After a dominant performance at Link to Pink where they posted the highest score in the nation so far, the Gators are headed west to take on the Missouri Tigers. What, in prior years, might have been a blowout of a matchup promises some more interesting competition this evening. Missouri is not just No. 11 in the nation, but 5th in the SEC, just over a tenth from sneaking into the night session of the conference championship meet if it were seeded today.
For the Gators, we already know who to watch, but it’s certainly worth reviewing just due to the sheer depth of this team. Trinity Thomas is the only gymnast in the country to have received a perfect 10.0 on more than one event this season, and she’s done it on three. Nya Reed recently joined the 10.0 club on floor, and classmate Savannah Schoenherr is on the hunt for her own perfect score as she’s continued to dial in her vault landings over the last two weeks. Freshman Leanne Wong earned her first perfect 10.0 last week on bars, and Riley McCusker recently adjusted her routine to have an easier, more stickable dismount to hopefully get her closer to that elusive mark as well. The list could go on and on, but don’t forget to watch out for Sloane Blakely as well – she and Megan Skaggs will both be all-around threats any time they make all four lineups.
Missouri also has some individuals to watch, though. Sienna Schreiber is the Tigers’ top-ranked all-arounder at No. 23 in the country, and she’s ranked No. 7 on beam. Alisa Sheremeta isn’t far behind either, coming in at No. 22 on beam as well. The Tigers, too, have a freshman class that is putting up some big numbers – Amari Celestine is No. 16 on vault with Jocelyn Moore right behind at No. 18. On floor, they’re a little lower but still scoring well with Moore at No. 31 and Celestine at No. 37.
While Mizzou is showing increasing signs of parity, that doesn’t mean that we should anticipate a Florida upset either. The Gators have won all but one meet against the Tigers in the history of their meetings, and Florida’s lowest score this season is still higher than Missouri’s highest. Tonight should see the Gators again testing some of their depth options, as they don’t need the heaviest hitters to win, and rotating athletes in and out again to prevent injuries as much as possible.
7:00pm: We are HERE! Friday Night Heights is on my television, the whole family is gathered around with good luck pizza, and it is time for the Gators to turn it on.
Schaffer, Miz VT: Yfull, little piked on the landing but good distance, little hop back.
Blakely, UB: Maloney to pak salto is good, legs glued together there. Great last handstands on the high bars. Double front, landing jolted her a little and has to take a step forward.
7:03pm: Marshall, VT: Yfull, like a DART into the mat, stuck it. Piked on the landing but keeps her legs nice and clean in the air.
Skaggs, UB: Great first handstand! Tkachev is huge, straight to a pak, little leg sep there? Pirouette a little loose, good final handstand on the high bar, DLO with a bounce back.
7:06pm: Schreiber, VT: Yfull, great distance, opens out a little early even, little slide back.
Schoenherr, UB: Great first handstands, Jaeger is gorgeous as always. Bail to handstand is solid. Final handstand maybe a little shy. DROPPED that dismount in but it looked like she put herself off-balance with her salute, don’t know if I’d give her the stick on that one.
7:09pm: Celestine, VT: Y1.5, legs got a little messy in the last half turn but the rest was gorgeous, little slide forward.
Thomas, UB: Maloney to pak, little leg sep in both of those it looked like. van Leeuwen looked clean. DLO is stuck! Handstands throughout were not as aggressively her best as they’ve been in the past, but don’t think any were enough to take deductions?
7:11pm: Moore, VT: Y1.5, enormous distance and height, WOW. Legs a little apart on the landing, little stutter step forward.
Wong, UB: Maloney to pak, little ankle sep. Again on the van Leeuwen too. Handstand is overarched a little, but she sticks her DLO dismount!
7:13pm: Davis, VT: y1.5, ooh lands a little funky, that was scary. Looks like she’s okay.
Gallentine, UB: Maloney to pak, really lovel.y Great last handstand. full twisting DLO dismount, overpowers it a little and has to take a step back, but the team is going WILD for her!
I would tell you what the scores are right now… except Mizzou’s live scores aren’t working. Love that for us.
Oh look, the scores decided to materialize!
AFTER ONE: UF 49.5, MIZ 49.25
7:20pm: Clark, UF VT: Yfull, good distance, a little piked in the landing, little hop on the landing.
Marshall, Miz UB: Jaeger to overshoot, solid amplitude there. Full in dismount, really high on that, little step back.
7:22pm: Edwards, VT: Yfull, good dynamics, BIG bounce backward, but good body position in the air. Little Gator chomp to the camera, we love that.
Schreiber, UB: Releases good, bail is dead on to handstand. DLO, little step back.
7:24pm: Schoenherr, VT: Y1.5, definitely some soft knees in the air, especially toward the end. Little hop forward on the landing.
Patrick, UB: Jaeger to start, handstands maybe a little iffy there? Bail is fine. Great last handstand, DLO and is able to hold the stick! Good for her!
7:26pm: Reed, VT: Y1.5, not quite as high-flying as she’s been in the past but huge distance! mostly clean in the air, little hop on the landing.
Moore, UB: Good first handstand. Full pirouette, stays mostly on top of the bar. Tkachev to overshoot, solid. Little hop on the dismount, it looked like.
7:27pm: Thomas, VT: Y1.5, great form, hop forward on the landing. Not going for perfection, just normal.
Sheremeta, UB: This is a fun one y’all. Great first handstands. Jaeger to overshoot, great amplitude there. Final handstands are good. 1.5 twisting dismount, which we don’t really see in the SEC at all, little hop on the landing.
7:29pm: Blakely, VT: Just a Yfull this week, interesting. Some big bounds backward, a little confused look on her face. I wonder why the lineup was changed so last minute… Richards looked ready to go, not wearing sweats, next to the runway.
Celestine, UB: Maloney is gorgeous, pak is too whippy and she splits her legs pretty significantly. van Leeuwen is a little slung, but a little cleaner than the pak it looked like. Stalder to front pike half out dismount, that’s fun! Missouri bringing out some unique skills tonight.
AFTER TWO: UF 98.7, MIZ 98.625
Missouri closing the gap! That bar rotation was really solid for them, and Florida vault was just normal – they didn’t go hard for the sticks – until the end of that rotation with the last-minute sub. Hopefully we can find out what went on there…
7:38pm: Marshall, BB: Series is solid to start! Some fun low beam choreo there. Split to straddle 1/4, good positions in the air. Gainer full dismount looked stuck – a great start for Mizzou.
Clapper, FX: Rudi to double stag jump, traveled quite a bit in the air there. 1.5 to front lay to stag, good control there. Dance series is solid, good straddle positions. Double pike to finish, and she is STOKED.
7:41pm: McCrary, BB: Front toss to start, nice. Bhs loso, super steady. Beat to ring stag, the head release is not as much as I would like there. The dismount is stuck but I hate the tuck full, it’s not pretty at all.
Richards, FX: Making her floor debut this season! DLO, comfortably landed, I’m glad to see that. Straddle positions in her dance series look solid. She’s become such a confident dancer over the last three years, what a transformation! Missed her punch into her second element on the combo pass and didn’t do her planned second element, probably will have a start value issue in addition to the deduction for putting her hands down. That’s a big bummer.
7:45pm: Gatzendorfer, BB: Series is solid, little lean to the side. Split to ring jump, head release is definitely not enough there. Gainer pike, maybe a little bounce in place?
Skaggs, FX: Love this routine! Rudi to double stag, very well controlled there. Maybe looked a little shy on one of her splits in her dance series, but might’ve been the camera angle. 1.5 to front lay, little skid forward but keeps it small. That’s out of character for her, but it’s better than a fall for sure.
7:49pm: Schaffer, BB: Bhs bhs loso, great through the whole thing. Front aerial, balance check there. Switch to split, lovely positions in those. Roundoff 1.5 stuck! Missouri is coming for Florida…
Wong, FX: Triple full to open and it’s GLORIOUS. Dance series is lovely as always. Combination pass to stag, great control there. Double pike to close, and it’s a good one! Another hit the Gators needed.
7:52pm: Sheremeta, BB: Bhs loso, BIG balance check, break at the hips. Split to ring stag, those are solid. Front aerial, another wobble but smaller this time. Full turn, lovely. Chin stand in her low beam choreo, that’s fun. Gainer tuck full off the end, looked like she almost missed her foot, but she made it work!
Thomas, FX: DLO to open, does NOT move that front foot. Front full front lay for her combo pass, good. Dance series looked a little funky?? Not sure if she hit what she was supposed to or not. Double pike to finish, great control there. Commentators agree that her dance series looked a little off, said her feet didn’t get all the way around on her Popa… hopefully just a deduction and not a start value issue.
7:56pm: Schreiber, BB: Triple series is dead on, rock solid. Switch half to split to beat to gainer full, wow, that’s a combination. The split jump looked shy of 180 to me, but other than that, a great routine to close for the Tigers!
Clark, FX: 1.5 to front lay, skidded out of bounds with just the edge of her toe, but no flag? We’ll see if they saw it or not. Dance series for her looked fine, that’s good. Double tuck for her last pass, great job. That’s a great routine for her, love seeing her make this lineup!
AFTER THREE: UF 148.15, MIZ 148.05
8:06pm: Skaggs, BB: Single wolf turn, good start. Switch to split, gorgeous as usual. Bhs loso, super solid. Front aerial, locks it down. Cat leap to switch side, great. Side aerial back full stuck! A great start as always, what a champ.
Schreiber, FX: Rudi to back layout to front tuck to double stag, that’s a COOL pass! She is really selling this jazzy choreography, I like it a lot. Front full to front layout stepout, that’s fun too. That was it though? Her choreography was great but I didn’t see any extra dance elements in there to build more bonus to start from a 10.0…
8:10pm: Blakely, B: Front aerial bhs, good. Switch to switch half, a little feet on the switch half but solid. Side somi is a little squatty but doesn’t wobble. Side aerial back full stuck! Another great one for the Gators.
Schaffer, FX: Rudi to loso to open, nice and floaty. Switch ring to tour jete half, well done, though the head release leaves some to be desired. Double tuck, opens a little early but saves it somehow. I missed the rest of the routine, TV cut out, apologies.
8:14pm: Baumann, BB: She has her GAME face on tonight. Series dead on. Switch to switch half, great. Side aerial, locked down. Roundoff 1.5, little step back on the landing. Still a strong routine from the 5th year.
Sheremeta, FX: Front double full, just gorgeous. Rudi to loso for her second pass, soooo floaty. Little back spin there, that’s fun. Front 1.5 to front layout stepout… she’s just such a clean twister, there’s so little to take!
8:17pm: Wong, BB: Switch leap to split leap, lovely. Bhs loso, solid. Front aerial, big bend at the hips, yikes. Side aerial is solid. Side somi is also nice. Still question why we’re doing all these orphan acro skills with her and not letting her do more dance connections and just get off the beam faster. Double full dismount, little shuffle of the feet.
McCrary, FX: Front lay to Rudi, took it right to the line but stayed in bounds. Double pike, adjusted both feet on the landing there. Good straddle positions in her dance series. 2.5 twist to finish and it’s STUCK into that 8inch mat, that will be a huge score.
8:21pm: Thomas, BB: Split leap mount, lovely. One arm bhs to loso, so quick, so clean. Front aerial to beat to korbut, lovely. Side aerial back full stuck! Another beauty from Thomas.
Moore, FX: Double pike to open, it’s a big one, great amplitude there, and well landed. Three element dance series, I can dig it! Double tuck, a little short maybe? Great height but looked like she opened a little early.
8:25pm: Clapper, BB: Bhs bhs loso, a little lean but keeps it small. Full turn, fine. Switch to split, good. Side aerial back full, little slide on the landing.
Celestine, FX: Full in to start, WOW that really flies. Dance series is strong. 1.5 to front lay, well controlled. Double tuck to finish, sky high again. That is a ROUTINE! Celestine for co-SEC floor champ??? I would be okay with this.
FINAL: UF 197.775, MIZ 197.65
That’s a program record for Missouri! Congrats to them!
Event winners were Celestine on vault with 9.925, Wong and Thomas on bars with 9.925, Thomas with 9.975 on beam, and McCrary, Celestine, Wong, and Thomas with 9.95s on floor. Thomas wins the AA in her first outing on all four this season with a MASSIVE 39.75!
That’s all for me tonight! We’ll see you next week for Alumni Night against LSU at 6pm – I’m off work early so I can be on time for the night. Got to have my priorities straight! Thanks for joining me if you tuned in!