The Gators were nearly perfect at the O’Connell Center during the regular season, with their only loss coming against Georgia. Now, however, they’ll leave it all behind following their victory against No. 25 Penn State on Friday.
It’s what is called an exhibition: a routine performed at the end of the rotation that doesn…
The meet on Senior Night was the last time UF will compete in its home arena as it prepares for the SEC Championships in New Orleans and, eventually, the NCAA Championships in Fort Worth, Texas.
A majority of the team will compete at the O’Connell Center in the regular season next year, but for Florida’s two seniors, Alicia Boren and Amanda Cheney, the meet against the Nittany Lions was the last time they’d compete in there.
“This was the perfect ending for the O’Dome, but I’m definitely excited to see what more we can do,” Cheney said in a release.
The Gators will have a week off before they compete in the SEC Championships on March 23, and it would be no far stretch to call them the favorites. Florida already captured sole possession of the regular season SEC title, a first in the program’s history. UF also tied its season best score of 198.025 against Penn State on Friday, and no other team in the SEC has hit above the 198 mark even once.
Despite the Gators’ favorable odds, coach Jenny Rowland stressed that there is still work to do in preparation for the postseason after the meet on Friday.
“What this team showed (Friday) is what I know what we are capable of doing and then some,” Rowland said in a release. “It’s Senior Night, but we still have a lot more to go.”
One thing Florida is certain to continue working on is its lineups on meet day after another significant change on Friday. Sophomore Megan Skaggs found her way into the floor corps for the first time in her collegiate career against the Nittany Lions, replacing freshman Savannah Schoenherr and scoring a 9.900 on her routine. Schoenherr’s tenure with the floor unit lasted four weeks.
“It’s so cool to have a floor routine that hasn’t been unveiled this late in the season,” Skaggs said in a release. “It just felt great to do it in front of so many people for the first time.”
Although the Gators won’t be in action for a while, they’ll have Friday’s meet fresh in their minds when they begin their preparation for the postseason.
“I know this team is going to take a lot from tonight,” Rowland said in a release. “We’re going to keep moving on.”
Follow River Wells on Twitter @riverhwells and contact him at [email protected]