After a stunning performance last week despite missing several key athletes, the Gators should be back to full strength this week as they take on Auburn for the second time this season.
The Gators have proven to be a formidable force this season, with five athletes capable of a 39.3+ all-around score and five athletes on every event except floor with a season high of 9.9 or better. If every person turned in their best performance of the season tonight, the Gators would earn a MASSIVE 198.850 – a score that’s essentially unheard of. This team’s potential is practically limitless – a strong sign as we approach postseason.
Auburn has had its ups and downs this season – last week the Tigers hit a 197.050 to upset Georgia, but just a week before, they only went 196.1 and fell to Missouri. Consistency will be key if they have any chance of challenging Florida, and it hasn’t been their strong suit so far this year. Still, there are some strong individuals on this Auburn team. Cassie Stevens and Derrian Gobourne both rank in the Top 50 in the all-around nationwide, and Gobourne is ranked in the Top 20 on VT, UB, and FX and Stevens in the Top 50 on FX.
Tonight will serve several honorific purposes as well, as it is both alumni night and senior night. I don’t expect to see a parade of alumni like we usually do due to COVID travel and capacity restrictions, but I’m sure a meaningful tribute has been put together in some fashion, and I hope we get to see it on the broadcast or later on social media.
As for the seniors, I’m hoping that after last week’s exercise in forced depth exploration proved successful for the Gators, we’ll see all three seniors is as many events as possible tonight to allow them their moment in the spotlight one last time in the O-Dome. (I’ve even put my money where my mouth is and kept Baumann in my fantasy bars lineup, ha!) Senior night is always emotional, but I wonder if, to lessen the blow, we might get an announcement that one or more of them might be opting to take the extra year of eligibility that the NCAA has offered athletes due to COVID. My money would be on Baumann, if anyone, but we’ll see.
Senior night against Auburn begins at 8:15pm ET tonight (likely closer to 8:30 on broadcast), but if you can’t be there or tune in, we’ve got you covered! Stay here with us throughout tonight’s meet for every routine, play by play.
8:21pm: Waiting for LSU/Kentucky to finish up. It’s actually really close – Kentucky is doing well, but both teams have had some misses from my understanding. Gonna warn everyone now, today has been kind of an emotional rollercoaster for me personally, and emotions were already high from everything in the gymnastics world that happened yesterday, so I apologize if I’m not on my game tonight.
8:35pm: Finally switching to our meet! Get hype, y’all!
Foberg, VT: So glad she’s getting to compete tonight! FTY, good pop off the table, little hop forward on the landing but pretty clean in the air.
Sumner, UB: Short first handstand. Tkachev is good, maybe a little low amplitude. Archy handstand there, pak is lovely though. Final handstand is good. DLO is whippy and very close to the bar, but she sticks!
Skaggs, VT: FTY, gooooorgeous! Little flexed feet and some leg sep in slow mo, but she STICKS IT! That’ll be a great score.
Smith, UB: Transitions are clean. Low bar handstand is loose. DLO stuck! Auburn staying in it.
8:39pm: Schoenherr, VT: Y1.5, great distance and some knees in the air, little shuffle on the landing. But what a great one for her!
Sabados, UB: Short first handstand, Ray is nice! Bail is a little piked. DLO, bounce back.
8:41pm: Reed, VT: Love seeing her back! Glad they all stayed healthy. Y1.5, flung it out a little far and ended up underrotating, has to scoot her feet back under her to stay upright.
Stevens, UB: Went too hard for the first handstand and went over the wrong way! Oh no! And loses her rhythm again, oof. Tkachev is big but she’s clearly rattled. DLO is really close to the bar, yikes! Lands it okay though.
8:44pm: Thomas, VT: Y1.5, waaay too much power and bounds out of it, takes a second step too. Almost looked like a warmup vault, that was odd. Not her best.
Brusch, UB: Maloney to bail, good. Good, not great, last handstand. DLO stuck! A good reset.
8:46pm: Richards, VT: Okay, let’s see it. Y1.5, one of the best I’ve seen her do! Just the smallest adjustment on the landing. Good for her!
Gobourne, UB: Tkachev to pak is lovely. Last handstand maybe a little shy? Full in a little far, had to hop on the landing.
AFTER ONE: UF 49.45, AUB 49.325
Schoenherr leads for the vault title with a 9.95, while Brusch and Gobourne own the top spot on bars for a 9.9.
Mixing it up on the bar lineup order tonight:
8:53pm: Watson sat her Y1.5 in warmups… not a great sign for the Tigers.
Hollingsworth, VT: FTY, great distance, little pike, hop back.
Lazzari, UB: What a gorgeous release! Pak salto is lovely, all the handstands so far have been good. Ooh I jinxed her, last handstand a little short. A little slow in rotation on the full in dismount, has to take a big step back.
8:56pm: Smith, VT: FTY, ooh, very low on the landing, crunched over and underrotated. Not their best showing.
Gallentine, UB: Hoping for a good night for her. Good first handstands. Maloney to pak is gorgeous, legs just pasted together. Good last handstand! DLO, knees buckle a little and she has to step back.
8:58pm: Sabados, VT: FTY is super clean in the air, not great amplitude, but she STICKS cold, wow!
Skaggs, UB: Great first handstand. Tkachev just FLIES, pak is solid. Last handstand is text.book. Yes. DLO, liiiittle slide back. That’ll be a good one.
9:00pm: Watson, VT: Y1.5, landed straight legged ooh! That was scary but she’s okay, just a little hop forward. That probably stung though.
Baumann, UB: So stoked for her to stay in this lineup! Jaeger is lovely. Bail maybe a little floppy? Great last handstand! DLO, little step forward, but another great showing for her! So proud.
9:02pm: Gobourne, VT: Y1.5, step forward, good in the air though and crazy distance.
Schoenherr, UB: Great first handstands! Jaeger just flooooats. Bail is great. Last handstand lovely too. Double front half out, almost got the stick but she got a little ahead of herself there, celebrated too soon and lost control of it.
9:04pm: Payton Smith, VT: FTY, this is a last minute sub from my understanding, Stevens is out. Not great amplitude, but at least they fielded six vaults?
Thomas, UB: Finally anchoring! Great opening handstand. Maloney to uprise, gorgeous. Pak is super clean. Good low bar handstands. Van Leeuwen, legs so clean. Great last handstand too! DLO, little bounce – I don’t think that’s it, but we’ll see. Team knows it too, they’re not ten chanting, haha.
AFTER TWO: UF 98.95, AUB 98.475
9:12pm: Richards, BB: Bhs loso loso, super steady. I watched the rest of the routine but honestly couldn’t tell you what happened, I zoned out for a second. Slow mo shows switch to straddle was good. Dismount had a small adjustment.
9:14: Oldham, FX: Double pike to open, was that a two foot stick??? Back 1.5 to front lay, she buckles a little bit there, almost like she didn’t have the whip to get it around, but stayed on her feet somehow. Double tuck, much better, closes it out nicely. Good recovery!
9:16pm: Skaggs, BB: Wolf turn is good. Switch to split, lovely. Bhs loso, so solid. Her presence on beam is just so calm but so confident. Front aerial is good. Cat leap, to switch side is so high! Side aerial back full, toes hang onto the stick!
9:18pm: Sabados, FX: Front double full, little knees and crossed legs in the twist but decent control coming out. Three dance elements connected, getting that bonus. Shushunova, fun. 1.5 to front lay, lovely twisting there. And lovely ending choreo! Love that.
9:19pm: Lazzari, BB: Triple series is gorgeous. Switch to split, just lovely. Absolutely lovely. Full turn, steady. She’s got such poise, especially for a freshman. Side aerial back full, just drops it in. What incredible form.
9:21pm: Hollingsworth, FX: Love seeing her move up in this lineup! Full out, in the open position, gorgeous but she steps out! That’ll be a tenth. Lovely leap series. Another Shushunova, I wonder how much bonus that’s worth. Must be why we’re seeing more of them with these two-pass routines. Front through to double tuck, a little low chest there but better control than the first pass.
9:23pm: Baumann, BB: Come on, Alyssa! Bhs loso, gorgeous. Switch to split, gorgeous. Front aerial is soooo smooth. Full turn, good. Switch half is much better than last week, gets that front leg up. Roundoff 1.5, STUCK. I’m so proud. Will they give it to her?
9:25pm: Stevens, FX: Front lay to Rudi, very nice. Switch ring to switch half, maybe some front foot there but I’m just being picky. Bringing the drama to this choreography. Double tuck to finish. These two pass routines are just… underwhelming, for the most part? Especially because the choreo in the middle isn’t super engaging.
9:26pm: Thomas, BB: Bhs loso, so solid! Front aerial to beat to korbut, so quick and elegant. Side aerial back full is stuck! That’s another one where it could be, it could not be. We’ll see!
9:28pm: Watson, FX: Just the double pike, slides the front foot a bit as she lunges. Lovely dance elements there. 1.5 to front lay, gorgeous twisting form. Double tuck, overdoes it and both feet come OOB as she stumbles back. Three tenths for the OOB alone, so won’t be a good one unfortunately.
9:30pm: Clapper, BB: Bhs loso loso, a little lean but stays patient. Full turn is lovely. Splits are gorgeous there. Side aerial back full stuck!
9:31: Gobourne, FX: Just the double tuck to open, takes it right to the line but stops her momentum before she takes another step back. Front full to front lay, little stutter step there out of it. Having so much fun with this ’90s medley choreo, I’m obsessed. Double pike to finish, great control on the landing. Easily my favorite Tiger routine.
AFTER THREE: UF 148.65, AUB 147.65
Lazzari and Clapper tie with 9.975 for the lead on beam right now, and Gobourne posts a 9.95 that will be hard to beat for the floor title.
Broadcast is honoring Pam Titus, who is in the audience tonight! Florida’s first black gymnast and its first perfect 10.0 – definitely worth celebrating, glad we got to see it mentioned on broadcast. She also scored the first 10.0 on floor in NCAA history? Wow! What an icon!
9:41pm: Oldham, BB: Bhs loso, some knees there but that’s not a deduction NCAA judges take. Full turn, little arm swing there. Cat leap to side aerial, lovely. Hitchkick to switch side, nice! She’s handling this like a pro, she ought to be in this lineup more often! Roundoff 1.5, little slide back on the dismount.
9:43pm: Clapper, FX: Hmm, Richards is out. Odd. Double tuck to open, a little short but covers well. 1.5 to front lay to stag, good control there. Double pike to close, very solid. A great start!
9:45pm: Gobourne, BB: Little check on the series but saves it and keeps it relatively small. Full turn, patient with it, stays steady. Cat leap side aerial, again, little bit off but is patient and doesn’t bobble. Switch side, maybe a little shy? Roundoff double full, little slide on the landing.
9:47pm: Skaggs, FX: She’s having such a good night so far! Double wolf is good. Rudi to split, a little wild in the air on that jump. See, this two pass routine I enjoy because the choreo is interesting and fun. Lovely on the dance series. 1.5 to front lay is gorgeous, and her ending pose is just -chef’s kiss-.
9:49pm: Hollingsworth, BB: Bhs back pike, very nice. Wouldn’t call it a layout though. Switch to switch half, nice. Split half from side stand, kept that in from elite, that’s fun and she actually does it well! Side aerial back full, little scoot. Love seeing something a little different from her!
9:51pm: Lazzari, FX: Double pike to open, much better control this week. 1.5 to front lay to sissone, gorgeous. Splits in her dance series are great. Double tuck to finish, good control there too! What a great showing for her tonight, love seeing her in the all-around.
9:53pm: Sylvia, BB: Full turn, lovely. Front aerial, slight hesitation, bhs bhs… I wouldn’t call that a series personally. Switch to sheep, not the prettiest but not the worst. Korbut is lovely. Cartwheel gainer full stuck! We’ll see if the judges give her series credit or not.
9:55pm: Reed, FX: DLO, good control, maybe a little slide of the front foot? Front lay to Rudi, some knees in there but keeps control of it well. Leaps are some of the best I’ve seen her do! Hitting all these musical marks, yes. Double pike to close, a little short, just opened a little too soon and had to step forward.
9:56pm: McLaughlin, BB: Bhs loso, solid. Switch to straddle quarter, little lean forward but keeps it small. Side aerial to split jump, little hesitation in that connection but should be fine. Gainer pike off the end, maybe stuck? Hard to tell from here.
9:58pm: Thomas, FX: DLO to open, front foot does NOT move, just lays it back. Front full front lay to sissone, dances right out. Great positions and landing control on her dance series. Just showing off that flexibility, YES. Double pike, again just pops it out into the lunge – I think THIS could be it, y’all.
10:00pm: Stevens, BB: Bhs loso, little bobble when the crowd erupts, ooooof stay focused, girl. Cat leap to switch… ring? It didn’t reach ring position at all though. Front toss to knee, little bobble there. Roundoff 1.5 stuck! Good for her!
10:01pm: Baumann, FX: Closing out her senior night with the anchor spot. Let’s go. The arena goes dead quiet for her opening choreo segment, ooh. Double tuck, lands it perfectly, just lays that lunge back. 1.5 to front lay, single step out. Switch half to Popa, hits those nicely and doesn’t bounce on the landing. Just the double pike now. front foot moves a little bit but what a NIGHT and what a finish for her. Aaaaand we’re crying again, oh boy. Same though.
FINAL: UF 198.275, AUB 197.025
THAT, Gator fans, is the HIGHEST score in the nation to date this season!
Trinity Thomas takes the AA with a massive 39.75, as well as the bars and floor titles with those perfect 10.0s. Schoenherr earns the vault title with her 9.95, and Lazzari and Clapper tie with 9.975 for the beam title.
Thanks for joining me tonight! Next week, the Gators will face Alabama to fight for the SEC regular season title, so make sure you don’t miss it. Follow me @mycluttereddesk on Twitter for updates throughout the week and live tweets from the press conference post-meet shortly, and I’ll see you next time!