When sophomore Megan Skaggs fell from the beam during the Gators gymnastics team’s first routine of the night, she had no reason to panic. Her score was set to be washed away from the memory of the crowd as the likely drop score, and the routine wouldn’t suffer from the error.
When senior Alicia Boren fell the next routine, the crowd wouldn’t forget it.
The double fall in the first routine came back to haunt UF, as Florida failed to qualify for the NCAA Championships after placing third in the NCAA Corvallis Regional in Corvallis, Oregon, on Saturday.
The Gators’ final score of 196.700 was bested by No. 15 Oregon State (196.900) and No. 5 Denver (197.375). With the third-place finish, UF missed out on the NCAA Championships for the first time in 19 years.
On top of Florida’s disastrous start to the beam, no other UF gymnast punched above the 9.9 mark the rest of the rotation. The highest score belonged to junior Rachel Gowey, a 9.875, and the beam rotation earned Florida an abysmal 48.475 to start the final round of regionals.
The poor performance put UF in last heading into the second rotation and almost a whole point behind the first place Pioneers (49.300).
UF ensured its struggles wouldn’t continue, though. Its floor routine was an improvement from the beam, headlined by a 9.975 from freshman Trinity Thomas and a 9.900 from Boren.
Despite the 49.425 on the floor, the Gators were still in last place halfway through the meet. Their overall score of 97.900 was only .150 less than the third place Boise State.
The Gators improved their vault routine from the previous night, ending with a 49.375. The highest score of the rotation came from freshman Savannah Schoenherr, who scored a 9.900 on the event, and Skaggs, Thomas and junior Sierra Alexander all followed up with 9.875s.
With that score, Florida overtook the Broncos and crept into third place, but the Beavers and the Pioneers were still ahead of the Gators going into the final rotation of the night.
Florida needed to overtake the second place Beavers to advance to the NCAA Championships, and it was going to get that chance on one of its best events.
For Florida, it wasn’t quite enough. For the Beavers, it was exactly what they needed.
UF scored a 49.425 on its bar rotation and showcased three different scores of 9.900 from Thomas, Schoenherr and junior Amelia Hundley. Once the Gators completed their bars routine, all they could do was wait for Oregon State to finish its floor routine and decide UF’s fate.
The Beavers’ Kaitlyn Yanish sent Florida home, scoring a 9.900 on her floor routine to end the night. It was enough to send Oregon State to the NCAA Championships and for the Gators to miss them.
Follow River Wells on Twitter @riverhwells and contact him at [email protected].