Photo by Erin Long

It’s official – gymnastics season is right around the corner! Tonight we’ll get our first full look at the Gator Gymnastics squad for the 2020 season, and fans should expect big things tonight. The Gators lost two gymnasts last year, which only meant four post-season routines, but they regain Jazmyn Foberg from injury and gain a new freshman in Payton Richards. Tonight we’ll discover who will carry the bulk of the responsibility in replacing the perennial 9.9s Alicia Boren used to bring in, as well as how the team has grown and improved since last year.

The 2019 season ended rather abruptly for the Gators when they shockingly failed to qualify to the national championships, but this year, they’re hungry for revenge. Key players to watch will be Rachel Gowey and Amelia Hundley, the senior duo who have 8 combined All-American honors between them, as well as Alyssa Baumann and Trinity Thomas, 2019 SEC beam champion and SEC Freshman of the Year, respectively.

Competition starts in just 15 short minutes! Keep a tab open right here at ChompTalk.com to see the latest updates every few minutes, and check out our Instagram story after the meet for interviews with the gymnasts and head coach Jenny Rowland.

5:50pm: We have lineups for tonight! Your teams are Orange vs. Blue, and you’ll see every single Gator on the team out there.

5:53pm: Alicia Boren is our emcee tonight! Jenny teases her about being modest and points out that her picture has been added to the national champion wall behind where everyone is sitting. They’re taking questions from the audience while the girls get ready after warmups.

5:56pm: For those eagle-eyed fans out there, there are eight – count ’em, EIGHT – all-arounders on the Florida team this year: Megan Skaggs, Amelia Hundley, Sydney Johnson-Scharpf, Trinity Thomas, Payton Richards, Alyssa Baumann, Rachel Gowey, and Savannah Schoenherr.

6:00pm: Walkout is getting ready to happen! Another note for those looking at the lineups – Jazmyn Foberg is only competing on bars tonight. She’s recovering from a season-ending injury last year, so the conservative attitude is understandable, but this is a far cry from the reports we had from the Thanksgiving intrasquad saying she was competing on everything except beam.

6:03pm: They all just introduced themselves to the audience, but interestingly enough, Maegan Chant is in sweats despite being listed on the first event. Will keep you posted on that front.

6:09pm: Warmups are almost done for the first rotation. They’re taking some extra time because they can right now; Jenny’s just told them “when you’re ready.”

6:11pm: Skaggs, VT: FTY, small hop in place. Great landing for December, wow!

Richards, UB: Maloney to bail, good handstands so far. Misses her final handstand on high bar by a few degrees, DLO dismount and sticks it! What a way to start.

6:12pm: Hundley, VT: FTY, maybe a small shuffle? Less piking than last year though, she looks like she’s generating more power.

Looks like we’re skipping Chant on bars.

Baumann, UB: good first handstands, Ray for her release! love it. Spotted on her bail, DLO dismount to a stick! Her doing AA is giving me life.

6:13pm: SJS, VT: Yfull, not as dynamic as the last two but it’s good to see her on vault after being limited last year by illness.

6:14pm: Gowey, UB: Good first handstand, Ray is lovely, maybe not as big as we’re used to from her. Pak is lovely. Missed last handstand by a hair, DLO, itty bitty baby slide back.

6:15pm: Reed, VT: Y1.5, overpowered it by a LOT. Big bound out of her landing. She’ll need to reel that in for season.

6:16pm: Schoenherr, UB: Jager, good, almost goes over on a handstand but patiently corrects. Bail is fine. Double front half out is stuck! And that looks the competition landing surface, good for her.

Thomas, VT: Only a full? That’s odd. I fully plan to ask about that. It was a good full, but a downgrade for her is weird unless she’s playing it safe for some reason.

6:19pm: Warmups for rotation 2 are starting now. Scores don’t mean a lot right now, but the Blue team is winning by three tenths right now, if anyone cares. I’m gonna try and get individual scores if I can, but no guarantees.

6:24pm: Gowey, VT: FTY, deeeep knee bend in her landing, lunge back.

Clapper, UB: a little muscled into the first handstand. piked Jaeger looks effortless. Short second handstand, bail is fine. Good last handstand, that’s what some of her teammates have been missing. Full in dismount, stuck! Good for her.

6:26pm: Alexander, VT: FTY, gets SO much height. Swims for the stick and keeps her feet down! That’s excellent for this time of year.

SJS, UB: Tkachev looks way better than this time last year. Pak salto is nice, handstands a little lacking so far. DLO, lunge back. Great to see her training bars again! Some work to do though.

6:28pm: Baumann, VT: Y1.5, WOW! What an improvement from last year! Just a small hop forward and some small knee bend in the air.

Foberg, UB: Good first handstand. Opens with a pak, gets a little spot from Owen for her Maloney, immediate Gienger, cool! Not super clean but adds some flair. Just a double back dismount right now and not to her feet, but it’s a good precaution to take.

6:30pm: Schoenherr, VT: Y1.5, super quick in the air, just a small hop forward on the landing. Looks great.

Foberg did her full in dismount into the pit just now before Hundley goes, good to know she’s training it but not doing hard landings yet is slightly concerning.

Hundley, UB: Maloney to pak looks lovely as usual. Good handstands. Van Leeuwen legs look better. Slung her full in dismount out so far I couldn’t see her landing through all the people, but it sounded good.

6:32pm: Richards, VT: Y1.5, looked like she had it but ended up a little off to the side and off balance, but kept her feet and only hopped once.

Thomas, UB: Maloney to uprise, pak, all great. Van Leeuwen, lovely. DLO, ugh I couldn’t see her feet. Sounded good though.

6:33pm: Taylor, VT: FTY, chest a little low but lots of distance. That’ll be a good backup option but right now, doesn’t make the lineup for me.

6:34pm: Skaggs, UB: great first handstand. Tkachev to pak, good control. Great last handstand, DLO to hard surface, looked stuck to me! That’s the anchor routine right there for me.

Missed the team scores, but there are three individuals who have scored 9.9+ so far: Hundley 9.9, Thomas 9.95, and Skaggs 9.925 all on bars.

Thus far, I would say it’s those three plus Schoenherr, Gowey, and… Baumann or Clapper for my bars lineup. Richards could get in there if she can clean up her handstands, and obviously Foberg will compete once she has the hard landing.

For vault… Schoenherr, Baumann, Thomas, Richards… I have faith that Reed will fix her landing, so throw her in there. And Alexander would be my last pick for right now. But we’ll see how the next month shakes out.

Rotation three time!

6:45pm: Gowey, FX: Super dramatic music, a little classical in vibe. Front lay to Rudi for her first pass, onto the 8incher. Showcasing her extension and flexibility in this choreography here, there’s the chomp. Double tuck to sting mat, great. Oooooh they finally figured out how to give her a two-pass routine! That’ll help with her endurance issues from previous years.

6:47pm: Clapper, BB: Bhs loso loso, break at the hips but stays on. Forward roll to some straddle split choreo, that’s fun. Switch to split, good positions in the air. Side aerial back full stuck! A great case for her to be a lineup mainstay this year.

6:49pm: Schoenherr, FX: Her music is a dramatic Fur Elise remix into Do Your Chain Hang Low this year, which is both hilarious and amazing. Front double full to the resi pit, looked off from the takeoff and sat it down. Womp. 1.5 to front lay, beautiful. Spotted on her double pike to the sting mat. Gorgeous illusion turn to the floor and some choreo to finish. Not her strongest outing but she’ll get that under control, I think. I saw her land some good ones earlier.

6:50pm: SJS, BB: Some good confident choreo to start. Punch front – that’s an E skill this year, very difficult and worth good bonus – is dead on. Bhs loso, misses her feet and almost splits the beam, ends up falling instead. Beat to switch half, maybe a hair short? Handstand to bhs to back full, a little off kilter on the landing – is her ankle bothering her? Jenny’s having a post-mortem with her to try and chill her out, she’s clearly disappointed with herself.

Richards, FX: DLO to open, unspotted to the 8incher, WOW that height. Even she looks surprised at how good that was. Dance elements are good, nice split positions. Hitting her marks in the music well, good. Front tuck through to double tuck, coach Adrian Burde catches her but it’s just to steady her. She’s having a great night.

6:54pm: Hundley, BB: Front aerial to sissone, little bit off but she’s a pro, she corrects quickly and doesn’t let it show. Bhs loso, solid. Beat to switch side, good. Full turn looks more confident than previous years? She always looks like that’s her least favorite part of beam. Roundoff 1.5 twist stuck! Big celebration from the team, that’s gonna be a good score.

6:56pm: Baumann, FX: Opens by sliding into a split and doing dramatic floor choreo, then straight to her DLO. Spotted to the sting mat, but still looks way better than last year. Great musicality through this choreo section. 1.5 to front full, dances out of it and keeps it controlled. Part of the team chant during her routine is “Who is she? THe ice queen!” to the beat of the music and I’m in LOVE. Double pike to close, nice and high. This is it, I can feel it. This is the AA year.

6:58pm: Skaggs, BB: Double wolf, bobbles a little but stops herself before it can get bad. Switch to split, absolutely gorgeous. Her toe point is to die for. Bhs loso, it was leaning a little to her left but she held it without a wobble. Switch side, good. Roundoff 1.5, yes! If she can stay healthy, it might be an AA year for her too.

6:59pm: Alexander, FX: Opens with a double lay, BIG air but a big rebound and a little spot from Burde. All the sass in this choreography so far. Double pike to an 8incher, a little short. Gorgeous straddle positions in her dance elements. She has stepping in her choreography! Love! And it leads into the chomp, of course. Front lay to front full, well controlled, good. We might finally see her on floor in competition this year, that was great.

7:01pm: Thomas, BB: Full turn off the top, gorgeous. Attention to DETAIL here is impeccable. One-handed bhs to loso is good. Front aerial to beat to korbut, love that! That’s new. Ooh little shimmy choreography, haha. Side aerial to back full, feet apart but they stay put! She looks fine… now I’m confused.

7:03pm: Taylor, FX: full in to open, that’s new. Burde catches her on the 8incher, but she barely needs it. There’s a rockin guitar solo in this that’s super fun. Combo twisting pass ends in a stag jump, helps the control. Great splits in her dance elements. Double pike, Burde catches her again, this time on the sting mat. That looks really great, she might make a lineup or two with that.

If anyone cares about team scores, Orange is winning by two-ish tenths. 88.4 to 88.6 with some extending decimals.

Okay, last rotation! Here we go!

7:14pm: SJS, FX: Double arabian to open, very squatty but stays on her feet. Some of the same choreo as last year but new music, I like this a lot better. 1.5 to front lay to stag, good. Love her floor choreo, it’s so dynamic. Her music mix is vintage and fun, but I’m getting a little whiplash from some of it honestly. Double back spotted to finish, that’s a good one!

7:16pm: Richards, BB: Triple series! Wasn’t expecting that from her. Jumps are good, straddle has a good position. Looks like some of the middle of the routine isn’t quite figured out yet. Side aerial to back full is good though! She should be very proud of herself tonight.

7:17pm: Skaggs, FX: I can already tell y’all are going to like this. Double pike to the resi, HUGE air, great form. Tons of sass and attitude from her in this choreo. 1.5 front lay to stag, that seems like a theme this year. A little short on her second split? That’s unusual for her. Rudi to split for her last pass, that’s a change, but I don’t hate it.

7:20pm: Schoenherr, BB: Front aerial, good. Bhs loso, bobble to the side but stays on. Split to split 3/4, interesting choice but she stays on fine. Roundoff, ooh missed her foot and only does a full twist. I imagine it’ll be a 1.5 on a better day.

7:21pm: Hundley, FX: This routine will be a crowd pleaser, I can tell. Whip double tuck for right now, and I didn’t see a DLO in warmups so I’m guessing she’s dropped that idea. Classic rock medley for her music, this is so fun. 1.5 to front lay, good control out of it. Straddle s in her dance elements are good. The last transition between songs is a little abrupt, not sure I like that. Double pike, spotted into the sting mat. Love her calypso turn at the end. Y’all are gonna like that music, it’s got Crazy Train, We Will Rock You, and a few other good ones in there.

7:23pm: Baumann, BB: Bhs loso to open, rock steady. Split leap to switch half, great. Full turn is perfect. Side aerial, great. No Onodi tonight, boooooo. Roundoff 1.5 twist, stuck cold. Ice queen indeed!

7:25pm: Reed, FX: DLO to open, HUGE air, Burde catches her a little bit. Lots of percussive moments in her choreography and music, love it. Front lay to Rudi, almost goes out but keeps it in. Oooh a drumline section, this is fun! She’s enjoying this. Double pike, perfect landing to the 8incher. Way better than warmups. That’ll be a stunner in the O-Dome.

7:26pm: Gowey, BB: Hundley cheering saying, “Take your time,” they’re so sweet together. Leap series good. Triple series is dead straight. Front aerial to split, lovely. God, that extension is just perfect. Gainer full, swims for the stick and gets it!

7:28pm: Thomas, FX: Let’s see if this can top last year’s routine. Another dramatic one, I like. DLO to the resi, gorgeous. Super expressive in her shoulder carriage and fingertips, that’s honestly hard to do with new choreography, props to her. Combo pass is good. Ooh we have a tone change, get some more bass in the music and a backbeat. Her oversplit, yes please. Double pike to finish, again into the resi. Ahh and she’s closing with her signature spirit fingers opening to reveal her face move this year instead.

7:30pm: Taylor, BB: Front toss to sissone, great. Bhs loso, bobbles several times and turns all the way around facing the other way, but she doesn’t fall. That’s some fight, well done. Switch switch to straddle, short on the split positions. Bhs gainer full dismount, college stick I think. Not her best event but it’s great that she’s training all four to back her team up.

7:31pm: Clapper, FX: Ooh I know her opening music, it’s called 1 Time but I forget who it’s by. Double pike to open, chest a little low but it’s to comp surface and without spotting so that’s a plus. Combo pass is well controlled. Violin cover finishes her music mix, I can’t place it but I know the song. Rudi to stag to finish, a little wild but keeps the position in the air well.

Well, that’s a wrap on competition! Here are my proposed lineups based on tonight’s performances.

VT: Alexander, Thomas, Reed, Richards, Baumann, Schoenherr. Alts would be Hundley and Skaggs for me, but there are so many decent fulls it’s hard to choose.

UB: Baumann, Gowey, Schoenherr, Hundley, Thomas, Skaggs. Alts Clapper and Foberg right now, Foberg probably sneaking in for Baumann once she’s healthy.

BB: Hundley, Clapper, Skaggs, Thomas, Gowey, Baumann. Alts Richards and SJS.

FX: Skaggs, Richards, Hundley, Reed, Baumann, Thomas. Alt Alexander and Gowey, maybe Clapper too. God this team has so much floor depth. It’s crazy.

Thomas is loving her new beam routine, wanted to switch it up and show off a little more, and does plan to be back to the Y1.5 for season, 100%. The idea is to separate her from other beam routines with her switch leap mount and the korbut, give her the wow factor to hopefully up her scores and separate her from the crowd of great beamers out there.

Everyone we spoke to was thrilled with Richards, her adjustment to college, and her performance tonight. Head coach Rowland loves her light heart and her ability to enjoy what she does, and it’s apparently infectious in the gym – she brings that quality to some of the more “Type A” athletes, helping them find that delicate balance between being perfect and loving what they do.

Thanks for joining me tonight guys! I’ll have a recap for you tomorrow if there’s anything you missed, and we’ll see y’all back here on January 10th for the Gators’ home opener! Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and Instagram @ChompTalk for all your Florida Athletics news, and me on Twitter (@mycluttereddesk) for all the gymnastics updates.

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