fbpx

UF Gymnastics: No. 1 Gators Win Over No. 15 Kentucky

Alyssa Baumann (center) celebrates her 9.95 floor exercise performance that sealed her all-around win. The Gators took a 197.50 – 196.875 win over No. 15 Kentucky in Friday’s Gators Link to Pink presented by UF Health.

Courtesy of University Athletic Association

BY MARY HOWARD

The top-ranked Gators stepped up to the challenge for missing teammates, winning tonight’s dual meet 197.50 – 196.875 over No. 15 Kentucky Friday in front of physically-distanced sellout Exactech Arena at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center crowd of 2,182.

COVID-19 protocols presented a challenge for Florida tonight. Gator gymnasts who performed eight routines in last Friday’s win at No. 2 LSU – Sydney Johnson-Scharpf, Nya Reed, Savannah Schoenherr, and Trinity Thomas – were sidelined tonight due to COVID-19 tests and contact tracing. That COVID-19 protocol circle also included Gator coach Jenny Rowland and Volunteer Coach Jeremy Miranda.

Those absences were aptly filled by the remaining Gators, including three making either their season or collegiate debuts in three events.

Entering her senior season, it was a goal for Alyssa Baumann to compete all-around. Tonight, she got that opportunity. Her winning total of 39.65 is the highest ever by a Gator making her all-around debut. She made her first competitive bars performance tonight since the June 26, 2016 P&G Championships – a span of 1,699 days.

Don't Miss a Post!

Two others joined Baumann making their season debuts on vault – Jazmyn Foberg (9.80) and Halley Taylor (9.675). Vault was the first of two collegiate debuts for Taylor Friday, as she anchored the beam lineup with a 9.825.

TONIGHT’S MEET
Opportunity was the theme for tonight with eight open lineup slots from last week when UF set its season high of 198.15 in a win at No. 2 LSU.

Landing bounces hurt the Gators overall vault score as UF tallied a 49.175. Freshman Ellie Lazzari collected her first collegiate vault title at 9.875. Sophomore Payton Richards shared second with UK’s Cally Nixon at 9.85.

A pair of Gator seniors – Megan Skaggs and Alyssa Baumann – shared Friday’s uneven bars title It was Skaggs’ second win on bars this season. Baumann shared the win after making her collegiate debut on the apparatus.

Florida’s balance beam total of 49.675 is the nation’s 2021 leader and also equals the Gators’ record. Scores started with a 9.875 by Payton Richards, followed by a pair of 9.925 by Megan Skaggs and Ellie Lazzari. Baughman posted a season-best 9.95 followed by junior Leah Clapper’s 10.0.

Baughman claimed her first floor title of the season with a season-best 9.95. Kentucky’s Raena Worley took second at 9.925. Skaggs and Richards shared third with UK’s Anna Haigis at 9.875.

A 10.0 FOR CLAPPER
Leah Clapper’s 10.0 is the nation’s third perfect mark of beam in 2021.

Other notes:

  *   Florida is the nation’s only team with two gymnasts with 2021 10.0s (Clapper – beam; Thomas – floor)
  *   Clapper is the 17th Gator to earn a 10.0. There have been 49 perfect marks in program history (11 vault, 14 bars, 9 beam and 15 floor)

GATOR PERFORMANCE NOTES:

  *   Florida now has four of the nation’s top 10 team totals of 2021 – No. 2 (198.15), No. 4 (197.85) and No. 8 (197.50 – twice).
  *   Baumann’s 39.65 ties for No. 7 among the nation’s all-around totals of 2021. Of those top seven totals, four belong to the Gators – Thomas (No. 1 39.90, No. 2 39.75 – twice) and Baumann (No. T7 39.65).
  *   Nine marks tonight equaled or set collegiate bests:
     *   Alyssa Baumann – 9.925 (bars), 39.65 (all-around)
     *   Leah Clapper  – 9.875 (bars), 10.0 (beam)
     *   Ellie Lazzari – 9.85 (bars), 39.475 (all-around)
     *   Payton Richards – 9.875 (floor)
     *   Halley Taylor – – 9.675 (vault), 9.825 (beam)

RECORDS: Florida (6-0, 5-0 SEC), Kentucky (3-3, 3-2 SEC)

THE SERIES: Florida leads the series 89-1.

ABOUT LINK TO PINK:
Tonight was the 15th Annual Gators Link to Pink meet. These meets are part of a Southeastern Conference initiative and most of the league’s teams will participate in a “pink” meet this season. Team colors are set aside as the teams wear pink to show their support for the breast cancer fight.

HEAR FROM THE GATORS:
Gators’ performance tonight with lineup changes:
“We knew we were going to have limited gymnasts available, but we were very confident. We had eight athletes competing tonight of our 10 available athletes. Hey, this is what we’ve been doing in the gym, this is what we’ve been training for.

“Every athlete on this team has been pushing in the gym, making themselves better, which in turn has made everybody else better. This is a great testament to that and great step up for the Gators.” – Florida Head Coach Jenny Rowland

National Rank:
Florida – Florida is No. 1 in the Road to Nationals standings
Kentucky- The Wildcats are No. 15

UP NEXT:
Florida finishes 2021 home action next Friday. It’s Senior Night and the careers of Florida’s Alyssa Baumann, Jazmyn Foberg, and Megan Skaggs will be celebrated in a post-meet ceremony.

When:                    Friday, Feb. 26 at 8:15 p.m. ET. Gates open at 7:30 p.m.
Venue:                   Exactech Arena at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center
TV:                          SEC Network
Stream:                 Watch ESPN
Tickets:                 Sold out

>