As many announcers across the country will say this weekend, “Let’s get ready to tumble!” It’s time for the home opener for your Florida Gator Gymnastics team! Tonight, the Gators face the Arkansas Razorbacks, the first of seven SEC opponents they’ll face this year. Though Florida was ranked higher than Arkansas in the preseason poll, this is the first week of competition for both teams, so it’s time to prove if the rankings were justified.
Key players to watch at Florida include lots of familiar names, as most of the team this year is the same as last year: Trinity Thomas, Alyssa Baumann, Amelia Hundley, Rachel Gowey, Megan Skaggs, and Savannah Schoenherr. All can put up huge scores on multiple events for the Gators. Arkansas’s heavy hitters include all-arounders Jessica Yamzon and Kennedy Hambrick, as well as senior Sarah Shaffer and junior Sophia Carter, who both do technically beautiful work on their respective apparatuses.
Lineups for tonight for @RazorbackGym @GatorsGym! Looks like Skaggs is only in one event tonight 🙁 but Richards in three! Amazing! Clapper in the beam lineup too, good for her. No Foberg yet either #NCAAGym #fantasygym pic.twitter.com/EhBqE0gWpO
— Caroline Freeman (@mycluttereddesk) January 10, 2020
6:45pm: Hey guys! Check out the ChompTalk Insta story if you wanna see warmups – these floor routines look soo fun! Let’s talk about lineups.
Thomas in AA is expected, but Skaggs only being on bars is very much not. She featured heavily in beam last season and guested in vault and floor as well. Schoenherr’s floor must still not be ready, and Foberg must not be ready for competition yet since she’s not in the bars lineup. Freshman Payton Richards is in three events tonight though, which is awesome! Looking forward to seeing her kill it tonight. I’m surprised she’s in bars and not floor, but as always, I’m willing to go along with Jenny’s experiments and see how things go before I judge anything too harshly.
Here are the lineups for tonight! Check out freshman Payton Richards ANCHORING vault. https://t.co/8YGRaZnVKD
— Dr. Sam, PhD is #stayinghome (@samisadancer) January 10, 2020
No Skaggs on beam 😱😱😱
— Chazelena (@Chazelena) January 10, 2020
6:50pm: Intros happening now. I’ve been told Elswick is out tonight for Arkansas due to potential injury, she’s been spotted in a boot. Another interesting point about lineups tonight: Thomas is anchoring beam, over Gowey and Baumann. We’ll see if she deserves it, but honestly, I can’t imagine her not owning that spot.
6:57pm: I can’t sit here tonight with her right in front of me and not talk about her – 2012 Olympian and one the youngest NCAA head coaches in history Jordyn freakin Wieber is here, and she is owning every minute of this. She looks like an absolute pro in this atmosphere, I’m kind of obsessed.
7:01pm: Here we gooooooooooooooo!
Alexander, VT: Yurchenko full, huge and floaty, step back on the landing.
Yamzon, UB: good first handstand, Tkachev a little low. Bail comes a little close to coach Chris Brooks but she’s clear. FTDLO dismount, stuck! That’ll be a great start for Arkansas.
7:03pm: Reed, VT: Y1.5, only a small hop! Swam a little to keep it that way, but her feet stayed put. Way better than she warmed up, she was bounding out of them just like at O&B
Carter, UB: good first handstand, blind change is solid. Jaeger a little close, not very extended. Bail is good, a little piked in the hips but not hugely. Good last handstand, a little leg break in her full pirouette, just a double back dismount with a steadying step.
7:05pm: Baumann, VT: Y1.5, underpowered it trying too hard not to overdo it, and she sat.
Gillings, UB: Good first handstands, Jaeger and missed her hands, falls. Brooks helps her back up, toe on handstand is good. Bail a little crooked. Last handstand was short. Double tuck dismount, step back. That’s gonna step their momentum in its tracks.
7:08pm: Schoenherr, VT: Y1.5, super clean in the air, little stutter step on the landing – maybe two? Good reset after Baumann’s fall.
Hambrick, UB: Good first handstand. Jaeger to overshoot is good, great air. Short on last handstand. Full in stuck! A good reset for the Gymbacks as well.
7:09: Thomas, VT: Y1.5, hop forward. Not the landing she was looking for, but beautiful in the air, super floaty
Lovett, UB: Great first handstand, Ray is nice. Bail is good, Brooks is really getting close to them spotting tonight. Full pirouette to double tuck, good!
7:11pm: Richards, VT: This is huge! A freshman anchoring vault here is unheard of. Y1.5, super clean, lots of power, hop forward, about the same size as Trin’s I think?
Laird, UB: A little shy first handstand, Tkachev is good. Bail is good, no Brooks necessary. DLO dismount, stutter step back.
Overall a good rotation for both teams, but I definitely give Florida the edge even with Baumann’s fall.
7:13pm: Looks like we’re getting exhibitions tonight!
Hundley, VT: just an FTY, but a good one, small slide back.
Gianfagna, UB: Short first handstand, Tkachev is huge but flexed feet. Pikes her swing into her bail, but the bail itself is okay. Shy on the last handstand too. Sticks her full in! Good for her.
AFTER ONE: UF 49.125, ARK 48.625
Reed leads vault after one (I’m actually legitimately surprised! Good for her for cleaning that up!) with a 9.875, and Hambrick and Lovett lead bars with twin 9.825s. Very likely the Gators will overtake that number, though.
— Lexie Priessman (@lpriessman2016) January 11, 2020
Looks like former LSU Tiger Lexie Priessman may make a visit to the O-Dome to see her former training buddy and current best friend Amelia Hundley compete! Cute!
Florida here with 5 Y1.5’s in meet one!
— Chazelena (@Chazelena) January 11, 2020
A couple post-vault thoughts:
1. Baumann was a fluke, she looked much strong in pre-season and warmup
2. Hops forward are encouraging, means the athletes have extra power
3. I already feel better about vault than I did last season
4. Payton is going to be a star
— Dr. Sam, PhD is #stayinghome (@samisadancer) January 11, 2020
I agree with most of this. It’s better to have more power than less, but it’d be even better if they had better control over that power. We have time though.
7:21pm: Second rotation let’s go!
Yamzon, VT: FTY, not much height but good distance, step back.
Richards, UB: great first handstand! Maloney to bail is aggressive, I’m worried she might overpower it at some point, but tonight it’s great! good last handstand, DLO slide back. This girl is rocking everyone’s world tonight, what a gem.
7:23pm: Gianfagna, VT: FTY, kinda low, big hop off to the side. Must’ve been angled off her block.
Gowey, UB: Good first handstand! Ray is clean, a little small for her. Pak is good, but maybe some flexed toes?? That’s unlike her. Plants that DLO like she’s got glue on her feet though! Good finish!
7:24pm: Hickey, VT: FTY, slide back.
Hundley, UB: good first handstand, really went for it. Maloney to pak is good. Van Leeuwen good, not as aggressive as some I’ve seen from her. Slings her full in out a little further than usual but sticks it! Yes girl!
7:26pm: Rogers, VT: FTY, pikes down pretty early and doesn’t go very far, but only a slight side step on her landing.
Schoenherr, UB: First handstand almost looked too arched and almost short? Jaeger is great. Bail rail straight, good. A little shy last handstand. Nails her double front half out and sticks it! Crowd is going crazy in here.
7:28pm: Shaffer, VT: Yhalf, maybe a small shuffle but that was easily their best vault so far. Great dynamics and a strong landing.
Thomas, UB: Perfect first handstand. Great maloney to uprise, pak is good (little leg sep??), van Leeuwen too. DLO, swims for it and stays put!
7:30pm: Hambrick, VT: FTY, maybe a small shuffle? I hate our angle on vault 🙁
Skaggs, UB: Great first handstand. Tkachev to pak is a BEAUTY. Good last handstand. DLO slide back on the landing. That’ll be a great score, would’ve been better if she’d stuck.
7:32pm: Exhibitions again!
Clapper, UB: Good first handstand, blind change is good. piked Jaeger is a little close. Next handstand not so good. Bail is okay. full in, small hop. Good experience for her but probably true she’s not ready for lineup. 9.85 is a little generous there, imo, but it doesn’t count anyway so it’s fine, right?
AFTER TWO: UF 98.475, ARK 97.150
Thomas will take the bars crown at 9.925, and Reed’s 9.875 on vault will hold.
As expected, Florida has a large lead, but how that’s shaking out is turning out to be really interesting. Really looking forward to what Arkansas brings on floor with Wieber at the helm, and to see how Florida handles beam this season.
7:39pm: Hundley, BB: Pretty mount sequence. Front aerial to sissone, good. Bhs loso for her series, leaps are good. Full turn, a little bobble but keeps it small. Roundoff 1.5 dismount stuck! Great start!
7:41pm: Yamzon, FX: Double back to open, good. Giving all the sass and hitting all her musicality in this section. Double pike, a little low in the chest but fine. Giving a little finger A in her choreograph there. Doing the worm on her back! Audible gasp from the crowd, haha. Front lay to front full to finish, good control. A good start for the Razorbacks as well!
7:43pm: Richards, BB: Let’s see if our freshman phenom can go three for three. Full turn is good. Bhs loso loso, yas! Switch to split, good positions in the air. Side aerial back full, she was a little off on her takeoff but got it around, little hop. Good for her!
7:45pm: Gianfagna, FX: Double pike, good start. 1.5 to front lay, good control out of it. Hitting all her marks in the music, good. Dance elements are all spot on. Double tuck, really crunched chest on the landing but pops it up to cover. Another hit!
7:47pm: Clapper, BB: Bhs loso loso, wobbles in there but handles them like a pro. Forward roll, nice. Switch to split, good. Jason Mraz for her beam music again this year, love it. Side aerial back full, little hop back. Still pushing through with useable scores, but still waiting for the big guns to come out.
7:48pm: Hickey, FX: Bringing the drama on this one! Double pike to open, gorgeous position in the air. Lovely straddle elements right in front of the judges. 1.5 to front lay, a little crossy in the 1.5 but handles it fine. Her Shushunova to some floor choreo is fun! Double tuck to finish is solid too. Their tumbling looks so much more energized this year, honestly. Chalk it up to that Wieber conditioning, man.
7:50pm: Baumann, BB: Switch to split, gorgeous as always. Bhs loso, good. Switch half, nice. Full turn, perfection. Side aerial, locks those arms into place. They don’t call her the ice queen for nothing. Roundoff 1.5 stuck!! Why is this woman not anchoring? She deserves better than the scores the 4 slot will stick her with.
7:51pm: Hambrick, FX: Double tuck to open, big lunge back. Front handspring to Rudi to straight layout to stag jump, a little bouncey but covers with dance. Side aerial to the floor for some fun choreo, love that! Double pike, great finish! She was serving it to the judges too, showing off just a little. Love the confidence.
7:53pm: Gowey, BB: Switch to split, gorgeous. Bhs loso loso, a little hesitant in the last layout but she handles it. Professional. Front aerial to sissone, lovely. Full turn, great. Gainer full stuck!
Lovett, FX: DLO to lead off! I didn’t know she had that! Front lay to front full, little jump out of it. A little short in her second split position in her dance series. Double tuck, lands completely upright, gorgeous! Wow!
7:57pm: Thomas, BB: Switch to split leap, that’s fun. Keeping the elite skills in there. Beyonce for her beam music, I love. One arm bhs to loso series, dead on. Korbut is lovely. Side aerial to back full, stuck! I like that they’re keeping her dismount simple this year. Flashing 10 hands but no one is getting into in the crowd, whoops.
7:59pm: Carter, FX: Double tuck to open, well controlled and upright. Sorry, distracted in the middle because one judge gave Thomas a 10, oops. Her dance has been gorgeous throughout though. Double pike to finish was gorgeous. I love the ticking time theme for this for her, kudos to Wieber.
8:01pm: Another exhibition!
Skaggs, BB: Wolf turn a little wobbly, but fine. Dance elements dead on. Acro series great. Switch side, nice. Side aerial to back full, slide back. Still wondering how she didn’t make the lineup, but we’re just that deep I guess.
AFTER THREE: UF 147.950, ARK 146.150
Thomas leads beam with an almost unbeatable 9.975 (the 9th of her career so far!!) while Carter leads floor with a 9.875, a score the Gators will certainly hope to beat.
My aunt’s cats enjoyed that @GatorsGym beam rotation 😍😍
— Dr. Sam, PhD is #stayinghome (@samisadancer) January 11, 2020
Moving into the final rotation like……
— Gators Gymnastics (@GatorsGym) January 11, 2020
8:10pm: Yamzon, BB: Cat leap to switch side, good. Triple series, looked a little off in the middle but made the correction before the third flip. Catelyn Orel serving me baby Wieber vibes with her high red heels standing at the end of the beam, Jo has clearly taught her well. Gainer full looked stuck from here but I have people standing in my way.
8:11pm: SJS, FX: Just the double pike tonight, no arabian. Here comes the sass. 1.5 to front lay to stag, good control out of it. Great positions in her dance series, crowd gasps when she drops to her stomach on the floor. Double back to finish, a little tight bringing it around but pops up. That’s huge for her, what a way to start!
8:13pm: Gianfagna, BB: bhs loso right off the top, good. full turn, solid. Front toss, small check but keeps it small. Switch to back tuck, wow! Good for her. Beat to split half, good. Roundoff 1.5, hop forward.
8:14pm: Gowey, FX: So much drama to start this routine, I’m obsessed. She plays this slightly creepy elegant vibe so well. Front lay to Rudi is good, not the best I’ve seen her do. Positions good through dance series. Double tuck to finish, good! This 2-pass routine trend definitely benefits her, no more stamina problems here.
8:17pm: Lovett, BB: Lovely so far, missed exact elements. Front aerial to loso, oooh that’s fun. Switch half, aaaand she’s off. Gets back up, full turn is fine. Just the dismount now, gainer pike with a hop.
8:19pm: Hundley, FX: Whip double back to open, chest up and good control on the landing. She’s having so much fun with this classic rock medley. Double pike, just a little low but covers well. Dance series is great, another scream from the crowd when she drops to the floor. Like they didn’t just see it? I’m dying. Combo pass is great, you can tell she’s stoked. The crowd LOVED it – and the girls are doing a kickline on the floor now, that’s amazing.
8:20pm: Gillings, BB: Bhs loso loso, really slow through it and breaks at the hips, but stays on. Front aerial, big bobble and doesn’t connect it to anything. Little short in her switch leap, at least from my perspective. Side aerial back full, hoppy on the landing. Not her best.
8:22pm: Reed, FX: Already bringing the sass from the first beat of the music. DLO is a BEAUTY, good control in her landing. Dance series is good, good amplitude. Here comes the drumline section. Front lay to Rudi, nice. Giving us serious drumline dancer vibes. Double pike, lands with her chest up, that was awesome! The best I’ve seen her do that double pike, I think.
8:24pm: Hambrick, BB: She’s working through her struggles here really well, she’s bobbled several times but she stayed on through the whole thing and stuck her gainer full!
8:26pm: Thomas, FX: I get almost a Matrix-y vibe from her routine this year, very futuristic and dramatic. DLO is perfection as always. Front full to front lay to stag, good. Great extension through her dance elements. One single worm flow to her oversplit, crowd loves it. Double pike, this team is seriously on fire tonight.
8:28pm: Carter, BB: Bobbles at the end of her series because people are booing that Trin got ANOTHER 9.975. She is having a LOT of trouble here, low front leg on her switch to sheep. Side aerial back full, cross step. She was off that entire routine and SOMEHOW managed not to fall. Good for her, but that will be a disappointing overall rotation for Arkansas.
8:29pm: Baumann, FX: This whole routine is basically themed around her being the ice queen. Thank you, gymternet! Just the double back tonight, no DLO, and she almost overpowers it – covers well with a lunge. Combo pass is great, dance right out of it. Showcasing her flexibility and extension in here, love. Double pike to finish, keeps it controlled. Not as big as Trin’s, so I don’t think it’ll go 10 even with the score bump. But it was a good one.
8:32pm: Exhibitions for the last rotation!
Laird, BB: Side aerial to another side aerial for her series, that’s cool! Great extension through to a split on the beam. Love her choreo here. This needs to go in the lineup ASAP, Arkansas. Dance series had a little bobble. Cartwheel to gainer full stuck.
Taylor, FX: Love that she’s getting the chance to show this! Full in to open! Yes! Showing off her power in tumbling and choreo. Combo pass through to stag is good. First straddle position was a little low but second was better. Double pike, chest a little low. Great first outing for her, her team is literally tackling her right now, awww.
FINAL SCORE: UF 197.350, ARK 194.400
Vault will go to Reed at 9.875. Bars, beam, and floor to Thomas at 9.925, 9.975, and 9.975 respectively, and the AA is hers as well at 39.7.
Overall, I think the Gators showed real promise tonight. They’re on the right track, especially on beam and floor, on the road to nationals. Bars was a fluke, I think, rattled after vault. Vault needs some work, as it did last year. We’ll have to see how it all goes. Thanks for joining me! I’ll have a recap for anyone who wants it tomorrow!