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The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference

No. 2 Florida sets highest season-opening total record

16 days ago
Florida Athletics
Photo: Florida Athletics

GAINESVILLE, Fla. - Preseason No. 2 Florida gymnastics set its highest season-opening total to win Friday's quad meet at the Exactech Arena at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center.

The Gators posted a 197.675, followed by Northern Illinois (194.55), Texas Woman's University (193.70) and Rutgers (192.075).

Friday's crowd of 8,219 is the third-highest season opener in the program's 50-season history.

FRIDAY'S MEET

A Gator won every event title, including freshmen Sloane Blakely claiming the all-around. She is the first freshman to win all-around in a season debut since Gator Great Kytra Hunter opened with a win in 2012 at North Carolina State.

All-American Trinity Thomas started off her senior season with a win on vault at 9.95. Fellow senior Nya Reed was runner-up at 9.90.

A Gator senior All-American shared the next two event titles with a Florida freshman. The uneven bars win was shared by Savannah Schoenherr and freshman Leanne Wong at 9.875. Next on beam, Leah Clapper and Blakely tied for the balance beam win at 9.95.

Florida used four marks of 9.9 or better to tally a 49.575 on floor - a total that would have been the team's third-highest on the event for the 2021 season. Super senior All-American Alyssa Baumann equaled her near-perfect personal best of 9.975 for the fourth time. All-Americans Megan Skaggs and Reed bookended the lineup with 9.95s.

Blakely (39.45) and Skaggs (39.40) swept the top two all-around spots.

Florida's other freshman, Morgan Hurd, did not run out with the team Friday. She just arrived for the spring semester and was not planning on competing this weekend. Her NCAA certification is not yet complete, which prevented her from being part of the pre-meet introductions and such. She was on the sideline Friday to cheer the Gators in their season opener.

GATOR PERFORMANCE NOTES:

  • Florida's 197.675 is its all-time high in a season opener.
  • This is the fourth consecutive year Florida reset its season-opening best (2021: 197.50; 2020: 197.35; 2019: 197.30).
  • Blakely is the sixth since 1986 to win all-around in her first collegiate meet, joining Hunter (2012), Ashanée Dickerson (2010), Melanie Sinclair (2007), Corey Hartung (2006) and Melissa Miller (1986).
  • Blakely's 9.95 equals the highest ever for a Gator making their beam debut. Sophomore All-American Ellie Lazzari set the mark with her 2021 beam performance at Auburn
  • Two marks tonight by UF returners equaled or set collegiate bests: Baumann - 9.975 (floor); Skaggs - 9.95 (floor).
  • Baumann and Reed competed in two events Friday, posting marks of 9.9 or better for both performances: * Baumann - 9.925 (beam), 9.975 (floor) * Reed - 9.90 (vault), 9.95 (floor)

RECORDS: Florida (3-0, 0-0 SEC), Northern Illinois (2-1), TWU (1-2), Rutgers (0-3)

THE SERIES: Florida leads Rutgers and TWU 3-0. This was the first meeting between Florida and Northern Illinois

National Rank: Florida - Florida is No. 2 in the preseason Women's Collegiate Gymnastics Association preseason poll.

UP NEXT

2021 Southeastern Conference champions meet Sunday, Jan. 16 for the first-ever collegiate dual meet broadcast on network television. ABC airs the meeting between No. 2 Florida (SEC regular-season champion) and No. 6 Alabama (SEC Championship meet).