Gymnastics

WGYM Liveblog: SEC Championships Session Two, feat. No. 4 Florida Gators

After a fun session one where Alabama set the bar higher than expected, session two of the SEC Championship is ramping up for a 7:00 P.M. C.T. start here in New Orleans, La. More seats are starting to fill here in the Smoothie King Center, largely with purple and gold thanks to our proximity to LSU. Warmups are well underway, and the Gators are raring to go.

Your lineups tonight feature very similar squads to those the Gators fielded two weeks ago against Penn State, with Megan Skaggs in all four events and Alexander vaulting in the two spot. The few changes here are Trinity Thomas moving to the anchor slot on bars, a move fans have advocated all season, and the return of Rachel Gowey on beam after a six-week rest due to an injury flare-up. Additionally, the floor squad has returned to its normal 4-5-6 order of Boren-Thomas-Baumann after briefly changing it up for senior night to allow Boren to anchor.

The Gators will have to go head-to-head with the Tigers, but their track record is good: in their last and only matchup this season, Florida beat LSU in Baton Rouge by 0.075. If it can repeat tonight, Florida’s path should otherwise be fairly clear to the top. However, Georgia will not be forgotten, and it certainly won’t have forgotten the fact that it beat Florida at home just a month ago by the exact same margin. Going by the season so far, it would then follow that Georgia should win, Florida second and LSU third – but none of these teams are giving up that top spot without a fight.

7:15pm: We’re entering the final warmup rotation before the meet starts. Tweet me @mycluttereddesk or @chomptalk and let me know who you guys want to hear from after tonight’s meet! Send me all your Gator love and show me your watch setups from home, and we’ll feature them here – lord knows there’s not enough Florida representation in this arena. Get ready, T-minus 45 minutes!

7:40pm: It’s starting to get loud in here, the LSU crowd has really turned out. The Gator cheering section is on the opposite side of the arena from me, and it’s sadly really small. Champs next year are in Duluth, Ga. so maybe more folks will be able to travel. Still, we all know how loud Gator fans can be when they want to – I’m sure the girls will feel the love when they hit the floor.

7:00pm: Touch warmups are getting ready to start! They’re showing each team’s hype videos – Kentucky’s uses Little Mix’s “Salute,” I’m in love.

7:07pm: Boren, UB: Tkachev, nice. Bail is solid. DLO a little close to the bar, stuck!

Finnegan, VT: FTY, stuck cold. Exactly what they wanted

Snead, BB: Roundoff double full dismount, a little adjustment. Missed the rest but looked like a hit.

Poland, FX: She’s having so much fun out there, such a dynamic performer.

7:08pm: Harrold, VT: Y1.5, teeny hop forward. One of her better ones.

Hundley, UB: Maloney to pak, good. Van Leeuwen, little leg sep as usual. Full in dismount, stuck! Staggered feet on the landing, but they didn’t move a muscle.

Dickson, BB: Sticks her 1.5 dismount, that’s all I saw from here.

Kelley, VT: Handspring pike half, looked stuck from here?? Maybe a little up down but she stayed in place. Damn.

7:10pm: Schoenherr, UB: Jaeger is good. Bail good, a little undefined in the handstand. Stuck dismount!

Priessman, VT: Y1.5, small hop to the side.

Stuart, FX: Missed this entirely, heard a small gasp at one point so there might have been a miss. Score will tell us. Oh yeah, replay showed her sitting a pass.

7:12pm: Florida has changed their lineup order, Gowey is anchoring now.

Skaggs, UB: Tkachev to pak is so good as always.  DLO stuck! Fireeeee.

Magee, BB: Looks like a hit but missed most of it. Replay shows a hit series. Dismount was waaay off to the side but she pulled it out somehow.

Edwards, VT: Y1.5, bounce forward.

Warren, FX: Front double full hit. Something happened with her second pass, crooked or something and she sat, I think. Or grazed the ground. Third pass hit.

7:14pm: Edney, VT: Y1.5, small step forward.

Thomas, UB: Maloney to pak is gorgeous. Van Leeuwen, legs glued together. DLO, aw she scoots back on the salute.

Oakley, BB: Bhs loso super secure. Split jump, bobbles and hesitates. Goes again, split to ring, bigger bobble but keeps both feet on the beam. Cartwheel gainer full, looks stuck from here.

7:16pm: Gowey, UB: Ray, much better than in practice yesterday. Pak is good. A little shy on last handstand, DLO slide back.

Hyland, FX: Double pike to open, good. Dance elements are lovely and extended. She’s so fun to watch, she sits right in the pocket of the beat. 1.5 to front lay to close is good too.

R Baumann, BB: Side aerial loso, wobble but stays on. Wolf hop to switch side, that’s different. Roundoff double full bounce back.

7:19pm: Korth, FX: Full in to open is stellar, great amplitude. Rudi loso, so fun. Double pike to close, little bounce back on the landing but stays in bounds fine.

Vega, BB: Leap series, especially the ring looks a little timid. Front aerial to split is lovely, there’s the moonwalk, little cheer from the crowd. Bhs loso, locks it in. Side aerial back full, stuck! Georgia keeping it close.

7:22pm: Dukes, FX: Interesting to see her anchor instead of Korth. Double pike to open is good. Combo pass showed good control. Double back, little cowboying and a step forward. She’s celebrating after her finish, she’s so excited just to have had a clean routine.

AFTER ONE: Florida 49.425, LSU 49.375, Georgia 49.050, Kentucky 48.625

Despite some early stellar landings for LSU on vault, Florida leads after one! Not by much, though – just a 0.05 margin. Georgia and Kentucky have some ground to make up if they don’t want Alabama to end up third overall and show them up.

Finnegan, Harrold and Kelley tie the 9.9 mark set by session one for the vault lead. Skaggs will take the new lead on bars at 9.925, while Graber’s mark on beam from session one will hold at 9.95, as will her and Guerra’s 9.925 on floor.

7:32pm: Durante, UB: Jaeger and pak are both great. Dismount stuck from what I can tell from the crowd.

Hundley, BB: Series secure. Cat leap to switch side great. Roundoff 1.5, stuck! A good start for them.

Hits from Kwan and Dukes, both FTYs.

Davis, FX: Came super close to going OOB on first pass, don’t remember what it was. Double back was good, chest a little low. Combo pass nice.

7:34pm: Ferrer, UB: Jaeger good, transitioned fine. DLO, slide back on salute.

Davis, VT: FTY, really short and chest down, had to step forward.

Skaggs, BB: Double wolf clean. Switch to split, good extension. Series secure. Cat leap to side aerial to back full stuck!

R Baumann, FX: First pass was good. Double tuck, big energy and slides back into the lunge, trying to control it. Missed her last pass but she hit.

7:36pm: Hyland, VT: FTY, good.

Harrold, UB: Zuchold good. Jaeger huge air! Double front dismount, one step forward.

Stuart, VT: Y1.5, one of her best, just a small step forward.

Boren, BB: Gainer front toss, solid as a rock. Bhs loso, arm swing to the side but snaps them down like it was on purpose. Gainer loso great. Stuck gainer full I think? Hard to tell from here.

Edney, UB: Hindorff, not as much distance from the bar as usual. Bail is fine. Stuck dismount from the crowd chants.

Korth, VT: Y1.5 basically stuck! Go girl!

7:38pm: Snead, FX: Double pike to open, nice. Rudi to shushunova (straddle jump to dive onto the floor on her belly) is great. I don’t love this routine on her but oh well. Whip through to double back, very good.

Priessman, UB: Tkachev to pak is good, less leg sep than usual. DLO, slide back.

Gowey, BB: Switch leap to split jump, gorgeous extension. So glad she’s back! Bhs loso loso, so steady. Front aerial to sissone, lovely. Gainer full stuck! What a great return to this lineup.

7:41pm: Lukacs, FX: I missed all of this except her combo pass because of Finnegan, but she hit.

Finnegan, UB: Ray gorgeous. Bail is solid, great position. DLO, holds the stick with her toes. What a pro. LSU is not backing down.

Thomas, BB: Switch half to beat, nice. One-arm bhs loso, little arm swing, maybe a bobble? Front aerial to wolf jump, solid. Roundoff double full, bounce back.

7:44pm: Dickson, FX: Double arabian, one of her good ones, super upright when she lands. 1.5 to front lay, dances right out. Totally playing to the crowd on this one, not just the Georgia fans either. Double tuck to close, very nice.

Baumann, BB: Bhs loso, good. No Onodi, probably a safe choice. Switch to switch half, gorgeous positions in the air. Front aerial lovely. Roundoff 1.5 stuck! Big fist pump and a defiant Gator chomp toward their cheering section as she comes off the podium, she’s so stoked.

Vega, FX: She has such a presence when she steps on the floor, the place was quiet waiting for her music to start. Full in! So pleased that’s made a comeback in her set. It’s better than it used to be too, it’s not scary anymore! 1.5 to front lay, just one step out and she locks it down. Double pike to close, a little short but pops her chest right up, just one step forward.

AFTER TWO: Florida 99.050, LSU 98.850, Georgia 98.350, Kentucky 97.750

What a rotation! Beam was absolutely lights out for the Gators, though the judges may have been a little lenient here and there. LSU is still keeping it close, only two tenths behind after a stellar end to its bars rotation with Edney, Priessman and Finnegan all going 9.9 or higher.

Mollie Korth of Kentucky takes the lead on vault with a 9.925 and Finnegan takes bars at 9.95!

7:57pm: Magee, VT: FTY, stuck but a little forward in her landing.

Missed Stuart on bars entirely. Replay showed her stellar FTDLO dismount though.

Skaggs, FX: Double pike to open, a little forward but plays it off. Rudi second pass, good. I love this routine, it’s so jazzy and fun. Comes really close to OOB on the last pass, unsure if she went out or not.

Desiderio, BB: Definitely a hit and stuck her dismount. Missed the rest.

7:69pm: Ward, VT: Tsuk full, step back.

Vega, VT: FTY, bounce back.

Nixon, UB: Hit, saw none of it.

Dean, BB: Leap series is clean, series was good from the last element I saw. Front aerial, secure. Side aerial back full stuck! Crowd goes nuts.

Hundley, FX: Whip double tuck is great this week, super controlled landing. Double pike second pass, good. 1.5 to front lay, dances out to finish. A reset for the Gators – I think Skaggs had a start value issue, she got a 9.525.

Kwan, UB: Hit, missed most of it. Sorry if I’m not paying much attention to Kentucky, they’re kinda out of it at this point.

8:01pm: Dickson, VT: Omelianchik, big bounds forward, comes onto the second landing mat she’s so far.

Durante, BB: Leap series nice and extended. Side aerial back full stuck! Missed her series but looks like a hit.

Dukes, UB: Release was good. DLO dismount, didn’t see the landing.

Lukacs, VT: DTY, small adjustment on the landing but one of her better ones.

8:03pm: Reed, FX: DLO and goes OOB, dang. Front lay to Rudi, good control. Bringing the sass in here. Double pike to close, good.

Snead, VT: Y1.5, small hop on landing.

Hyland, UB: Tkachev is nice and floaty. Bail is good. Full in maybe stuck? Missed the landing.

8:05pm: Edney, BB: Series solid. Switch to switch side, good. Piked front toss is so great, lands standing straight up. Stuck dismount! LSU sees that opening Skaggs left and is rushing through it…

Korth, UB: Jaeger awesome, bail solid. FTDLO dismount, small slide back.

8:06pm: Boren, FX: DLO, pops out the lunge because she can. 1.5 to front lay, so much control, just the single step out of it. Slocum is right in the corner where she does the hip bump to dance right to her. Double back to close, maybe a little too much energy but keeps her front foot down.

Campbell, BB: Series is good. Front aerial to sissone is good. Switch to switch half is lovely. Roundoff double full, slide back.

8:09pm: Thomas, FX: These two greats going at the same time should be illegal. DLO is a BEAUTY. Missed if she did the full or double full this week, but either way the combo pass was nice. Double pike, a bounce back. Such an electric routine.

Finnegan, BB: Single wolf is great. Series, gorgeous. Switch to switch half, nice. Side somi, good. Side aerial to back full, maybe a scoot back? Hard to see from here and they’re showing Trin on the big screen.

8:11pm: Baumann, FX: Double tuck to open, layyys it back like she’s in slow mo. 1.5 to front full, one step and pops the hip out as she flicks her hands over her head. Yes. Double pike to close, just a small lunge there, honestly could’ve stuck it but I’m not mad. Team is going bonkers.

AFTER THREE: Florida 148.475, LSU 148.300, Georgia 147.525, Kentucky 146.950

It’s gonna be a close one, y’all. LSU starts to close the gap, but Florida still leads by 0.175. Both teams are now going to the events where they’ve struggled this season, so it’ll be a close one.

Like I was starting to say before this rotation started, Korth of Kentucky takes the lead on vault with a 9.925 and Finnegan takes bars at 9.95! Beam is now tied with Graber and Finnegan at 9.95, and floor has been taken by Thomas and Baumann at 9.95. All hard marks to beat.

8:23pm: Skaggs, VT: FTY, smalllllllest of shuffles on the landing.

Roberts, UB: Definitely a hit, DLO stuck.

Harrold, FX: Front double full was good. Double pike solid, good control. So electric in this arena. 1.5 to front lay, all the way to the line but doesn’t cross.

Missed Warren entirely, apologies.

8:25pm: Alexander, VT: FTY, single step back.

Lukacs, UB: Tkachev, fine. She is not a bars girl but she’s making this work. Pak, big leg sep and maybe a knee bend. DLO stuck!

8:27pm: Reed, VT: Y1.5, small hop forward, one of her better ones.

Angeny, BB: Side aerial back tuck full dismount, missed the rest, but looks like a hit.

8:28pm: Thomas, VT: Y1.5, little shuffle forward

Snead, UB: Tkachev was good. Bail solid. Short last handstand. DLO slide forward

Desiderio, FX: DLO stuck! Big cheers from the crowd. Front tuck through to double tuck, nice. Double pike to close, chest a little low but pops it right up.

8:29pm: Schoenherr, VT: Y1.5, small hop? I glanced at beam and missed exactly what it was, though definitely a good one.

Korth, BB: Series solid. Dismount good!

Al-Hameed, UB: Missed this entirely, which I’m kinda mad about. She’s great.

Boren, VT: Y1.5, little stutter hop like usual. Still a good one.

8:30pm: Priessman, FX: Just the double pike right now, no E pass. Double tuck was good. Her choreo in that section is a little odd? I feel like it doesn’t hit right with the music. 1.5 front lay, good control.

Dickson, UB: Huge release! Love that air. Just the DLO dismount this week.

Stuart hit beam I think? I missed it.

8:32pm: Edney, FX: Double arabian and it’s gorgeous, just a small shuffle forward. She’s figured that one out. Second pass good. Double tuck to close, another big score there for LSU. And here comes the boooos from the crowd, for a 9.925….

Oakley, UB: Piked Jaeger is lovely, so is the pak. Full in stuck, she’s patient and holds it for a second.

Dukes, BB: Bhs loso, sooo steady. Front aerial to split jump, nice. She’s so calm through all the crowd noise. Sticks her dismount! Good fight from Kentucky here.

8:36pm: Finnegan, FX: 1.5 through to 2.5, so well controlled on her landings. Double tuck, floats it in the air. Double pike, two feet but may have shuffled rather than stuck. The noise is deafening. But that’s probably it. That’s the game.

Hyland, BB: Leap series looked good. Hitchkick front aerial to bhs loso. Cat leap to side aerial to back full, stuck! Such a pro to stay focused through all the crowd noise.

8:39pm: A 10 for Finnegan and that’s the meet, LSU will defeat Florida. It’s just a matter of by how much now.

Kelley, FX: This is her victory lap. DLO, chest is low but she doesn’t even care at this point. Front lay front full, just the one step out of it. Double tuck to close, lays it back and she is loving every second.

FINAL: LSU 197.900, Florida 197.750, Georgia 197.000, Kentucky 196.225. 

With sessions combined, this makes it

  1. LSU 197.900
  2. Florida 197.750
  3. Alabama 197.350
  4. Georgia 197.000
  5. Arkansas 196.575
  6. Auburn 196.375
  7. Kentucky 196.225
  8. Missouri 195.900

Event titles will go to Thomas for vault (9.95), Finnegan for bars (9.95); Graber, Skaggs, Gowey, Baumann and Finnegan for beam (9.95); and Finnegan for floor (10.0). Finnegan will also take the AA title at a massive 39.8!

8:53pm: Awards are being handed out shortly, they’re getting everybody on the floor now. I’ll note your Gator award winners and “medalists,” since they honor the top 8 on each event.

This crowd of 10,505 people is the largest ever at an SEC Gymnastics Championship. Wow!

Community Service Team: Amanda Cheney

Honored as Event Medalists: Thomas, VT, 1st; Hundley, Schoenherr, UB, 3rd; Skaggs, UB, 2nd; Rachel Gowey, Alyssa Baumann, Megan Skaggs, BB, 1st; Boren, FX, 4th; Baumann, Thomas, FX, 2nd; Boren, AA, 4th; Thomas, AA, 3rd

SEC All-Freshman Team: Trinity Thomas, Savannah Schoenherr, Nya Reed

All-SEC Team: Trinity Thomas (VT, FX, AA), Skaggs (UB, BB), Gowey (BB), Baumann (BB, FX)

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