in its favor, Florida has multiple reasons to be excited about the prospect of sweeping SEC accolades with a victory on Saturday.

“SECs is gonna be lit,” Rowland said. “Looking forward to a great weekend.”

 Follow River Wells on Twitter @riverhwells and contact him at [email protected].

River Wells is a sports writer for the Alligator and covers the University of Florida women’s tennis team. He has previously covered UF swimming and diving. He has worked at the paper since Fall 2017.