Tonight, four teams enter, two teams advance as the Gators take the next step toward qualifying to the NCAA National Championships. In this Regional Final, Florida will face off against No. 6 Auburn, No. 9 Kentucky, and No. 13 Denver – all opponents the Gators have fought and won against before this season, even if only this week. Florida tied with Auburn in its final dual meet of the season and bested it at the SEC Championships, defeated Kentucky both in dual format and at conference championships, and qualified in first to this meet over Denver in second. If the Gators can turn in another “normal” performance, in the words of head coach Jenny Rowland, they should have no trouble qualifying to nationals.
Their round two performance was not exactly normal, but pretty close to it. Senior Nya Reed was held out as a precaution with some heel pain in warmups, so Payton Richards stepped in for her on floor and Bri Edwards stepped in on vault. Chloi Clark was also a late substitution to the vault lineup for Sloane Blakely, for reasons unknown, so the vault lineup had 3 Yurchenko fulls instead of its optimal one, and Florida only went 49.1 on the event. Even so, the Gators went pretty much lights out on the other three events, racking up a 198.125, which was good enough for second-best in the nation across all four regionals. Superstar Trinity Thomas led the charge to that high mark, earning two perfect 10.0s for her efforts, one on floor and one on bars, and completing a full Gym Slam in just a single season, the first Gator to ever do so.
Tonight, Reed reportedly does plan to return to the lineup, so expect to see much more secure numbers on vault. Floor succeeded even without her, earning a whopping 49.7, but having her back in the lineup should put everyone more at ease. The Gators will start on floor again tonight, and familiar competition order should be a boon to them – all they have to do is a repeat performance of Thursday night and they should qualify.
The Auburn regional final is tonight, 4/2, at 6pm ET on ESPN+, but if you don’t have access or are watching another meet, we’ll have every moment for you, play by play, right here!
5:53pm: I am in Savannah for the weekend for a very important wedding, but two things I would not miss for the world happening the same day means I am liveblogging from the floor of my hotel room! I believe I have a setup that will work for me, but if I don’t get everything, I apologize ahead of time – there were several alternative plans that we ended up having to scrap and go with this, so hopefully it works.
6:03pm: Rotation 1 is a go!
Skaggs, FX: Rudi to stag, much better control tonight than the first night. Dance series looks clean! 1.5 to front lay, single step forward – that’s the way to start off, Gators!
Sabados, Auburn UB: Big release skills. Sticks dismount!
Angeny, UK VT: Great Yfull, we didn’t even see Procasky to start.
Ruiz also hit beam for Denver leadoff.
6:04pm: Groth, UB: Ray is big! Wow. Pak is clean. A little loose on the final handstand. Double back bounce back on the landing.
Baumann, FX: Super clean 1.5 to front full, great control out. Only caught the tail end of her dance series, looked fine. Double pike to finish was a good one! Another solid routine for the Gators.
Another clean Yfull from Kentucky, this time from Nixon.
Stevens, UB: Ray is nice. Bail is pretty clean. DLO stuck!
Magnelli stuck her pike half??
Patterson, VT: another front pike half, little hop to the side on the landing.
Iwai, BB: Series is solid. Stuck gainer dismount!
Brusch, UB: Great first handstands. Maloney to bail, great legs through that. Celebrating like she stuck but I didn’t see it.
6:09pm: Wong, FX: Triple full, a little crooked but landing is well controlled. Whip half to front full, gorgeous form through there but step forward is a little big, back foot drags a bit behind her. Clean final pass – should be another great score.
Worley, VT: Y1.5, little adjustment on the landing, but that will be a great score.
Gobourne, UB: Tkachev to pak, some flexed feet but great amplitude. Sticks her dismount COLD! Auburn is fighting for this.
Schlottman just fell for Denver on beam, remounted, and had another bobble. They’ll want to drop that score.
6:11pm: Lee, UB: Maloney to pak, hit her feet on the bar but somehow didn’t stop moving? Stuck dismount though!
Reed, FX: Happy to see her back in tonight. DLO to start, does well to absorb the landing without bouncing because she would’ve gone OOB. Front lay to Rudi is a great one. Dance series looks clean. Double pike to finish it out and she looks THRILLED. Another great one for the Gators.
Hutchinson, BB: Caught this from her pike front toss, lands it almost standing straight up, love that. Cartwheel to stuck gainer full! A great reset for the Pios.
6:14pm: Thomas, FX: DLO, just a beauty. Absolutely incredible. Dance series is super clean, all three elements in oversplit. Front full front lay, so floaty into that second element – another incredible routine from this superstar. We’ll see if they give it to her again… they do!! Perfect 10.0!
Mundell, BB: Ooh, fun mount sequence low to the beam, that’s different. Bhs loso, maybe a little lean but covers well. Full turn, nice high toe work. Switch to switch half, nice. 1.5 dismount, step forward.
Blakely, FX: Double arabian, a little uncontrolled into the corner but stays in bounds. Leap series is clean and well controlled. Double tuck, and that one goes OOB, that’s okay, every score the Gators have in the clubhouse already is 9.9 or better. 1.5 to front lay, better control there. She needs to hold her final pose longer, even when she’s not thrilled with her performance.
AFTER ONE: UF 49.65, UK 49.375, DU 49.325, AUB 49.2
Ashley Miles Grieg, commentating this meet, said of watching Thomas’s perfection on floor: “It never gets old.” TRULY!!!
6:26pm: Rotation 2 time!
Skaggs, VT: Yfull, little adjustment on the landing. Owen was standing in the way so we couldn’t see exactly what kind or how big.
Davis, UK UB: Handstands at the beginning looked a little loose. Releases were good. Bounce back on the dismount.
Iwai, Denver FX: 1.5 to front lay to stag, nicely done. Tour jete full (I think?) looked a little wild. Double tuck to finish.
Hollingsworth hits opening beam for Auburn.
Schoenherr, VT: Y1.5, hits it tonight! Good bounce back after sitting it the other night.
6:28pm: Procasky hit bars but another not stuck dismount – it’s gonna come down to these litle tenths, y’all.
Wong, VT: Podkopayeva IS STUCK COLD! WOW! One of the best I’ve seen her do, maybe even better than at NCSU.
Brusch, BB: Front aerial to split, nice. Acro series is so solid, locks those arms down. Dance series looked nice. Gainer full stuck!
Nixon, UB: Great low bar handstand. Maloney to bail is solid. FLIES on her dismount, couldn’t hold the stick though.
Reed, VT: Y1.5, STICKS IT TOO! I am screaming and I do not care who hears!!
Luksik, UB: Big Ray, nice. Bail a little imprecise. DLO is stuck! There they go!
Thomas, VT: Y1.5, looked stuck too! Holy cow!
Stevens, BB: Dance series looks clean, like that she does a ring jump. Wolf turn is nice. Roundoff 1.5, jumps her feet together but that robs her of the stick I think.
Blakely, VT: Y1.5, deep squat, has to hop to the side to keep it under control.
6:34pm: Groth, BB: Bhs loso bhs, takes it allllll the way to the end of the beam but does not flinch at all. Switch to switch half, gorgeous. Full turn is clean. Side aerial back full stuck!
Worley, UB: Great opening handstand, the clear hip was maybe a little loose. Tkachev is great. Pak is nice too. Full out dismount, has to step forward.
Mundell, FX: Double pike to start, good control there. Maybe a little shy of 180 on her second dance element there, and I couldn’t see her ring position because of the camera angle. Front lay to front full was textbook, nice. Punch Rudi to finish and it’s a good one! That’ll be a great score for Denver.
6:37pm: McLaughlin, BB: Switch leap directly to bhs loso, don’t see that too often. Side aerial, looked a little low on her landing but locked it down somehow. Full turn is fine. Switch to straddle quarter, good split positions there. Gainer pike off the end, maybe a little slide back in her salute.
Hutchinson, FX: Front double full to open! Very nice! 1.5 to front lay, great control coming out of that. Lovely extension on her dance series. Rudi to straddle jump to finish – that’ll be another great one. They’re very much still in this.
6:40pm: Lee, BB: Single wolf turn, lovely and controlled. Front aerial to bhs loso, connects it all nicely. Leap series is gorgeous. Bhs gainer full stuck! Redemption after falling at SECs and the bars mishap for sure.
Denver got five solid scores, so it appears they have scratched their final athlete.
And Suni Lee gets a perfect 10.0! They are just flying tonight, wow.
AFTER TWO: UF 99.35, AUB 98.825, DU 98.7, UK 98.625
6:49PM: Rotation 3!
Blakely, UB: Maloney to pak look good. Final handstand is gorgeous. Double front is STUCK! That’s a great way to bounce back for her after that vault, love to see it.
Brusch, Aub FX: Hits the opening pass, Miles Grieg just marveling at it. Double pike to finish, absolutely nails it, almost stuck it cold.
McCusker, UB: Maloney to pak, lots of momentum through there. van Leeuwen is great. Stalder to double tuck, just a bounce back on the landing. Solid routine for her.
Haigis, UK BB: Little lean on her acro series but keeps it small. Switch to shushunova to front support on the beam, love that. Full turn is good. Cat leap to front aerial, lovely. Hop on the dismount with a college stick.
Casali, Denver VT: Yfull big hop back.
Schoenherr, UB: Jaeger is gorgeous as usual. Bail looked good. NAILED this double front half out! Yes Sav!
6:53pm: Watson, FX: nailed her double arabian to open. Double tuck to finish but I missed everything in between watching others.
Hutchinson, VT: NAILS a Yfull, stuck cold.
Skaggs, UB: Tkachev to pak is gorgeous as always. Great handstands to finish. DLO stuck cold! Yes ma’am!
Lean from Kentucky’s Magnelli on beam, but stayed on and stuck her dismount! They’ve had some trouble with landings, that’ll help.
6:55pm: Mundell, VT: Y1.5, little shuffle back. That’ll be great for them.
Thomas, UB: Maloney to pak, great through those. GORGEOUS low bar handstand work. van Leeuwen is great. Almost overarches her final handstand but saves it. DLO is stuck cold! Won’t be a 10.0 but it was dang close.
Stevens, FX: Front lay to Rudi, legs a little wild and piked. Has to cowboy her double tuck to finish, yikes.
A fall from Denver on vault!
Patterson, BB: Really lovely from what I’ve seen in between routines. Switch leap to second switch leap, easily the best of those I’ve seen this season. Cat leap to switch side, great. Gainer pike off the end, little hop.
Wong, UB: Maloney to pak looks great. van Leeuwen is solid. Good final handstand. DLO stuck!
6:58pm: Groth, UB: Front double full to open! Nice. Dance series looked clean. 1.5 to front lay, lovely. Rudi to finish, solid control and mostly clean in the legs.
Worley, BB: Cat leap to switch side, good positions there. Front aerial to bhs loso, just lays it back, no effort visible. Full turn is solid. Roundoff 1.5 twist stuck! That should help Kentucky’s chances.
Lee, FX: DLO, one of her better ones! Doesn’t move the front foot at all. Switch ring is a good one too. Combo pass to close, takes it right to the line but does not go over. Should be another great score.
Angeny, BB: Bhs loso loso, she was kinda off but figured out how to save it somehow! Split to straddle 1/4, good positions. Side aerial back tuck full, kinda off to the side? But pulled it around somehow.
7:04pm: Gobourne, FX: Final routine of the rotation, all eyes on her – just how she likes it. Double tuck to open, so open, well controlled. Dance series is nice and precise. Front full to front lay, clean form through both of those. Double pike to finish, big shimmy on the landing because she KNOWS she’s nailed it. Based on other scores tonight, I can see it going 10.0. But no, it goes 9.975.
AFTER THREE: UF 149.025, AUB 148.325, UK 147.925, DU 147.875
7:12pm: Rotation 4! Last one best one!
Groth, Aub VT: Yfull, bounce back.
Procasky, UK FX: Switch ring 1/2 to start, that was interesting. Two passes cleanly done so far.
Skaggs, BB: Wolf turn to start is good. Switch to split, lovely. Bhs loso, solid. Cat leap to switch side, nice and steady. Side aerial back full is stuck! The queen of the leadoff.
Ruiz hits bars to lead Denver off.
Hubbard, VT: Y1.5, hop forward. A little knees in the air.
7:14pm: Stevens, VT: Y1.5, little deep in the knees but stuck! Wow!
Patterson, FX: 1.5 to front lay to start, nice and floaty into that second element. Dance series is clean. Ooh, falls out of last pass and goes OOB, that will not bode well for their chances barring a mistake from Auburn.
Blakely, BB: Front aerial to bhs, solid. Rest looked good, I think she stuck her dismount as well.
Casali, UB: Maloney to bail, looked good. I missed her dismount, but Hebinck after her hit as well.
Gobourne, VT: Y1.5, step forward.
Watson, VT: Y1.5, STUCK COLD! Crowd goes WILD for her.
7:18pm: Baumann, BB: Bhs loso, dead on, so solid. Front aerial to beat, excellent. Splits in her dance series are excellent as always. Stuck dismount let’s GO!
Lee, VT: Yhalf on, layout half off, bounce back. Some bend in her layout shape but they rarely deduct for that.
Magnelli just hit floor for Kentucky – a good reset for them.
7:20pm: Mundell, UB: Great opening handstand. Tkachev is gorgeous, to pak nice. DLO, little bounce in place it looked like.
Wong, BB: Series is clean, excellent. Switch ring, little check there but her ring position was good tonight. Front aerial, looked like maybe another check but she hides it very well. Roundoff double full stuck!
Anna Haigis with another hit for the Wildcats – they need that too.
7:23pm: Thomas, BB: Switch leap mount, nails it. Bhs loso, so solid. Front aerial, hesitates a little, beat jump to korbut, she may lose some bonus for that and may not start from 10.0, unless she has more bonus than she needs with her normal routine. Step forward on the dismount.
Davis, FX: Double pike to open, has lots of room before the boundary there, wow. Combo pass was clean… I missed the rest because I was watching Trin, sorry! It was a hit, I do know that.
7:26pm: Clapper, BB: Bhs loso loso, little lean to the side but doesn’t move her arms, just waits for it to settle into her body, so patient. What a veteran. Dance series is solid. Side aerial back full looked stuck from here! A great finish for the Gators.
Worley, FX: Full in is great! Front full front lay, gorgeous, very clean leg and toe form. Double tuck to close and the team is chanting for a 10 – I doubt she’ll get it, but I think it’s mathematically impossible for them to catch Auburn.
FINAL: UF: 198.775, AUB 197.775, UK 197.5, DU 197.225
Trinity Thomas matches her own career high, which is also the all-time UF record, for AA score with a MASSIVE 39.9.
Jenny Rowland is tearing up on camera talking about her team’s performance tonight. Riley McCusker is dancing and cheering back with the crowd, Morgan Hurd just tackled Thomas in a hug – I love seeing the joy and camraderie on this team.
Florida and Auburn will advance to nationals! Two weeks from now, we’ll see you back here for liveblogs for semifinal II on Thursday night 4/14, following the Gators, and as long as they qualify to finals on Saturday afternoon, we’ll be here to cover that as well. Thanks for joining us tonight! See you back here for Nationals!