It’s what is called an exhibition: a routine performed at the end of the rotation that doesn’t count toward the score.
Alicia Boren clapped her hands in fury moments after she stuck her landing on the vault. Wit…
Senior Amanda Cheney didn’t care. She soared through the air for the very last vault she’d perform in the O’Connell Center, and once she stuck the landing, she could only smile bashfully as she was swarmed by her teammates.
The score may not have counted, but Cheney’s spirit on senior night helped propel the Gators to a whopping 198.025-196.325 victory against the Penn State Nittany Lions at the O’Connell Center on Friday.
The victory, which caps off UF’s season, is its second meet where it eclipses the 198 mark. The Gators will have 15 days off as they prepare for the SEC Championships in New Orleans on March 23.
UF’s gymnasts have often said that Florida’s vault landings were its weakest link during the regular season, and the squad certainly showed improvement in that area during its first rotation.
The Gators ended the rotation on vault with a 49.475, UF’s highest vault score this year. The rotation was highlighted by freshman Trinity Thomas and senior Alicia Boren, who earned a 9.950 and a 9.925, respectively, and sophomore Megan Skaggs netted a personal best 9.875 on the vault.
The Nittany Lions had a solid rotation on the vault, but with only one score above the 9.9 mark on the uneven bars (a 9.925 from Lauren Bridgens) Penn State trailed after the first rotation. The Gators held a 49.475-49.200 lead going into their second rotation on the uneven bars.
Florida’s rotation on the uneven bars was just as good, as it earned the exact same score they had for the first rotation. The rotation was showcased by four scores at or above 9.900, but junior Amelia Hundley had the highest of the bunch with a 9.925.
Penn State’s vault routine was marred by two 9.675s, one from Melissa Astarita and one from Sabrina Garcia. As the Nittany Lions could only drop one, they had to keep the other, and the lack of any routine over the 9.9 mark only further increased UF’s lead.
At the end of the second rotation with the same score of 49.475, Florida sat comfortably with a 98.950-98.125 lead.
The third rotation on the beam was UF’s best of the night. It saw three scores of 9.925 from Boren, Thomas and Skaggs, along with a 9.900 from sophomore Alyssa Baumann.
At the end of the rotation, Cheney performed another exhibition routine on the beam to close out her career in the O’Connell Center, and UF headed into the final rotation off the heels of a 49.550.
Boren and Thomas led the floor corps in the final rotation, as both of them placed with 9.975s. Skaggs, in her first floor appearance this year, contributed to the floor scores with a 9.900.
After an exhibition run by freshman Leah Clapper, Florida’s regular season came to an end.
Follow River Wells on Twitter @riverhwells and contact him at [email protected].