After an impressive first outing last week, setting the program record for highest opening week team score, the Gators hit the road this week against an upstart Missouri team that has shown shades of greatness throughout its last two meets. In the last two seasons, Florida’s problems with beam resurfaced most frequently on the road, so tonight will be the team’s first real test to see if beam consistency will be a problem yet again this year, or if this year really is as different as it feels.

Besides beam consistency and confidence, there are a few other key things to watch tonight. Vault landings were last week’s biggest visible weakness for the Gators, so those will be a good gauge as to whether improvements or regressions are happening. Tumbling coach Adrian Burde is also keeping several floor upgrades under lock and key, waiting to give his athletes the go-ahead to unveil them. I’d file the appearance of anything major this week under “Highly Unlikely,” but that doesn’t mean impossible, and we could still see something like Alyssa Baumann’s double layout pop up, if she’s got it turned on tonight. Keep an eye on freshman Payton Richards, as she was crucial to her team’s success last week and held several key lineup positions during the meet. Trinity Thomas was also a huge part of last week’s win, winning three individual event crowns and the all-around with what was the second-highest score in the nation at the time, and is still just the third-highest to date this season.

Missouri has several key players to watch during this meet as well, especially senior Morgan Porter, junior Aspen Tucker, transfer sophomore Alisa Sheremeta, and freshman Helen Hu. All four are capable of huge scores and exciting gymnastics, with each of them sporting some spectacular, unique skills.

Without further ado, let’s get this thing started!

7:03pm: Schreiber, VT: FTY, hop on the landing.

Richards, UB: Maloney to bail, solid. Last handstand looked good. DLO, little bounce in place.

7:04pm: Gottula, VT: FTY, pikes down a little but sticks! That’s great.

Gowey, UB: Ray is good, not as big as she can go. Pak is lovely. DLO, came in a little short? Deep knee bend and feet arch. Slow mo replay of her handstand is 100% perfect, becuase Gowey things.

7:06pm: Tucker, VT: FTY, good height, a little off to the side. Slide back on the landing.

Hundley, UB: good first handstand, Maloney to pak, a little leg sep in there. van Leeuwen with the usual sep, slings her dismount out a little and has to shuffle forward.

7:09pm: Porter, VT: Y1.5, a little short, medium size knee bend and has to shuffle back. Slow mo shows she had some KNEES in the air.

Schoenherr, UB: toe on to blind change is good, Jaeger super floaty. Bail is fine, last handstand good. Double front half out is comfortable but small bounce back.

7:11pm: Brandt, VT: FHS pike half, good block, great position in the air. Slides back.

Skaggs, UB: Mixing up the order between her and Trin this week, apparently. Short first handstand? Tkachev to pak, oooh big leg sep there. Last handstand looked better. DLO, holds it for the stiiiiiick let’s go!

7:13pm: McCrary, VT: Y1.5, also a little short, good height off the table, landing surprised her though. Lunged back to secure herself.

Thomas, UB: Maloney to immediate uprise. Pak is good, a little knee sep .Van Leeuwen is good, but she goes over the wrong way on a handstand! Nooooo! Tries to save it, get going again, but she came down to regroup instead. Gets back up, great last handstand. DLO slide back. Damn.

AFTER ONE: UF 49.125, MIZ 48.65

Woof, that is NOT the bars rotation the Gators were looking for there. They still lead by a decent margin, but leg separations all over the place in their transitions, as well as a bizarre inability to stick dismounts (save for Skaggs) definitely hurt them. Let’s hope that’s not an omen for landings to come.

Ahh okay, that explains the small crowd. I wonder if the weather affected the team getting there at all?

7:22pm: Looks like Skaggs is in the vault lineup??? Yas!

Skaggs, VT: FTY, good block. Nice dynamics, small slide back.

Tucker, UB: Almost goes over on first handstand, woof. Pike Jaeger, good. Bail looks a little wonky in the air but hits handstand fine. Full pirouette to double back, looked stuck to me? Slow mo shows another gorgeous handstand.

7:25pm: Alexander, VT: HUGE FTY as always, step back to steady herself. Slow mo shows her chest six feet high and landing nine feet away from the table. Huge.

Christensen, UB: Tkachev looked okay, maybe some flexed feet. Bail was good. Blind full to double tuck, another stick!

7:26pm: Reed, VT: Y1.5, almost a carbon copy of last week! Just a little stutter forward, looked more controlled tonight too. Good for her!

Schreiber, UB: Maloney to bail good, moving through really quickly. Last handstand a little short. DLO, slide back.

7:28pm: Schoenherr, VT: Y1.5, big knee bend and had to hop forward. A little angled in the slow mo, and her face afterward shows she’s not happy, haha.

Sheremeta, UB: Blind change to Jaeger is lovely. A little short on her free hip handstand. Bail, little leg sep. Blind half to front 1.5 twist, that’s fun! Bringing some different skills to stand out in the sea of FTDTs and DLOs in the SEC.

7:30pm: Thomas, VT: Y1.5, gorgeous form, little squat and slide back on the landing. It shows on her face, it’s angry gymnastics time.

Porter, UB: Blind change is good. Jaeger nice. Toe on hadnstand great, bail a little wiggly but hits 90. Double front, slide back. Slow mo shows some flexed feet in the Jaeger but hard to see in real time.

7:32pm: Richards, VT: Y1.5, great distance! Good form in the air, just a hop off to the side on the landing.

Hu, UB: Great first handstand. Church to pak is a dream, van Leeuwen legs are glued together. Toe full to double back STUCK – textbook.

AFTER TWO: UF 98.050, MIZ 97.850

Landings overall looked better this week, especially from Thomas. Schoenherr is clearly making the corrections from last week, but perhaps overcorrected. Alexander and Reed looked identical to last week, and it was great to see Skaggs in there. Have to wonder how Baumann warmed up to be taken out of the lineup, especially since the commentators specifically said it was a last-minute change based on warmups.

Mizzou actually outscored Florida in terms of bar rotations – which is a big warning sign for the Gators. They need to go back to the gym next week and figure out what happened tonight, and then make sure it never happens again.

Rotation 3 let’s go!

7:41pm: Schreiber, BB: Bhs loso, dead on. Good for her. Switch half to split to beat, maybe a little shy of 180 there. Lots of confidence for a freshman. Punch Rudi dismount, wow! Small slide but still, some great stuff in there.

7:42pm: SJS, FX: Double pike to open, good control. Giving good sass here but you can tell she’s not used to performing in such an empty arena. Her energy isn’t as high. Combo pass is good. love the 60’s surfer choreo section. Double back to finish, maybe a little short? Oh yeah, slow mo shows definitely short. A good opening overall but not as good as she was last week.

7:44pm: McCrary, BB: Front toss to open, nice. Bhs loso, leans to her left a little but covers really well. Split to stag ring, good positions. Bhs double full dismount, step. I really like her style on beam, very calm but shows some finesse for sure. Slow mo shows a gorgeous split position.

7:46pm: Gowey, FX: Getting the nod again this week! Front lay to Rudi to open, great form. Dance elements are great, gorgeous splits as always and a definitive wolf position. Double tuck, chest a little low but landing was good.

7:48pm: Sheremeta, BB: Bhs loso, bobble, foot comes off the beam but she stays on. Switch to switch side, nice. Front aerial to split, wow her splits are really nice. Gainer full, hop in place. Just gorgeous throughout, a shame she had that break on her series.

7:50pm: Hundley, FX: Whip to double tuck to open, yes, good. Apparently the classic rock medley is a tribute to dad? That’s awesome! Double pike, chest a little low. Great straddle positions in her dance series. 1.5 to front lay is good to close, and she still has so much energy to finish out her choreo sequence. She has so much fun with this routine and it makes her performance that much better.

7:52pm: Porter, BB: Missed the first section but good based on commentators. Front aerial, bobbles and doesn’t connect through. Has to try again, front aerial to back tuck. Connection still a little unclear, I don’t know that I would give it to her. Front toss, good. Roundoff 1.5, step on the landing. Not the hit they were hoping for, but not a disaster.

7:54pm: Reed, FX: DLO to open is maybe not as powerful as I’m used to but still great height and a good landing. Front lay to Rudi, twists looked a little crazy in there. Drumline section, not having quite as much fun as last week. Product of being away, I suppose. Double pike to finish, another good one for her. She’s really finding the landings on these last weeks.

7:56pm: Gottula, BB: Sounds like they didn’t give Porter her series. Triple series for Gottula, lovely. Switch to split 3/4, big bobble and doesn’t hit 180, no way. Cartwheel to gainer full, stuck? Looked like it to me.

7:58pm: Thomas, FX: DLO gorgeous as always, good control. It’s time, Trin, let’s go. 1.5 to front lay, split jump out with perfect control. Great split and straddle positions, hitting all her moments in the music. Worm and oversplit, team is cheering her on like crazy. Double pike, maybe a little overpowered? Front foot moved a little bit.

8:00pm: Hu, BB: Bhs loso, a little off but locks her arms down and doesn’t wobble. Switch to split, lovely. Front aerial to beat, just moving through this like it’s nothing. Front aerial to scale, and shows off her flexibility in a Y scale. Unique dismount sequence – I think that’s a Valdez to gainer full? That’s cool as heck. Slow mo shows her textbook splits with beautiful toe point. Mizzou hooked a great one in her.

8:02pm: Baumann, FX: Opens with just her double tuck, better control than last week. 1.5 to front full, a little awkward transition into her dance? Maybe that was just me. Kills it through the dance break. Double pike, great landing, not as good as Nya or Trin but solid. They’ll want more out of her if they want this score building thing to work though.

AFTER THREE: UF 147.525, MIZ 146.7

Have to give props to Hu, that beam routine will be hard for the Gators to beat in terms of presentation and technique combined. Unfortunately for Mizzou, the rest of that lineup didn’t really deliver, and Florida now has a huge lead, over eight tenths. Still, Florida still has beam to go, which can be tricky for them when not at home.

8:11pm: Hundley, BB: Front aerial, already a bobble, damn. Bhs loso, way more solid, good for her. Beat to switch side, good position in the air. Full turn, steady. Switch to split, positions I think were fine, not amazing but I think met the 180. Roundoff 1.5, little step. Handled it like a pro, but not the start they wanted.

8:13pm: Sheremeta, FX: Front double full! Good control coming out of it. Rudi to loso, super floaty. Wish there was more to this middle choreo section. 1.5 to front layout stepout, channeling some Nichols in there. Great start!

8:15pm: Clapper, BB: Series, big break at the hips but stayed on somehow?? Dance series had another big break, yiiikes. Switch to split, side aerial to back full, stuck I think? Low chest though. This is the one to drop for sure.

8:17pm: Schreiber, FX: Double pike, a little low chest but good control. Rudi to loso for the second pass, a little crooked in her punch? Good finish, if a little run of the mill in the dance.

8:18pm: Richards, BB: Full turn off the bat, looks calm here. Bhs loso loso, small check to the side but brings it back quickly. Switch to straddle, great. Side aerial back full stuck! It’s a quick and efficient routine, but she hit the reset button after Clapper, which is what they needed her to do. Talk about a valuable freshman!

8:20pm: Brandt, FX: Double pike to open, HUGE power but not enough control, front foot slides back when she lunges. Front lay to front full, missed her punch and her feet slipped out from under her on the front full landing. Double tuck to finish, short and falls to her hands and knees. Just couldn’t really recover.

8:22pm: Baumann, BB: Interesting lineup order choice here. Dance series is great, split positions gorgeous. Series is good, dead on. Switch half, lovely. Full turn, steady. Giving us that ice in her veins, even with the tiny bobble on the side aerial, she keeps it small. Roundoff 1.5 stuck cold! Great.

8:24pm: Gottula, FX: Double pike, chest down a little but fine control. Punch half to… is that a double full? Yes it was! Commentator called it a Rudi but it was definitely an even number of twists. Straddles seemed a little tight to me. Does a little two steppin in the last choreo section, finished with a double back, again a little low. A good reset for them as well.

8:27pm: Gowey, BB: Switch to split, back leg looks a little low? For her? Bhs loso loso, dead on. Go Gowey! Front aerial to sissone, strong. Full turn is good. Gainer full, shuffle back.

8:29pm: McCrary, FX: Front lay to Rudi to open, clean. Double pike, two foot stuck! Wow! Second straddle position looked maybe a little shy, but the the first was gorgeous. Back 2.5 to finish, great difficulty throughout for her. That’ll be a good one.

8:31pm: Thomas, BB: Switch to split leap, lovely. Full turn, sharp choreo coming out of it, moving constantly. One arm bhs to loso, perfectly steady. Front aerial to beat to korbut, effortlessly connecting each one to the last. Side aerial to back full, little slide? They’ll drop Clapper and end up with a good beam score, but there are definitely some things to fix.

8:32pm: Porter, FX: Opens with a double pike, again a two foot stick, steps out into a lunge like two seconds later just because she can. Brings out the sass in this choreo section, fun. 1.5 to front lay, dances right out of it.  Performing the heck out of this. Double back to finish, easily the highlight of their rotation.

FINAL: UF 196.850, MIZ 195.600

Reed will once again win vault with a 9.875, for the second week in a row. Helen Hu wins bars with a 9.95, something the Gators won’t soon forget on what should be their best apparatus. Trinity Thomas takes beam and floor with a 9.925 and 9.95 respectively, and Sienna Schreiber wins AA kind of by default with a 39.0, as she was the only all-arounder who didn’t have a fall.

Florida will take away several things from this, including needing some landing work on unfamiliar surfaces. Sticking at home clearly doesn’t equal sticking always, and that needs to not be a factor when they’re in high pressure situations like… literally all of postseason. Bars needs a second look, especially on her transitions. Beam nerves are still a problem – maybe Richards needs to lead there too? Hundley has been good in the past but she doesn’t do as well at away meets with the steadiness. I would be interested to see Skaggs in place of either her or Clapper, too. Floor was good but the whole team needs to find a way to let the energy fly when they don’t have the crowd behind them – again, an away problem. Ironing those things out will probably come with time, as they get more away meets under their belt.

Thanks for joining me again guys! See you next week!

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