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UF Gymnastics: Gators Fourth in NCAA Team Final

Photo by Courtney Culbreath

Courtesy of University Athletic Association

BY MARY HOWARD

It didn’t start well.

A pair of balance beam misses on the Gators gymnastics team’s opening event gave UF a deficit impossible to erase. It put Florida in fourth, a position they couldn’t rise out of in Saturday’s NCAA Team Championship, held at Dickies Arena.

Today, a seventh program raised the NCAA trophy, as Michigan won its first team title after posting a 198.25. That total is the third-highest in NCAA Team Finals history.

Oklahoma, the defending NCAA champion, took second at 198.1625. Utah was third at 197.9875 and Florida posted a 197.1375.

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SATURDAY’S PERFORMANCE BY THE GATORS:

Florida were forced to count a miss toward their beam total for the first time since the 2019 season. Senior Alyssa Baumann led the Gator on the event at 9.925, and freshman Ellie Lazzari turned in a 9.9125.

The Gators looked strong on floor, with four marks of 9.9 or better. The junior duo of Nya Reed and Trinity Thomas each posted 9.95s to tie for second overall. Seniors Megan Skaggs and Baumann earned 9.9s.

Florida used marks of 9.825 or better toward its vault total. Reed led the team on the event for the second consecutive day, equaling her collegiate best of 9.925.

The Gators finished on uneven bars. Skaggs shared day’s top mark on bars at 9.9375 and Thomas also posted a 9.90.

WORTH NOTING

  *   This was Florida’s 17th NCAA team final appearance (1994, 1997, 1998, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2021). Florida won NCAA team titles in 2013, 2014, and 2015.
  *   In the 39-year history of the NCAA Championships, seven teams have won NCAA team titles – Alabama, UCLA, Florida, Georgia, Oklahoma, Utah, and now Michigan.

HEAR FROM THE GATORS:

Gators’ performance today:
“The mindset today was, ‘there [is] nothing to lose, just lay everything out on the floor and give 100%, no doubts, no regrets.’ I think there were several Gators that did that today, and there were a few instances where dwelling on the uncontrollables too much got the best of them.” – Florida Head Coach Jenny Rowland

Coach Rowland’s post-meet message to the team:
“This team has been through so much adversity through this year, and today is not what the Gators know that they’re capable of doing. However, what they’ve done throughout this entire season is something that cannot be taken away from them, and they have a lot to be proud of.

“I’m so grateful and thankful [for] this team, their heart, their passion. That commitment to each other has just been tremendous and very inspiring to see throughout this year.” – Florida Head Coach Jenny Rowland

Senior Megan Skaggs reflects on the NCAA Championship:
“I think we all feel happy because we put everything we had into [this weekend]. We prepared with everything we had and one of our major goals was to have no regrets. I know I can say for myself that I have zero regrets walking out of here.

“The end result was not what we wanted, but I think a lot of us are feeling like ‘Hey, we gave everything we had. Tonight didn’t go the way that we wanted, of course, but we have a lot to be proud of.’

“This journey didn’t start this year, it started in 2019. Rolling off those emotions of not qualifying to Nationals, and then bringing it all the way here to be in the top four, is such an incredible accomplishment, considering we didn’t even do gymnastics all summer long.” – senior Megan Skaggs

Skaggs discusses her senior season and final uneven bars routine:
“This team is so incredible. I think this has been my favorite year here, personally and with all the relationships I’ve gotten to build with each of the girls. I’m so proud of every single one of them, how we’ve overcome all the obstacles we’ve face this year and really come together and [have] been so close through it all. Personally, I’ve grown a lot this year and I’m just really happy with that growth, and I’m excited to see what’s next.

“Throughout that whole [bar] routine I was just loving it, enjoying it, taking it all in. When I landed, I knew I was gonna stick the dismount before I landed. I just felt it, and that was just my love for the sport, for the girls, for everything that we’ve put into [this season], and all of that was just flowing through me when I landed.” – senior Megan Skaggs

Coach Rowland on the graduating seniors:
“It’s always difficult to have a senior team exit, but these three, their heart, their soul, their passion for this team, they gave everything they had. I told them I couldn’t be more proud. Alyssa [Baumann] and Megan [Skaggs] had a phenomenal National Championship, and definitely left a legacy that they have much to be proud of.

“[I will remember this team’s] resilience, their strength, their passion, their leadership. So many young women stepped into roles that they were not super comfortable with, and just led this team.

“What a gritty team, their fight and love for the Gators will always be remembered.” – Florida Head Coach Jenny Rowland

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