There was nothing Alicia Boren could do but watch.
The sophomore hit a perfect handstand on the bars and then held it as her arms started to shake.
As she looked up, they gave out underneath her. She twisted backwards, managing somehow to stay on the bars.
But the damage was done. She only scored a 9.425.
It was an uncharacteristic mistake for Boren, who has competed all-around in every meet this season. It wasn't the way she wanted to start regionals off, individually or for her team.
She didn’t have time to dwell on a missed opportunity, though, as minutes later it was her turn on beam in the Gators' second rotation.
It’s an event that Florida struggled with throughout the regular season, but one that Boren had been consistent on in nearly every meet.
This time, she delivered.
She stuck her landing, sealing a score of 9.875, the second-best score of the night for the Gators on the beam, and ran toward her teammates with a huge grin on her face.
“I was really excited and really happy that I could get back to helping my team,” Boren said following the meet.
The ability to move on and perform at a high level after mistakes has been a strength for the Gators this season.
When junior Alex McMurtry fell off the bars against Missouri on Feb. 24, she rallied back with a perfect 10 on floor.
When junior Kennedy Baker wobbled on beam, barely avoiding a fall against Auburn on Jan. 27, she redeemed herself with a perfect 10 on floor in the last routine of the night.
And when freshman Rachel Gowey fell off the beam against Missouri, she delivered a 9.85 on floor, just .025 away from her career best, in the next rotation.
“Our motto this year is ‘The Story Continues,'” Florida coach Jenny Rowland said on Monday. “If you’re making mistakes, you let it go and move forward. And really I feel that the team did a great job in handling that this last competition.”
With fewer than two weeks until the NCAA Championship semifinals, the Gators can’t afford any mistakes if they want to advance to the Super Six.
If they do have to count a fall, however, the Gators will continue to do what they have done the entire season: move past it and focus on the next routine.
And the athletes on the sideline will continue to support their teammates after a mistake.
“It’s a family,” Rowland said. “That’s how they train in the gym, and that’s how they have carried it over to the competition.”