The 2023 season has officially arrived! The Gators open their schedule tonight with a quad meet, facing off against West Virginia, Ball State, and Lindenwood. Florida is certainly favored to win, but this meet is less about that and more about setting the tone for the season and testing their initial lineup options. Head coach Jenny Rowland has already said that high-level athletes like Trinity Thomas and Kayla DiCello will be paced patiently this year, so don’t be surprised if there aren’t as many all-arounders as maybe you’d expect. We’re also all eagerly awaiting the NCAA debut of redshirt freshman Morgan Hurd, but which and how many events she’ll be competing are still unknown.
Brian is in the O-Dome tonight and I, Caroline, will be liveblogging from home – we’ll be covering all the action right here, so if you can’t tune in or make it to the arena, you can follow along here!
6:52pm: Walkouts are currently finishing up! Some tidbits from warmups from a fellow gymfan:
The arena ERUPTED into cheers for Trinity Thomas when she was introduced. Doesn’t matter what team you root for, this arena recognizes greatness.
6:58pm: Athletes are going to their events and beginning touch warmups!
7:02pm: We have lineups!
Florida Gymnastics alumna Sydney Johnson-Scharpf commentating tonight! Very interested to see how she does.
7:04pm: Edwards, VT: Clean Yurchenko full, little slide back. Great start for her, I think she’ll likely stay in this leadoff slot for a while.
Henry, Ball State BB: Acro series and she’s fallen already, welp. Clean dance elements as she gets back on. Gainer front toss, stumbles forward but stays on. Big crossover step on her dismount.
DiCello, VT: Big floaty Yfull, another hop back. Nice clean start for her as well.
7:06pm: Baumann, VT: This isn’t Alyssa, y’all, this is sister Rachel, fifth-year transfer from Georgia! Glad to have her on the right side of this rivalry finally. Y1.5, great distance, little hop forward. Great Gator debut for her!
Another fall from Ball State on beam, that’s a shame. They’ll end up counting a fall.
West Virginia with a clean bars routine, missed who it was.
7:08: Caffey, Lindenwood FX: Great amplitude on her dance elements. Rudi was a lil close to the line. Double tuck to close, just a slide back on the landing there. That’ll be a solid routine for them.
Richards, VT: Y1.5, a little stumbly on the landing, but good distance there.
7:10pm: Wong, VT: Same vault as last year, Yurchenko half-on pike half, little low on the landing.
Another hit for WVU on bars, not sure who it was. Broadcast hasn’t really talked about them at all.
7:12pm: Thomas, VT: Beautiful Y1.5, just lays it in. Little shuffle on the landing. What a great start for her, she’s already honing that in.
Looked like a hit on FX for Lindenwood from Cooper. Solid last pass.
Brubach, VT exh: Yfull, little low on the landing, has to step forward, chest down a little.
7:14pm: Lopez, Lindenwood FX: Double tuck to open, big lunge with a slide back. A little wild on her dance series, she maybe hit 180 on her split element but the wolf element was all over the place. Punch front full to punch front layout, solid. Final combo pass was well controlled. Another solid one from Lindenwood.
Ball State just hit their series on beam. Beat to split 3/4, not quite 180 but a fun combo. I think that’s a hit for them!
7:16pm: Holmes-Hackard, WVU UB: Release was good. Pirouette full to double tuck dismount, stuck!! That should be another good one for them.
Waldo, BSU BB: We’re joining midroutine. Split to beat, strong. Punch tuck 1.5 dismount, at least one hop on the landing.
7:18pm: Irwin, WVU UB: Markelov! Love to see the unusual release there! Transition to low bar is good. Double tuck dismount, a little underrotated and buckles, little step forward to steady herself.
7:20pm: Griswold, Lin FX: We didn’t see her first pass but it sounded like a hit. Front full to front lay, very clean. Clean dance series, much better control in the wolf full position than others. Double back to finish, great control. A strong finish for Lindenwood!
Teter, BSU BB exh: Dance series was clean. Punch front full dismount, stuck! Good for her, that’s hard.
Asper, WVU UB exh: Jaeger is nice, next handstand a little short. Bail is fine. Final handstand is better. Muscles through her pirouette, double tuck, step back.
R Jones, Lin FX exh: Front double full to open, wow! Why is she not in the lineup? I just had to double check myself, but yeah they have six scores already in. Combo pass is clean in the air, a little messy on the landing. Rudi to finish, jumps it out into a lunge for some more stability.
AFTER ONE: UF 49.3, LIN 48.725, WVU 48.5, BSU 47.8
In just a few minutes!! She’ll be anchoring bars!
Getting ready for rotation 2! Honestly, I love this lineup. Missing Savannah Schoenherr, but with a broken foot, she’s in no shape to be competing right now. Hopefully she’ll heal quickly, but this is a strong group even without her.
7:32pm: Blakely, UB: Maloney to pak, lovely. Great final handstand work! STICKS her double front dismount!! That’s huge for her, what a great start for the Gators here!
WVU sticks their beam dismount, not sure who it was.
Daniels?, Lin VT: Yfull, sticks! Piked down and not much distance, but great landing.
Nguyen, UB: Maloney to pak, so clean! Good last handstand on high bar. DLO floats down, some leg sep, but sticks it! Love seeing her on this team.
Boone, Lin VT: Another Yfull, better dynamics on that one, but looked like some movement on the landing.
7:36pm: Pierson sticks her beam dismount!
Another Yfull from Lindenwood, they didn’t tell us who it was…
DiCello, UB: Great Ray! Solid handstand work. Sticks her dismount!! She is having a great night already.
7:38pm: Middleton, BSU FX: Bringing the drama with this music and choreo! Aaaand we cut away before any tumbling or dance elements.
Thomas, UB: Great opening handstand. Maloney to pak, lovely. Perfection on the low bar handstands. van Leeuwen to high bar, just NAILING these handstands. DLO dismount, legs glued together! Hard to tell if she shifted back on her dismount or if she stuck.
7:40pm: Combs, WVU BB: Cat leap, front aerial to back tuck, that’s a great combo. Full turn, solid. Dance series solid, hits 180 on both. Sticks her dismount!! A great hit for the Mountaineers.
Wong, UB: Maloney to pak to open, nice and floaty. Handstands are good, not quite as precise as Trin. van Leeuwen, solid. DLO, can’t stick it but tries to cover. They’re chanting 10s but not for long, it’s a little early in the season for that.
7:42pm: Henry, BSU FX: Double pike to close this MJ routine. Oh nooooo, she attempted a moonwalk, which did not work out for her.
Hurd, UB: Has trouble starting on the low bar and has to restart. Womp. Tries to remount, goes up to the high bar and loses her hands, flies off underneath the low bar! Oh god, that looked so scary. She looks okay, just a little shaken up.
Leigh (?), WVU BB: Cat leap switch half, little check. Gainer full off the side, solid.
Teter, BSU FX: Double tuck, big bounce back. Dance series looked fine. Front full front lay to finish, pretty clean, covered coming out of it with dance.
7:50pm: Blair, BSU FX exh: Double tuck, stumbles back so far out of it, she goes completely OOB and has to be caught by teammates. Front lay front full, sits the front full, can’t get it all the way around. A little shy of 180 on some of her dance elements. That’s rough.
AFTER TWO: UF 98.925, LIN 97.125, WVU 97.0, BSU 96.8
Hurd is supposed to lead off beam next, hopefully she can shake this off and be good to go!
8:00pm: Hurd, BB: Front aerial to bhs, good start with her series out of the way. Split to ring jump, fun combo and great shapes. Full turn, she’s a little shaky but getting through okay. Roundoff double full, a little bouncy on the landing but what a recovery for her! Teaching that short memory college gymnastics requires.
Freehling, WVU FX: Two strong passes already!
Aaaand we cut away.
Ruthberg (?), BSU VT: Yfull, small adjustment on the landing, a little piked down.
8:02pm: Lazzari, BB: First routine back! Bhs loso loso, DEAD straight, what a queen. Switch leap to split, lovely. Front aerial, nice. Full turn, great. Bhs 1.5 stuck! WELCOME BACK ELLIE LAZZARI! Wow!
Leigh, WVU FX: Strong dance series. Looked like she didn’t fully complete her next pass, just a back layout? Front double full to finish though, wow!
DiCello, BB: Double wolf turn, nice and steady. Switch to split, lovely 180s, she really hangs in the air. Bhs loso, little adjustment but keeps it small. Front aerial, nice. Bhs gainer full, little hop on the landing. DiCello is having herself a debut!
8:07pm: Lewis, WVU FX: Rudi to layout stepout, very nice. Nice long lines in her dance elements. And we cut away. Where’s my quad box??
Richards, BB: Bhs loso, little lean. Goes for her dance series and has a big leg up bobble. Switch leap to straddle, that’s better. Bhs 1.5, hop forward. She fought for that!
8:09pm: Newsome, Lin UB: Piked Jaeger to overshoot, fine. Double front dismount, and she sits it. Bummer.
Thomas, BB: Split leap mount, gorgeous. One-arm bhs to loso, so confident there. Front aerial to two feet! That’s new this year, and very rare, well done. Beat jump to bhs swingdown, solid. Side aerial to 1.5 twist dismount, stuck! Another stellar routine for the super senior.
WVU FX: Double pike to open, big lunge out of it. Switch ring is a little crooked. 1.5 to front half to stag jump, that’s fun!
Thomas gets the perfect 10.0!! Incredible!
Wong’s routine was also excellent, they only showed the tail end.
8:14pm: Baumann, BB exh: Can’t believe this was an exhibition! Side aerial loso, nice and straight. Beat to switch side, little adjustment in the air but she did it. Roundoff 1.5 twist dismount, little step forward.
Appleget (?), Lin UB: Pretty loose throughout, especially on the overshoot, but the DLO dismount was nice, little hop out.
Pierson, WVU FX: Double lay to open! Very nice. Three-element dance series, we’ll be seeing lots of those this year I believe. Front lay front full, nice and clean in the twisting there. Would’ve wanted more performance out of her, but solid for the first routine of the year.
8:21pm: Handono (?), WVU FX exh: Rudi to loso, very clean and floaty. Tour jete half to wolf full, good positions there. Double back to finish. This music will sound familiar to Gator fans, Hundley used it a few years ago.
AFTER THREE: UF 148.35, WVU 146.2, BSU 145.8, LIN 144.6
8:29pm: We are wrapping up touch and rotation 4 is about to get underway!
Brubach, FX: Front lay to Rudi, nice and clean, though not much amplitude on her second element. Dance series is clean. Double tuck to close is solid! A great leadoff, though I think they’ll want another routine in the top six by postseason.
Irwin, WVU VT: Yhalf, step to the side.
8:32pm: Nguyen, FX: Classical music here for her routine, an unusual choice for NCAA. Front double full to split jump, wow! Switch ring to switch half are both gorgeous. Y turn combo, fantastic. 1.5 to front lay, very clean. She’s sooo elegant.
Nelson, WVU VT: Yfull, big hop back.
Fall for Ball State on bars. Ouch.
8:35pm: DiCello, FX: Front double full to open for her as well! Little crossover step coming out of it. Dance series had great amplitude and positions in the air. Single wolf turn, okay? Why is that needed? 1.5 to front full, so quick in her twisting. What a great night for her, that should win her the AA title.
WVU sits a vault, think that was Wehry.
8:38pm: Richards, FX: DLO to open, a little short but covers well. Dance series was solid, a little bouncy as she finished. 1.5 to front full, knees got way too soft there, saved it somehow. Could see on her face clearly how she surprised herself.
8:40pm: Appleget, Lin BB: Switch to split to pike jump I think, that was fun! And we cut away.
Baumann, FX: Double wolf turn, solid. 1.5 to front full, very nice! Stealing some choreography hallmarks from her sister I think, if I’m not mistaken. Switch side to straddle, does that meet the difficulty requirement?? Double pike to finish, nails it. Adrian Burde’s happy with that.
Ruthberg, BSU UB: Tkachev to overshoot, nice air on that. Shy on the handstands. Double front, just a hop in place. They needed that!
8:43pm: J Jones, Lin BB: Little bobble on the turn. Solid on the dismount though!
Blakely, FX: Love to see her anchoring this lineup! Double arabian and she sits it. Oof. Switch ring to switch half, those are nice. Double pike, another crunchy landing and ooooooh, she’s done. Will not finish. She’s standing on her own power but that’s scary. I hope she’s just being overly cautious.
FINAL: UF 197.75, WVU 194.925, BSU 194.1, LIN 193.125
DiCello will take the AA in her debut with a 39.475! Thomas wins vault, bars, and beam with 9.925, 9.95, and 10.0 respectively, and Wong ties her for a share of bars also at 9.95. The floor title goes to Rachel Baumann in her first meet as a Gator with a 9.925.
I’ll be tweeting a few things from post-meet press, provided the Zoom link works, so be sure to follow me @mycluttereddesk, where you can also find coverage throughout the week! Thanks for joining me tonight, and we’ll be back next week with coverage of Auburn at Florida!