GAINESVILLE, Fla. - The Florida gymnastics team turns in a 197.125 score to win first place and join Georgia gymnastics in St. Louis, Missouri for the NCAA Gymnastics Championship.
1. Florida - 197.125
2. Georgia - 196.775
3. Mizzou - 196.100
4. Penn State - 195.325
5. North Carolina - 194.425
6. New Hampshire - 194.175
The Florida gymnastics team is off to the NCAA Championships after winning the Gainesville Regional title, held Saturday afternoon in front of 5,214 at the Exactech Arena at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center. The win advances Florida to St. Louis, Mo., when the NCAA Championships makes its first appearance in the Show-Me State.
Florida bounced back from an uncharacteristic opening uneven bars set, moving up the team standings as the meet progressed. By the fourth rotation, Florida passed mid-meet leader Georgia and held that position through the remainder of the competition.
The Gators turned in a 197.125 Saturday for the team's sixth consecutive NCAA Regional title. The top two teams in regional competition advance to the NCAA Championships. Georgia claimed the other berth at 196.775. Missouri was third at 196.10, followed by Penn State (195.325), North Carolina (194.425) and New Hampshire (194.175).
Junior Alex McMurtry won at least a share of four event titles, including her second consecutive all-around win. The Southeastern Conference Gymnast of the Year took the SEC all-around with a collegiate-best 39.70. Today's total was just off her SEC mark at 39.675.
She led a Gator sweep of the top three all-around spots, as fellow junior Kennedy Baker was second at 39.55 and freshman Amelia Hundley was third (39.375).
McMurtry took sole possession of the bars win at 9.95 and shared the beam title with Georgia's Ashlyn Broussard at 9.90. It was a three-way Gator tie for the floor exercise title, as McMurtry, Baker and sophomore Alicia Boren all turned in a 9.925.
Junior Rachel Slocum and Georgia's Sydney Snead tied for the vault win with identical marks of 9.95.
The 10th-ranked Gymdogs finished with a 196.775, trailing only No. 3 Florida (197.125). Georgia raced out to an early lead and held the upper hand at the halfway point of the meet but could not fend off their Southeastern Conference foes.
Georgia defeated 15th-ranked Missouri (196.100) as well as Penn State (195.325), North Carolina (194.425) and New Hampshire (194.175) in the six-team meet. Sydney Snead claimed an event title with her fourth 9.95 on vault this season, and the Gymdogs also got big performances from freshman Rachel Dickson (9.9 - bars) and senior Ashlyn Broussard (9.9 - beam) on the day.
"We're obviously really excited to be moving on to the championship," said Georgia head coach Danna Durante. "I'm really proud of our team. We started strong on vault and just kept that momentum going. I'm proud of the way we fought hard on beam, especially with Florida on floor we knew that it was going to be really loud. I'm excited that we just kept clicking and excited for this team. It's been a long year for us with injuries and illness, and we just keep coming back and keep bouncing back. We've got two more weeks of training and we'll get to St. Louis."
The Gymdogs grabbed the lead out of the gate while posting their best road vault score this season with a 49.325. All six gymnasts claimed a 9.8 or better, with Snead leading the way with a 9.95, her fourth of the season in the event. Georgia got a trio of 9.85s from Gigi Marino, Broussard and Lauren Johnson and also counted a 9.825 from Morgan Reynolds.
Georgia scored a 49.175 on floor as a team in the final rotation, finishing with a meet score of 196.775. The Gymdogs were led on floor by Vega's 9.875, with Vivi Babalis and Marino following closely behind with a pair of 9.85s. Reynolds and Beth Roberts also contributed 9.8s in the event.
MissouriThe No. 15 Missouri gymnastics team finished third with a team score of 196.100 Saturday at the 2017 NCAA Gainesville Regional. The 196.100 tied the Tigers' second-highest regional score in program history, trailing just the 196.500 recorded at the 2010 NCAA Columbia Regional.
"I thought we performed well today," Mizzou Head Coach Shannon Welker said. "I liked that we came out and attacked our first event. It got us off to a nice solid start, which was something we were focusing on. We knew it was going to be tough coming in here being the third seed. We've seen Florida and Georgia all year long and we know they're good teams and we were going to have one of our better meets to knock them off."
After a bye in the first rotation, Missouri posted a 49.025 on floor in its first competition of the day. Junior Kennedi Harris (Atlanta, Georgia) notched a team-best 9.875 on the exercise, her 10th score of 9.875 or higher in 2017. Sophomores Madeleine Huber (St. Louis, Missouri) and Brooke Kelly (Birmingham, Alabama) each earned 9.8s and sophomore Allison Bower (Mesa, Arizona), junior Becca Schugel (Eagan, Minnesota) and freshman Aspen Tucker (Lehigh Acres, Florida) all went 9.775.
A 49.075 on vault in the third rotation kept up the team's solid start. Ward, a Regular Season All-America second team honoree on the event, posted a 9.875 to pace the squad. A strong vault from Tucker earned her a 9.850 and Harris and sophomore Xarria Lewis (Columbia, Missouri) recorded scores of 9.8, a season-high for Lewis.
The Tigers responded with a 49.150 on bars in the fifth rotation following a bye. Four different Tigers earned scores of 9.825 or higher, including 9.85s from Schugel, Kelly and junior Shauna Miller (Knoxville, Tennessee), while Huber was just behind with a 9.825. Additionally, Ward notched a 9.75 in the leadoff spot.
Ward again led the way for Missouri on beam in the final rotation. Her 9.875 on the apparatus tied for third overall on the event and was only 0.25 off tying her for the event title and a spot at the National Championships. Kelly earned a 9.8 as beam, Schugel and junior Tia Allbritten posted 9.75s and Bower went 9.7.