The Alabama crowd was silenced when the judges flashed Alicia Boren’s floor routine score of 9.975.
Many gymnastics teams would consider a top-10 matchup a highlight of its competitive schedul…
Freshman Trinity Thomas, who was up next, must have liked the peace and quiet.
Thomas matched Boren’s score of 9.975 in Florida’s 197.325-196.475 victory over the Alabama Crimson Tide. The dual-meet win in Tuscaloosa was the first for the Gators since Feb. 3, 1979, and UF remains the SEC’s only undefeated team in conference competition.
The first rotation saw a back-and-forth battle that ended in a 49.175 tie.
It was a rare occurrence for the Gators, who saw their usual stars in the event fail to produce. Not a single UF gymnast hit about the 9.900 mark on the bars, including freshman Trinity Thomas, who placed her lowest bars score on the year with the drop score of 9.750. Junior Amelia Hundley had the highest score for the rotation with a 9.875.
Despite a fall from Alabama’s Lexi Graber, the Crimson Tide stayed even with UF, with two of their gymnasts matching Hundley’s 9.875.
Florida fared a bit better on the vault during its second rotation. Thomas redeemed her earlier score with a 9.900 on her vault routine, the team’s highest in the rotation. Sophomore Alyssa Baumann made a surprise appearance in the vault lineup with a good showing, placing second highest among UF gymnasts with a 9.875.
Alabama didn’t do quite as well. Three of its gymnasts placed with 9.800s on the uneven bars, and a 9.900 from Crimson Tide gymnast Ari Guerra couldn’t make up for the slew of lower scores. The Gators emerged from the second rotation as the leader, going up 98.475-98.350.
UF’s floor routines have been a strong point for the squad this year, and its floor unit didn’t disappoint in the third rotation. Aside from Boren and Thomas’ two 9.975s, three other gymnasts scored over the 9.900 mark, and the resulting 49.725 was UF’s best floor score of the year and the nation’s second highest mark of the season.
Alabama was on the beam, and it suffered from two of its gymnasts falling, forcing the Crimson Tide to keep gymnast Emily Gaskins’ 9.275 score. Graber’s 9.925 didn’t make up for the blunders, and it gave UF a lead of more than a point heading into the final rotation 148.200-147.025.
Florida’s lowest event score heading into the last rotation was its 49.175 on the bars, but the Gators managed to sink lower on the beam. UF’s 49.125 was because of severe mishaps from Hundley and Boren with a 9.175 and a 9.575, respectively. The rotation did see the first non-exhibition appearance of freshman Leah Clapper,, who scored a 9.875 on her routine.
Aside from a poor 9.125 drop score, the Crimson Tide’s floor score of 49.450 wasn’t all that bad. It wasn’t enough, however, as what could have been a very high scoring performance by Guerra was reduced to a 9.800 when she stumbled badly on the landing of her final pass.
"This team just came in clutch tonight,” Coach Jenny Rowland said in a release. “They fought with a lot of heart and I couldn't be more proud of them."
Follow River Wells on Twitter @riverhwells and contact him at [email protected].