Gymnastics

WGYM Liveblog: No. 8 Alabama at No. 2 Florida

Tonight in the O-Dome, the Lady Gators fight to lock up the SEC regular season title, fighting against the only SEC team left with just one loss – Alabama. If Florida wins tonight, it’ll be mathematically impossible for any SEC team to have a better win/loss record than UF. Additionally, the Gators will be on the hunt for another high 197+ or even a 198+ score to improve their standings as RQS officially takes effect after this weekend’s meets.

If you’re new here, here’s a quick rundown of the things you should be looking for to see how the Gators’ night is going:

  • stuck or nearly-stuck landings on vault
  • 90-degree handstands on bars and stuck landings on their dismounts
  • building momentum on beam, with no balance checks or hesitations, and resetting quickly if someone falls
  • well-controlled lunges or sticks in floor tumbling landings and high performance energy throughout floor choreography

Lineups for tonight!

Looks like lineups are the same as last week, for those who caught my Auburn recap. Leah Clapper is still in for Amelia Hundley on beam, and she’s anchoring, so that’ll be big for her. Foberg, Skaggs, and Alexander are all three in vault again, so that means Alyssa Baumann did not make it in this week, despite having that 10.0 SV vault.

Alabama will not be an easy opponent for the Gators tonight, though. The Tide’s strongest competitors include Lexi Graber, their lone all-arounder performer tonight, and Shallon Olsen, a strong three-eventer who has continued to compete elite in Canada and vy for Tokyo while competing in NCAA. Senior leader Shea Mahoney is also spectacular to watch on floor, and freshman phenom Makarri Doggette will still make important contributions on bars and beam, despite being limited by a nagging knee injury.

Warmups are finally finishing up, so get ready to get started, y’all!

6:01pm: Rotation one, let’s go!

Foberg, VT: FTY, floats it, and just a small adjustment on the landing! That’s the way to start.

Dickson, UB: Good first handstand, bail is a little angled? Good next handstand, toe on is nice, HUGE Tkachev! Half in half out, looked stuck to me! A good start for Bama as well.

6:03pm: Skaggs, VT: FTY, piked a little early? Small hop on the landing.

Gaskins, UB: Low bar handstand is a little shy. Maloney is good, pak is too whippy and she catches too close, has to recast. Short last handstand. DLO is super whippy, VERY close to the bar, bounce back. She didn’t come off, but that was not a good showing for her.

6:05pm: Alexander, VT: FTY, huuuuuge as usual and she STICKS! The crowd erupts! That should be a great score. I think they just gave her the “perfect” 9.95 for a full??? Yes they did!

Graber, UB: Gienger, caught close but handles it. Transition is fine. Sticks her dismount with some leg sep.

6:07pm: Schoenherr, VT: 1.5, liiiiiittle baby slide. Yeah, replay shows left foot moved forward.

Givens, UB: Good first handstand for her. Jaeger is good, could use a little more toe point but I’m being picky. Bail is floppy but hit 90 at some point. Last handstand fine, not exact but I don’t hink deductable. DLO dismount, couldn’t see but I think it was a stick based on team reaction.

6:09pm: Thomas, VT: Y1.5, hop forward, and I think had a second hop that she tried to cover with a salute? Hard to see from here.

Mahoney, UB: Good first handstands. Bail a little piked? Short handstand back on the high bar. Tkachev good. Stuck full in! Good finish, needs work on details.

6:11pm: Richards, VT:  Y1.5, stutter step backward but very nice in the air, straight on this week rather than being off to the side like she has been.

Doggette, UB: Good first handstand. Huge Tkachev directly to pak, legs glued together. Great low bar handstand, last handstand maybe a hair short? DLO stuck like a dart into the mat. Good for her!

AFTER ONE: UF 49.45, BAMA 49.35

Some score updates for y’all: Alexander leads vault with that 9.95, while Schoenherr and Thomas both earned 9.9s. Foberg, Skaggs, and Richards all went 9.85. On bars, Doggette leads with a 9.95, and Dickson and Mahoney both earned 9.875s. Givens scored a 9.85, while Graber went 9.8, and the dropped score was Gaskins at 9.525.

6:19pm: Rotation 2!

Burgess, VT: FTY, maybe a little piked at the end, but she sticks! Great start for them.

Richards, UB: Maloney, a little leg sep as she started. Bail is good. Last handstand is lovely! DLO slide back.

6:21pm: Desch, VT: FTY, small slide back but nice distance!

Gowey, UB: Great first handstand! Ray is cloooose, ooh. Good handstands into the pak, which was also clean. Last handstand maybe a hair short. DLO STUCK! And so straight in the air, love that.

6:23pm: Mahoney, VT: FTY, small adjustment there but Bama’s landings as a whole so far look more consistent than Florida’s….

Hundley, UB: Good first handstand. Maloney to pak is clean. Second handstand a wee bit short. Some leg sep in her Van Leeuwen but gets a lot of float in it. Full in is stuck! Crowd goes crazy for her.

6:25pm: Blanco, VT: FTY, looked stuck from here?? Good for her!

Skaggs, UB: Snaps that first handstand into place, Tkachev to pak is so grogeous in that over-straddle. Good last handstand. DLO slide back. Other than the dismount, that was one of the best routines she’s done in a minute.

6:27pm: Olsen, VT: This is a treat, y’all. A Yurchenko double and it’s stuck???? Wow! Definitely piked down a little but that’s huge for Alabama.

Thomas, UB: Good first handstand on low bar. Maloney just floats, uprise to pak, legs glued together. Handstand is good, Van Leeuwen not as floaty as usual but no leg sep. DLO slide back. No 10 chants this week.

6:29pm: Graber, VT: Y1.5, wow! What a stick. That was so clean and she flew so far, that should be a huge score for Alabama.

Schoenherr, UB: First handstand a little sketch. Jaeger is good, not as big as I’ve seen her do. Next handstand was good, following a little archy, so was the bail. Last handstand was definitely short, double front half out with a hop. Not the exclamation point Florida was hoping for.

AFTER TWO: UF 98.8, BAMA 98.675

Like I said, Alabama will not go down without a fight. This is the closest meet at the halfway point Florida has had since LSU.

Scores: Thomas and Hundley both earned 9.9s, meaning Doggette will win bars. Graber will also win vault with her HUGE 9.975.

6:38pm: Richards, BB: Bhs loso loso, super steady, wow. Switch to straddle, good positions in the air. Side aerial back full, “rides the elevator” as KJC would say, so not a true stick but darn close.

6:40pm: Klopfer, FX: Double back to kick it off, good control on the landing. Good positions in the air on her dance elements. 1.5 to front lay, danced out of it. Double pike to finish, chest low but brings it right up. She’s clearly super stoked with that, team trying to create some hype for themselves.

6:40pm: SJS, BB: Punch front, small check but doesn’t let it get to her. Bhs loso, and she’s off. Maybe it did get to her? Oof. Another check. Switch half to beat is good. Handstand to loso to back full, she’s a little off to the side but it looks like she stuck?

6:43pm: Olsen, FX: Double double, even the Gator crowd appreciated that, but her landing was a little low. Good position on her switch leap, back to back dance elements were less distinct but looked like they hit 180 okay. Front through to double back was also low? It’s a 2pass routine, she shouldn’t still be running out of steam.

6:45pm: Baumann, BB: Switch to split, great. So sharp in her presentation. Bhs loso, dead on. Switch half, looked a little short of split??? She’s tight tonight. Side aerial is great. Roundoff 1.5 twist is STUCK cold.

6:47pm: Blanco, FX: Double pike to open, nice and high. Double tuck, almost had the two-foot stick but moved one foot to the lunge almost out of habit, it seemed. Front full front lay for her last pass, definitely a strong showing for her, though I wish she’d performed it a little more.

6:49pm: Gowey, BB: Switch to split, definitely tight on those positions. Bhs loso loso, a little lean but locks it down. Front aerial sissone, great. Full turn, good. Gainer full, stuck! There are definitely nerves present tonight but she did a good job of controlling them.

6:51pm: Mahoney, FX: Super high double tuck to open, and her opening choreo is so great. Looks like she lost a little control coming out of that dance element. Front full front lay second pass, good control there. Double pike to finish, chest a little low but good control.

6:53pm: Thomas, BB: Split leap is lovely. One-arm bhs to loso, totally straight. Front aerial to beat to korbut, good. Side aerial to back full, looked like a bounce in place from here? Hard to say, I’ll check the replay.

6:55pm: Desch, FX: Double pike to open, good height. Marathon combo pass here. 1.5 to frton half to split to front tuck, rebounds out of it pretty significantly. Dance elements are great. Double tuck to finish, solid. Another good one for Bama.

6:57pm: Clapper, BB: Bhs loso loso, she’s patient with it and doesn’t bobble. Full turn is good. Switch to split, those looked good but hard to see her front leg from here. Side aerial back full stuck! That’ll let them drop the fall, good for her. It’s a career-high 9.975! Wow!

6:59pm: Graber, FX: Full in to open, a little bouncey. Straddle and wolf positions are great in her dance elements. Front through to double pike is good too…. and she’s done? Okay, I’m starting to get the outrage about two-pass routines.

AFTER THREE: UF 148.475, BAMA 148.1

Beam gave Florida a decent lead just by the hair of its chinny-chin-chin, but that’s why we have that drop-score rule.

7:07pm: Klopfer, BB: Single wolf turn, good. Front aerial to bhs, I’ll give her the connection. Leap series is good. Cat leap to side aerial is lovely. Roundoff 1.5 twist, sticks it like glue. Great start for Bama!

7:09pm: Richards, FX: DLO, just barely bounces into a lunge. Leap series was good. Front through to double back, chest down but brings it up quickly. VAC and choreography Jeremy Miranda is clearly excited, that’s a great start for them.

7:11pm: Gaskins, BB: Candle mount! Another difficult, unique skill the Gator crowd appreciated from the away team. Side aerial to beat is solid. Full turn, deep knee bend but no balance check. Split jump from side stand – okay, that was pretty, but like why? This isn’t elite. Bhs loso with some KNEES but she stays steady. Switch to split is good. Gainer full, some small adjustments with both feet.

7:13pm: Gowey, FX: Front lay to Rudi to stag is a little bouncey out of it. Great positions in the air for her dance elements. Double back is a little higher than she expects and has an awkward bounce with her chest low on the landing. Not her best.

7:15pm: Olsen, BB: Switch to split, positions did not look clean from this angle. Bhs loso, good. Full turn is good. Front aerial, little check. Bhs bhs double pike – clearly keeping that from her elite training – a little low in the chest and I think a step back.

7:17pm: Hundley, FX: whip double tuck, great control. Double pike, maybe a little overdone, little foot slide in the lunge. Dance elements looked fine, big cheer when she bellyflops onto the floor, ha. 1.5 to front lay, dances right out and the crowd goes CRAZY as she finishes.

7:19pm: Blanco, BB: Oooh, pretty mount sequence. Front aerial, solid. She’s got such great extension. Bhs loso, big bobble but finesses out of it without falling. Switch to switch half??? Did not make it all the way around. Roundoff double full, little slide.

7:21pm: SJS, FX: Double arabian looked a little wild in the air, but landing was good. 1.5 to front lay, bouncey coming out of it. Dance elements are good, big cheer for her Shushunova as well. Double back, that was a great one.

7:23pm: Doggette, BB: Full turn to start, good. Bhs loso, great. Split from side stand from her as well – she didn’t even come from elite, what the heck? Switch half to beat, lovely. Side aerial to back full, small adjustment.

7:25pm: Thomas, FX: This opening choreo is the sharpest I’ve seen her do it, she’s on tonight. DLO to open, just lays it back. 1.5 to front lay, two foot stick for a second before she does her split jump. Dance elements looked good to me. Double pike, took a step forward so she was a little short. No 10 chants, surprisingly, but other than the final tumbling landing, it was a good one.

7:27pm: Full turn is good. She’s using the music on this one, I love that. Bhs 2foot layout! Love that. Switch to split 3/4, that’s different. Front toss through to scale, crowd loves that! Stick on her gainer full – she’s had a good night.

7:29pm: Baumann, FX: Serving me all the drama in her opening choreo. Double tuck, great control there. 1.5 to front full, single step into her pose, lovely. Double pike maybe the tiniest bit short? Or maybe it was the sting mat? Hard to tell. 9.975!

And with that win, the Gators secure themselves the regular season SEC championship! Owen even dumped confetti on them, that’s so cute!

FINAL: UF 198.050, BAMA 197.45

Even losing, Alabama should be happy with that score. 197.450 will be a solid away score for them as RQS is about to kick in.

Vault will go to Lexi Graber with her huge 9.975 for her stuck Y1.5. Bars goes to Makarri Doggette with a 9.95. Beam will be Leah Clapper with her career-high 9.975, and that’s her first-ever event win. Floor is Alyssa Baumann with another 9.975. Trinity Thomas will win the all-around yet again, with an enormous 39.65, making it her 5th week in a row going 39.65 or better.

That’s all from me here tonight, guys. Check out our Facebook Live coming up from the press conference!

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