WGYM Liveblog: No. 2 Florida at No. 10 Georgia


With the SEC title all wrapped up, Florida’s last box to check off in SEC competition is simple: beat Georgia. In any sport, this rivalry is legendary, and in gymnastics, the stakes are even higher, as there’s a Baumann sister on both sides of the battle. Florida has been more consistent this season, but Georgia did beat the Gators last year at home, and this season the Gymdogs have battled past injury and low expectations to stay in the top ten. Florida is the obvious choice here, but crazier things have happened.

The keys for the Gators will be to show that last week’s landing problems were just a fluke, and that moving forward will look more like vault last week rather than bars or floor. Another key indicator to watch will be the beam lineup – will Sydney Johnson-Scharpf continue to make the final six? After one bobbly week and a fall the next, it may be time to rotate her out and let her take a mental break. Additionally, we should all be on Nya Reed watch: the sophomore showed almost a full floor routine during warmup last week in hopes of returning very soon. Will tonight see her return to competition?

It should be easy to tell very early on how close this meet will be based on Georgia’s performance. Rachael Lukacs and Sabrina Vega lead this young team after injury to senior Rachel Dickson early in the season. Lukacs typically leads the scoring on vault, with Vega putting up some good numbers recently, and Marissa Oakley is the easy 9.9+ scorer on bars. If the first two rotations don’t look good for those three, Georgia is unlikely as a whole to pull off the upset. If they aren’t the only ones with big scores, though, Georgia should feel very confident about its chances.

6:57pm: Setting up my watch setup now – let’s get hype!! Rivalry night!

7:02pm: Rotation 1!!

Magee, VT: FTY, little bit of an ankle crunch and a hop back.

Richards, UB: Maloney big leg sep, Bail looks okay. Last handstand good. DLO slide back.

Aaaand my quality turns to crap.

7:04pm: Ward, VT: Tsuk full, little bit piked, slide back.

Gowey, UB: Good first handstand. Ray is lovely, great amplitude. Pak has a little leg sep? DLO, swims for the stick but didn’t get it.

7:06pm: R Baumann, VT: FTY, big hop back. Slow mo shows some piking and some leg sep, too.

Hundley, UB: Good first handstand. Maloney good, pak a little lower leg sep. Van Leeuwen a little sep too. Sticks that full in! Yes girl!

7:08pm: Vega, VT: FTY, just a little baby slide back. Sooo clean in the air, cleanest we’ve seen so far tonight.

Skaggs, UB: Great first handstand from this angle. Tkachev to pak, just gorgeous. Good last handstand too! DLO stutter step back.

7:10pm: Hawthorne, VT: FTY, waaaay overpowers it, big slide back and another step back. Is she training something bigger? That was just enormous.

Schoenherr, UB: Jaeger is super floaty and great amplitude. Bail is solid. Good last handstand. Double front half out – did she stick? No, that was definitely an adjustment with her right foot.

7:12pm: Lukacs, VT: DTY, a little piked down but STUCK it. Wow. Hmmmm slow mo showed some adjustment.

Thomas, UB: Maloney to uprise is great. Pak a little archy but legs fine. Van Leeuwen good. DLO stuckkkkkk, no question there. 9.975! That’s huge for her at an away meet, that’ll help her NQS fix itself.

AFTER ONE: UF 49.325, UGA 49.275

Sam said it, not me, but honestly I agree. Bars felt very tight up until Trin, and vault felt very high up until Lukacs. Both anchors felt pretty accurate to me, but we’ll see how scores are in the second rotation.

7:20pm: Rotation two!

Skaggs, VT: FTY, stuck!! That’s a great start for the Gators.

Lukacs, UB: Tkachev was really low to the bar. Pak legs are all askew, oof. Did not hit 90 on that last handstand. DLO hop back.

7:22pm: Alexander, VT: FTY, so high and extended in the air, just a little hop on the landing.

Hattaway, UB: Good first handstand. Blind full to Gienger, a little messy but better than last week against Kentucky. Next handstand and bail are both rushed, kinda archy. DLO bounce back.

7:24pm: A Baumann, VT: Y1.5, landing kinda surprised her, little stutter step aside. Legs a little separated in the air too.

Vega, UB: Great first handstands on low bar. Toe shoot is good. Gienger is good, a little leg sep on the catch. Leg sep on the pak too, though not as bad as Lukacs. Short last handstand. Full in, little adjustment on the left foot.

7:26pm: Schoenherr, VT: Y1.5, just a little hop forward but much better than some previous weeks.

Roberts, UB: Short first handstand on the low bar. Maloney is beautiful, legs just pasted together, bail great too. DLO sticks! That’s a massive improvement from anything Georgia’s done on this event thus far tonight.

7:28pm: Thomas, VT: Y1.5, did she just stick?? Hmm slow mo shows the adjustment may not have been just bringing her feet together, but still easily her best vault this season.

de Jong, UB: Great first handstands. Tkachev is high but close to the bar. Bail is good. Solid last handstand. DLO underrotated, has to take a lunge forward.

7:30pm: Richards, VT: Y1.5, shuffle back. Definitely underrotated but covered well.

Oakley, UB: Jaeger is sooo floaty, that’s lovely. Pak has a little leg sep. Last handstand seemed a little short, full in, deep into her ankles and a big lunge forward.

AFTER TWO: UF 98.775, UGA 98.175

Like I said, after two, we kinda know. Six tenths is a lot of ground for Georgia to make up, especially heading into beam and floor, where Florida has been pretty dominant.

Thomas will win vault with a 9.95, which matches her career high! She’ll also easily win bars with her 9.975.

7:38pm: Rotation 3!

Magee, BB: Dance elements good, great split positions. Triple series, so calm. Roundoff 1.5, step to the side.

7:40pm: Gowey, FX: Front lay to Rudi to stag, a little wild in the air like last week. Dance elements are lovely as always. Double tuck MUCH better than last week, very well controlled.

7:42pm: Hawthorne, BB: In for Lukacs tonight, we’ll see how she does. Bhs loso, thought she had it but had to check herself. Not sure what that second jump was but okay? Front toss to sissone, little check. Roundoff 1.5 hop forward.

You bet that’s what Jenny is telling the girls right now.

7:44pm: Hundley, FX: Whip double tuck, solid. Double pike, even she looked surprised by her landing! It was a good one. Straddle positions are good. 1.5 to front lay is good, a little low in the second element. Another solid one.

7:46pm: de Jong, BB: Full turn, balance check. Switch to split, good. Front aerial to beat, a little tight it seems. Bhs loso, stays steady. Straddle from side stand, why??? Does not hit 180. Step on the dismount it looked like.

7:48pm: SJS, FX: Double arabian, a little short but pops it out into a lunge to cover. 1.5 to front lay, seemed like she skidded a little. Dance elements are solid. Double tuck is easily her best pass of the routine, well controlled.

7:50pm: Oakley, BB: Single wolf turn, lovely. Billy Joel for her beam music, that’s an interesting choice but I dig it. Oooh pretty, gainer bhs to bhs loso and she’s off. Welp. That’s the meet right there, guys. Split to split ring jump, lovely. Side aerial, another check. Gainer full dismount is stuck, but it’s too little too late.

7:52pm: Reed, FX: She’s back! Yes! DLO, this angle is AWFUL and I can’t tell if she went OOB or not. Sloan thinks she did but also says no hand went up? So I don’t know. Front to Rudi, a little bouncy. She looks winded after that last choreo section. Double pike to finish, a little low on the landing. Maybe she came back too early. Roethlisberger says the flag did go up, so she will get that OOB penalty. Maybe that’s not the meet.

7:54pm: R Baumann, BB: Side aerial loso, so solid, wow. Her full turn technique is so weird, but it works for her. Beat to switch side, good. Roundoff 1.5 twist, hop forward. That’s a good reset for Georgia.

7:56pm: Thomas, FX: DLO, SO well controlled. Front full to front lay, doesn’t need to jump out of it but does it anyway. Leap positions are good, good control coming out. Double pike, maybe a little awkward in the landing but that’s a great reset for the Gators too.

7:58pm: Vega, BB: Switch to ring? Yang Bo? Throws her head back but I didn’t see any bend in her back leg. Front aerial to beat, balance check. Oof. Moonwalk, crowd goes nuts. Bhs loso, another small check. Full turn, steady. Side aerial back full STUCK! Georgia needed that.

8:00pm: A Baumann, FX: Double tuck, great control. 1.5 to front full, super smooth into the pose out of it. So sharp through her choreo, dance elements are just perfection. Double pike, little bounce but seemed short? Either way a deduction, but still, a very strong score for Florida.

AFTER THREE: UF 148.150, UGA 147.350

Florida extends its lead to a full eight tenths heading into the final rotation.

This. Bridget Sloan just tried to say (twice) that Alyssa Baumann normally does a double layout in her opening pass, but that just isn’t the case. She’s trained it forever, but after a very scary landing two years ago (which a former colleague of mine captured on camera), assistant coach Adrian Burde has not given her the OK to compete it again. She warms it up almost every home meet and it looks tremendously improved since her freshman season, but it still hasn’t seen the light of day.

8:08pm: Last one best one, let’s go!

Richards, BB: Lovely high toe work to open. Triple series, super straight, nice. Switch to straddle, small bobble there? Side aerial back full stuck! Great start, she’s such a star.

8:10pm: Perez-Lugones, FX: I actually love this routine, it was one of my favorites when I saw Georgia here in Orlando the first week of this season. Super high double pike to open, nice! Whip half to front lay, nice. Straddle positions are nice in the air, wolf full is a little wild. Double tuck to finish, very solid.

8:12pm: Hundley, BB: Looks like SJS is indeed out tonight. Front aerial to sissone, great. Bhs loso, locks it in place, good for her. Beat to switch side, maybe a little low on that straddle position? Full turn, good. Roundoff 1.5 twist, stuck and she celebrates! Great return to the lineup for her.

8:14pm: Roberts, FX: Piked full in, huge air but landing out of control, has to take an extra step back after her lunge. Front lay to front full, doesn’t use her whole tumbling line but plenty of control and amplitude in her elements. Double pike to close, again solid amplitude, much better control there though.

8:16pm: A Baumann, BB: Switch to split, perfection. Bhs loso, so steady. Switch half, lovely. Full turn, ain’t no thang for this Gator. Side aerial, gorgeous. She is on FIRE tonight. She wants to outscore her sister I bet. Roundoff 1.5 twist, gets that stick! Let’s go!

8:18pm: R Baumann, FX: Sisters going back to back, love this. Triple wolf turn to open, no biggie. 1.5 to front full just like big sis, good control out of it. Turn combo into a switch leap, all clean through there. Showing off that flexibility and toe point in the choreo here. Double pike, ooh very short and almost falls forward, doesn’t put a knee or hands down though, good. Dance elements at the end good, but the damage there was done.

P.S. Alyssa won the battle won on all three of their events.

8:20m: Gowey, BB: Switch to split, textbook. Triple series, just gorgeous. Front aerial to sissone, great. Gainer full dismount is stuck? Ooh, too soon, just a small step. Still, very little to deduct through there.

8:21pm: Hawthorne, FX: Huge double pike, huge bounce back, but doesn’t go OOB. Just let the girl do the E pass, Courtney. Dance sequence is good, nice splits. Front lay to Rudi to split, a little bouncy on the landing. Double tuck, also very high and has some trouble controlling it as it comes down.

8:23pm: Thomas, BB: Switch to split leap, good. Full turn, fine. One-arm bhs to loso, solid. Front aerial to beat to korbut, lovely and quick through connections. Side aerial back full, bounce on the landing.

8:25pm: Lukacs, FX: DLO to open, great control in the landing. 1.5 to front half to Shushunova, very nice. Good positions and control in dance series. Double pike to finish, just a little short, had to hop forward.

8:26pm: Clapper, BB: Bhs loso loso, adjusted mid air to make sure she was good to go. Switch to split, good. Side aerial back full stuck! Team chanting, “Leah, Leah!” is absolutely precious.

8:28pm: Vega, FX: I’m obsessed with the opening of this routine. Ok, the whole routine. Ha. Full in to open, a little bouncy but covers well. 1.5 to front lay to split jump, good. Dance elements all have great positions in the air. Double pike to finish, a little slide of the front foot. A huge score for her, but just not mathematically possible to catch up to Florida. I hope she gets a 10 before season is out. (Is that sacrilege? Oh well!)

FINAL: UF 197.8, UGA 196.5

Tonight, Trinity Thomas ties Alex McMurtry, Bridget Sloan, and Alaina Johnson for the best AA total in Florida program history! And she’s only a sophomore – she has so much time to beat that record. She’s also just tied Kyla Ross for the highest AA score this season. She also won vault, bars, and floor, while teammate Alyssa Baumann wins beam with a huge 9.975.

Tonight’s 197.8 will immensely help Florida’s NQS, replacing a 196.85 from its meet against Missouri earlier this season.

The accolades just keep coming! And the Gators aren’t just undefeated in the SEC, they’re undefeated. Period.

Thanks for joining me tonight! Tune in this weekend for my recap of this meet, because tonight was a huge night for the Gators and you don’t want to miss a single superlative or highlight of this legendary season.


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