It’s that time again, Gator fans! Tonight is Link to Pink in the O-Dome and your favorite Gator gymnasts are ready to wow the crowd in honor of all those fighting breast cancer. As always, Alicia Boren and Trinity Thomas are among the top routines to watch tonight, especially in the closing rotation as they take to floor. Savannah Schoenherr is also one to keep an eye on – she’s been close to breaking into the floor lineup for a few weeks now, so tonight may be the night we see her routine in action. Alyssa Baumann has also been on the road to the all-around, and as she continues to recover from a scare early in the season, she gets stronger each week. Will we see her new Yurchenko 1.5 vault tonight? You’ll have to stick around to find out!
Auburn is a formidable opponent tonight, as they’ve pulled multiple upsets already this season, including against the higher-ranked LSU Tigers. Abby Milliet is Auburn’s senior leader, competing three events with top scores each week. Meanwhile, Derrian Gobourne is its star freshman, who has traded SEC Freshman of the Week honors with Florida’s Thomas throughout the season thus far. Will they upset the Gators tonight as they did with LSU? It’s not likely, but crazier things have happened.
6:35pm: Hey guys! Looking forward to an awesome meet tonight. Use the #ncaagym hashtag so I can see and feature your tweets! I should have lineups shortly, so when I have them, you’ll have them.
6:40pm: Just got lineups! Some interesting changes tonight – looking forward to seeing what vault Hundley does, since she’s been training a 1.5, though I haven’t seen it since December. Looking forward to seeing Gobourne, Watson and Milliet in person, and seeing Schoenherr lead floor! Excited to see her break into that lineup.
6:50pm: Intros happening now. Just realized that they introduce Baumann as a World Champion, which is amazing. NBD. But also like how did I not notice that until now? Ha!
7:01pm: Getting started finally!
Alexander, VT: FTY, nice high pop off the table, small slide on the landing. She’s definitely been working on that control there.
Watson, UB: first HS good, Tkachev is craazy high, wow. Bail is good, a little floppy. Last handstand short. Full in slings it out a little, small adjustment on landing.
Wow, it’s weird to see Bryan Raschilla with this team. Not used to that.
7:03pm: Hundley, VT: just the FTY tonight, really deep knee bend on the landing, almost like she was short? Yeah, wow, she underestimated that. Not what we’re used to from her.
Krippner, UB: Maloney nice, bail is solid. Last handstand is good. Full in super close to the bar! Yikes! But she sticks it, wow. That was close.
7:04pm: Reed, VT: Goes further rather than higher tonight, but it works for her – just a small hop forward instead of her usual bound. Much improved.
Gobourne, UB: First handstand is fine, though the half turn is too quick for my taste. Huge tkachev! Pak is okay, a little leg sep. Full in, maybe a stick? I thought I saw a foot move just a wee bit.
7:07pm: Schoenherr, VT: Y1.5, not as big a block as she’s capable of, but the distance is good and again, just a small hop on the landing. The Gators have been working these landings!
Cerio, UB: Clear hip half, piked Jaeger is lovely. Bail dead on. Last handstand maybe a little short, full pirouette is good. Double tuck dismount, looked like a stick but she saluted herself off balance and stepped back, whoops. Still a strong score though!
7:08pm: Boren, VT: Y1.5 and it’s one of her good ones – WOW was that a stick? Hmmm slow mo replay shows not, but it was damn close.
Milliet, UB: Ray is gorgeous, pak just FLOOOOOATS wow. Lovely last handstand, full turn is so controlled, and she shows off that stick. Auburn coming for this bar rotation!
7:10pm: Thomas, VT: She just has so much power, jeez. Hop forward out of her Y1.5 but keeps it under control.
Day, UB: Hecht mount, that’s fun. First handstand a little short, next one is better. Blind change is good, Jaeger to overshoot nice! Last handstand a little iffy, arabian double front dismount with a step or two.
AFTER ONE: Florida trails Auburn ever so slightly, with the Gators scoring 49.35 to the Tigers’ 49.375. Those vault landings are really where Florida is giving it away, but they’ve clearly been working on them. Another week or two and they should be fire. Auburn really went for it on bars, though there wasn’t enough separation between the good and the great for me.
7:18pm: Here we go with rotation two!
Phillips, VT: She’s really come into her own this year, I love seeing her as a mainstay. Big height, opens early and STICKS! That was awesome! Little leg form in there though.
Boren, UB: Tkachev is lovely, handstands great so far. Bail straight on. Last handstand is near perfect. DLO a little close to the bar, a little shuffle back on the landing.
7:20pm: Krippner, VT: Another FTY, cleaner form than Phillips but a slide back.
Gowey, UB: Good first handstand. Ray is solid – did I see a flexed foot? Say it ain’t so! Pak is nice. Handstand on low bar is fine, though goes over too fast for my taste – she’s rushing. Last handstand is short, DLO with a step back. Not her best.
7:22pm: Day, VT: Y1.5, was not prepared for the landing and ends up falling after staggering back.
Hundley, UB: Maloney to bail, very nice. Good handstands on low bar. Little leg sep on Van Leeuwen, crowd exclaims like they’ve never seen that before, what? Full in, little step with one foot.
7:24pm: Gobourne, VT: Y1.5, small step forward. Loooove her height and distance. That’s a good reset after Day.
Thomas, UB: Good first handstand, Maloney to uprise is just so strong. Pak is nice, good handstands after. Van Leeuwen better than Hundley’s. Good last handstand. DLO is like a dart into the mat, feet couldn’t move if she tried! Crowd goes nuts, screaming for 10s. We’ll see if they go for it in the four spot.
7:26pm: Watson, VT: Y1.5, almost a carbon copy of Gobourne including great dynamics and the step forward.
Skaggs, UB: Great first handstand, Tkachev is so high and sharp, straight to pak, good. Snaps into last handstand so aggressively, and she too sticks her double layout! Florida starting to turn up the heat here.
7:27pm: Glenn, VT: Y1.5, overcooks it and takes a big lunge forward. Both teams with some errors on vault tonight, it seems, but I think Auburn’s may hurt them more than Florida’s did, simply because they have to drop Day’s fall.
Schoenherr, UB: Almost goes over on first handstand but she saves it. Jaeger is strong, bail a little floppy? Last handstand iffy. Goes for the big dismount tonight, double back half out and sticks it! Very nice!
AFTER TWO: Florida pulls ahead with a 98.775 to Auburn’s 98.3. Auburn had to count Glenn’s 9.575, while Florida’s drop score was a 9.825. Thomas will win bars with her 9.95, and Boren wins vault with a 9.925. Auburn still keeping it close despite the flubs on vault, but I’d say it’s still unlikely that they’ll upset the Gators, especially considering Florida has home floor advantage.
7:36pm: Here we go! Rotation three!
Skaggs, BB: Double wolf, looked scary there for a second but she controls it. Switch leap to split jump, lovely positions in the air. Bhs loso, little stutter step bobble but she stays on. Cat leap to side aerial to back full, good! Bounce in place, slow mo shows her toes stayed down so idk, I’ll leave the stick call up to you guys.
Slappey, FX: Front lay to Rudi to open, nice! Bringing some sass to this routine. Lovely split positions in her dance elements, and throws a stag in there for good measure. Double tuck to close, looks like only a two-pass routine for her. That was a cute one, a good lead off for them.
7:40pm: Hundley, BB: American Pie for her beam music this week – the whole arena is singing along, amazing. Front aerial to sissone, good. Bhs loso, super steady. Cat leap to switch side, secure. Full turn, you can tell that’s one of the parts that makes her most nervous, but she keeps it under control. Roundoff 1.5, a little step or two on the landing but she looked glad just to be done!
7:42pm: Sheppard, FX: Triple full to open! A little crossy crossy and flexed feet, but still impressive and good control on the landing. Not as much height in her dance elements as I typically expect, but positions were fine. Showing off her dance and flexibility here, giving great face. 1.5 to front lay to close, another two pass routine. That was fun!
7:43pm: Boren, BB: Front toss, so strong. Bhs loso, steady as a rock. Switch leap to straddle, not her best but fine from where I sit. Cat leap to gainer loso, masks the bobble and makes it dance! The mark of a pro. Cartwheel to gainer full, stick! Redemption from last week.
7:45pm: Watson, FX: Bringing the drama this year, loving this already. Double arabian to open, doesn’t get a lot of height but gets it around no problem, just a step on the landing. She was close to the corner but I don’t think she went out. Double tuck second pass, good. Straddle positions are nice on her dance elements. Gives a little AU in the corner, nice. 1.5 to front lay to close, dances out. Not the best I’ve seen her do but what can I say, my standards are high.
7:47pm: Gowey, BB: Traded the order with her and Thomas this week. Switch to split is good. Triple series, so patient with it, just lays it perfectly in line. Front aerial to sissone, great. Gainer full, stick! Just makes it look so easy.
7:49pm: Gobourne, FX: Full in to open, a little crazy legs but lands it perfectly in time with the music, controls the crazy in the landing better than in the air, but it’s still there. Combo pass is good, dances right out. She’s totally showing this routine off feeding off the big crowd. Double pike to close, jumps back to land on the floor – I love the ending! That should be a big one for them, despite the stressful opening landing.
7:51pm: Thomas, BB: Switch half to beat, lovely. One-arm bhs to loso, straight on. Front aerial to wolf jump, better in that connection than the last time here at home. Roundoff double full, slide back. Gave away a little on the landing, but honestly not much else.
7:53pm: Milliet, FX: Front lay to Rudi to open, such clean twisting form. Lovely switch ring position, yes. Double pike, two foot stick! Wow! Really turning it up here, you can see the showmanship and experience shining through. 1.5 to front lay, so well controlled. Tuck jump really high to drop split, the whole crowd goes crazy!! Can’t help but gasp and cheer. That was awesome!
7:55pm: Baumann, BB: She put the Onodi back in! Little hesitation and adjustment after, but she keeps it small and controlled. Bhs loso is great. Switch to switch half is solid. Full turn, effortless. Side aerial, good. Roundoff 1.5 twist, fights for the stick and keeps her right foot down! That should be another solid score for them.
7:56pm: Day, FX: She’s so animated, I love that. Double arabian to open, and it’s good! Not even the deep landing like she usually does. Double tuck for her second pass, solid. Playing to the FNH camera here in the corner in this dance break, what a gamer. Front full to front lay is well controlled, and the crowd can’t help but cheer for her as she finishes. That’s a fun one.
AFTER THREE: Florida still leads Auburn, but again, Auburn is keeping it closer. The Gators are sitting pretty at 148.2, with the Tigers at 147.775. Boren, Gowey and Baumann lead beam at 9.9, while Milliet and Day lead floor at 9.925.
8:04pm: I love this! Toe point is where you can really see the comfort and mastery level in a gymnast’s skills – if that’s what they’re thinking about rather than doing the skill, they have to be super comfortable and confident with it.
8:05pm: Okay, here we go with the final rotation!
Watson, BB: Bhs loso, big lean but stays on. Side aerial, steady. Switch to split 1/4, another bobble, leans forward but again stays on. Roundoff 1.5 twist, slide forward.
8:07pm: Schoenherr, FX: her competitive debut! Stoked for this. So dramatic, and the musicality here in this opening section is great. Opens with double pike, good control. Dance elements are good. 1.5 twist to front lay, doesn’t get a lot of rise in there but controls it fine. Rudi to close, maybe a little ragged than she’s capable of but a solid open. Good for her!
8:08pm: Gobourne, BB: She’s sassy even on beam, I love that. Bhs loso, stays patient with it and doesn’t show a single sign of moving. Switch leap to straddle 1/4, good. Cat leap side aerial back full, slide back. Trending upward, that’s good for them.
8:10pm: Hundley, FX: Whip to double tuck to open, crowd is living for her routine right now. Double pike, lots of power but does her best to keep her front foot down in her lunge landing. I think the floor section in this dance break kills a lot of the energy in the room for her, but maybe that’s just me. 1.5 to front lay to close, nice.
8:12pm: Sheppard, BB: Bhs, doesn’t go for her series, clearly uncomfortable. Tries again, bhs loso, leg up but covers well by bringing it to passe, wow. What a pro. Hitchkick to side aerial, another small bobble. Leap series is good. Bhs to back 1.5, looked like a small adjustment on landing.
Me too, Susie. Me too.
8:14pm: Reed, FX: Bring Em Out is playing in the arena, and it’s so aptly timed – this is where Florida’s heavy hitters come out. DLO to open, just soooo much power, and good control on the landing. Not as big a smile this week, maybe in her head a little? Wonder what she’s worrying about. Front lay to Rudi, there’s that smile. Shoulder roll, loooove. Double pike to close, hits last pose and the crowd goes nuts! People screaming 10 everywhere. Don’t think they’ll do it in the 3 spot but we’ll see.
8:17pm: Krippner, BB: Front aerial to bhs, connection v slow but unlikely to be taken away from her I think. Front aerial, tries to save it by going to a scale but leans too far forward, breaks at hips and falls. Yikes. Leap series is good, but she doubts it and has another big bobble. Roundoff 1.5 with a stick, but too little too late.
8:18pm: Boren, FX: Still don’t understand why she’s in the 4 spot but I’m not in charge here. DLO to open is amazing as usual, combo pass also solid and controlled, just one step out. Double tuck to finish, super high, pops it out to the lunge just to save her ankles, not like she needs it. Crowd booing the fact that it’s not a 10.
8:21pm: Milliet, BB: Starting in the midst of the boos with her front tuck mount, just a little lean. Sooo calm, I’m impressed. Series is great. Showing off the flexibility in a back walkover. Split to sheep, the best sheep jump I’ve ever seen in this arena. Cat leap to gainer full, small adjustment with right foot. That’s exactly what they needed her to do.
8:22pm: Thomas, FX: Crowd already in high gear for this one. DLO to open, yessssss. 1.5 to front full today, no double full. Probably to keep it clean. Worm to oversplit on the floor, slaying it. Double pike to close, pops it out to a lunge, looked like she landed on the edge of the sting mat so might’ve been an awkward feeling for her. Butterfly to closing pose. Everyone cheering, but I think it’s only a 9.975. So close. Here come the boos again.
8:25pm: Sylvia, BB: So cool for her to be anchoring! Front aerial to rufolva, wow! (That’s a full twisting back handspring swing down to straddle the beam, for those who arne’t die hard fans.) Leap series is good. Cartwheel to gainer full, shows off the stick for a few seconds! They drop the fall!
8:27pm: Baumann, FX: If she deserves it and doesn’t get the 10, I think this crowd might riot. Opens with a double tuck, so easy for her. 1.5 to front full, lands it perfectly and doesn’t even have to step, just hits her next pose in the same place. Crowd is clapping so loud now. Double pike is great. Arena on their feet roaring. Say what you will about the overscoring and rabid fans, but this is an incredible atmosphere to be in.
The Gators will take it pretty easily tonight, scoring a very respectable (and realistic, I think) 197.85. Auburn will go 196.7, a road score they can use, though they’ll want to find a few higher ones if they’re gunning for the evening session of SECs.
Vault will go to Boren with her 9.925, and Thomas will take bars at 9.95. Beam is a three-way tie at 9.9s for Baumann, Boren and Gowey, and floor will go to Thomas with her near-perfect 9.975. This means the all-around will go to Thomas with a 39.7, a HUGE score, especially for a freshman.
Fun stats to close out the night for you: tonight’s crowd was the ninth-largest in school history at 9,055 people. They actually made an announcement asking people to scoot in in their rows and make room for more fans. UF has never lost a Link to Pink meet, and tonight continues their streak. I’ll have a recap for you guys later tonight, but that’s gonna do it for the liveblog! Thanks for hanging out!