Welcome to Equality Night! The No. 2 Gators host a top five matchup tonight, with No. 5 Auburn visiting the O-Dome.
The Tigers will come out swinging tonight, with an all-star roster that includes reigning Olympic AA champion Sunisa Lee and former NCAA VT champion and reigning SEC Co-Specialist of the Year Derrian Gobourne. As we’ve said before, though, the Gators’ roster is also chock full of stars, from reigning NCAA AA champ Trinity Thomas to long-awaited World champion Morgan Hurd.
Last week saw a few flaws for the Gators – some athletes struggled on bars, and Sloane Blakely had to stop her floor routine early out of an abundance of caution. Thankfully, all athletes were cleared by the medical staff, but Florida also has the depth to rest Blakely and anyone else that might be feeling sore after last week. Expect to see a few lineup changes, but per head coach Jenny Rowland, Thomas is expected to make her season AA debut.
Meanwhile, Auburn had some trouble on beam last weekend at Super 16 in Vegas, having to count Olivia Hollingsworth’s 9.675 after a 9.4 miss from AA stalwart Cassie Stevens. The Gators are deepest on beam, so if things are close and history repeats, expect Florida to pull ahead in rotation 3.
Lineups for tonight do look a little different! Just under 20 minutes until meet start on ESPN2.
Some tidbits to share from Gainesville, as we have several friends in the arena tonight:
Brian is hearing in the arena that Auburn is moving some lineup order around on vault, with Groth and Hollingsworth trading places.
Broadcast will be starting late, as there have been several delays with the LSU/UK meet. They don’t appear to be starting the event on ESPN+ or anywhere else yet.
They are switching to ESPN News and the app, so bear with me while I switch feeds!
I still don’t have video but this is valuable to know.
This confirms that yes, Baumann has been pulled from the vault lineup. Chloi Clark has slotted into the final spot in her place.
Still trying to get video. Sorry folks.
Scores overall feeling reasonable tonight.
Florida VT: Edwards 9.775, Richards 9.725, Wong 9.85, Thomas 9.925, DiCello 9.9, Clark 9.75
Auburn UB: Sabados 9.8, Hollingsworth 9.8, Groth 9.825, Stevens 9.85, Gobourne 9.875, Lee 9.9
AFTER ONE: AUB 49.25, UF 49.2
I finally have video!
7:55pm: Rotation 2 getting ready to start now!
Hollingsworth, Aub VT: Yfull, Clean in the air, hop back.
Richards, UB: Clean first handstand. Some leg sep in the Maloney, bail hits handstand fine. DLO stuck! A little floppy in the air, but that’s a great start for the Gators.
Groth, VT: Yfull, chest a little low on the landing, thought she was going to stick but she salutes herself into a slide back.
Blakely, UB: Solid first handstand. More Maloneys with leg sep, pak is clean. Double front dismount, overrotates it and big step forward.
7:58pm: Hubbard, VT: Y1.5, nice quick twist, big bound forward.
Nguyen, UB: Maloney to pak, some leg sep through there. Great last handstand! Floats her DLO but little slide back as she salutes.
Stevens, VT: Y1.5, big distance, hops off to the side and forward on her landing.
DiCello, UB: Lovely first handstand. Ray gets great height. Pak is solid, great handstand there as well, van Leeuwen had a little leg sep. Full in dismount and she STICKS COLD! They needed that.
8:02pm: Lee, VT: Yhalf on, tucked half off.
Thomas, UB: Maloney to pak, gorgeous. van Leeuwen is excellent. DLO like a DART into that mat. Huge!
Gobourne, VT: Y1.5, big bound forward and another step into the salute. Too much energy on that.
Wong, UB: Maloney to pak, very nice. GREAT last handstand, wow! DLO, sticks that cold too!
Wong gets a perfect 10.0!! What a moment for the sophomore!
AFTER TWO: UF 98.725, AUB 98.475
8:14pm: Hurd, BB: Front aerial to back handspring (bhs) to start, solid. Split jump to split ring, doubts herself and has a bobble, but stays on. Roundoff double full dismount, just a little shuffle of the feet.
McLaughlin, FX: 1.5 to front lay, has to really whip it around to put it to her feet. Really dramatic music and dance through here. And a complete tone change, much more sporty through this second section. Little wild on that dance series. Double pike to finish, a little deep in that lunge.
8:18pm: Blakely, BB: Front aerial to bhs series, so solid. Switch leap to switch leap half, gorgeous. Full turn is nice and calm. Gainer full off the side, just a little hop. Just fabulous!
Hollingsworth, FX: Super open full out to start, that’s incredible! Dance series is nice and precise. Front tuck through to double back, maybe a hair shy as she pops the landing forward instead of back. Strong routine nonetheless.
8:21pm: Lazzari, BB: Triple series to start off, ooh, big lean to the side, but she stays on. Switch to split, gorgeous. Lovely through the full turn and dance here. Bhs 1.5 twist dismount, looked like a little shuffle there on that landing.
Brusch, FX: Front through to double tuck, big arm swing and a few stutter steps to try and stay in bounds, which she does, but there will still be deductions. Three dance elements in her series, wolf position is clean for the last one, that’s nice to see. Double pike, a little crunched on the landing and a step forward.
8:24pm: DiCello, BB: Candle mount – she uses a springboard and faces away from the beam before springing backward to grab the beam upside down! It’s become common in elite, but it’s a fun one to see migrate to NCAA. Double wolf turn, steady. Split positions in her dance series are great. Bhs layout stepout (loso) for her series, super steady. Front aerial, also solid. BHs gainer full, stuck! DiCello is already a rock for this Gator team, you love to see it!
Stevens, FX: Front layout to Rudi (front 1.5), good control to start here. I think she gets her wolf full around but hard to see in real time. Double back to finish, solid landing there.
8:28pm: Wong, BB: Switch leap to split leap, gorgeous split positions there. Bhs loso, nice and steady. Full turn, locks her arms down, she’s so elegant. Front aerial to beat, nice quick connection there. Roundoff double full stuck cold! That will be another huge score for her!
Lee, FX: DLO to open! Very nice on the landing, not too whippy in the air. The only one who’s doing the switch ring any justice right now. 1.5 to front full, little stutter step out.
Wong earns another 10.0! Holy cow!
Thomas, BB: Split leap mount and full turn are both so elegant. One arm bhs to loso, adjusts midair to make sure her landing is dead-on. Front aerial to two feet, break at the hips but stays on. Not sure if that one is going to be worth the risk in the end. Bhs swingdown is great. Side aerial to 1.5 twist dismount, little hop forward. Just a few little things to keep working, but they do add up.
Gobourne, FX: Y’all are in for a treat on this one. Big open double tuck to start, great control on the landing. Nice and precise on her dance elements, gorgeous straddle position and wolf position is fine. Really playing to the crowd here. Front full front lay, so clean and extended in those. Double pike to finish, only takes the lunge for a second before going back into her dance to close it out. What a routine!
AFTER THREE: UF 148.2, AUB 147.825
The energy in the O-Dome is palpable even through the screen 13 hours away. I think we have a huge floor rotation incoming y’all!
8:43pm: Rotation 4! Let’s go!
Hollingsworth, BB: Bhs loso, super steady. Switch leap to switch half to beat, switch half was maybe a little shy. Side aerial, little step to steady herself. Gainer full, hop on the landing.
Brubach, FX: Front lay to Rudi, she twists so fast! Wow! Little bouncy on her dance series but positions are nice and clean in the air. Double back to close, big lunge back, she may have gone OOB? Hard to see with the current camera angle but hoping they’ll replay it. Yup, replay shows her inside the lines, but definitely a deduction for that lunge.
8:47pm: Brusch, BB: Aerial to split jump, nice. Bhs loso, straight on. Switch to straddle 1/4, back leg does not reach 180 on the switch leap. Gainer full off the side is stuck!
Nguyen, FX: Front double full to start, into a sissone, just gorgeous! The elegance of this routine is so refreshing. In addition to her tour jete half, she also does a Y turn to full turn combination, which you rarely see in NCAA. Final combo pass is also really nice. Really love that routine for her.
8:51pm: Stevens, BB: Bhs loso, was supposed to do a triple series but did not go for the third element. Split to stag, nice. Front aerial to knee, her signature skill. Roundoff 1.5 twist, stuck! I assume she still has plenty of bonus in there to be up to the level even though she only did a two-element acro series.
Richards, FX: DLO to open, one of her better ones, front foot may have moved a little though. 1.5 twist to front full, pretty clean in her twisting, slide forward on the landing. Big Gator chomp to finish – she looks really happy with that one.
8:54pm: Groth, BB: This one is a big routine. Bhs loso bhs for her acro series, she looks surprised and thrilled! Switch to switch half, leg up balance check, ooh. Side aerial to tucked 1.5 twist, steps into her salute, don’t think they’ll call that a stick.
Wong, FX: Dos Santos to stag jump to open, WOW. Absolutely nails it. Great extension through her dance sequence and nice precise landings. Love this arrangement of Coldplay instrumental. Combination pass to close is clean and well controlled – they’re screaming for another 10 for her. I wouldn’t go quite that far, but it’ll be a great score.
8:58pm: McLaughlin, BB: Acro series is super solid. Full turn is fine. Switch to straddle 1/4, saw a little doubt there. Gainer pike off the end, little step on the landing.
Thomas, FX: Her FX debut this season! Love her opening choreo on the floor. DLO, absolutely FLIES through the air, and great control on the landing, just steps it back to the lunge. Dance sequence has great amplitude, great extension. Front full front lay, floats it down and just a single step into the lunge. Butterfly down to the floor, oversplit, and the finish – I’d be shocked if that’s not a 10.0.
9:02pm: Lee, BB: Switch to switch half, great 180 positions there. Side aerial to loso loso, little leg up bobble there. Gainer tuck full off the end, didn’t really hold it long enough to call that a stick?
Hurd, FX: So hype for this!! Baumann’s shoulder tweak kept her out, so they put Hurd in. Front lay to front full, so clean and great control. The choreography through here is just incredible – bravo Jeremy Miranda! Double pike to finish, heel goes out of bounds but Adrian Burde still looks pretty happy, and so does the team! She’s so thrilled to be out there and be competing, especially with this Avatar routine.
FINAL: UF 197.825, AUB 197.2
Thomas takes home the vault and floor titles, while Wong takes bars, beam, and the AA. What a night for the Gators! Auburn will also take a 197.2 away score for their NQS later on this season.
I’ll be tweeting live from the press conference post-meet in a bit. Thanks for joining me tonight and bearing with me through technical difficulties! We’ll see you next week back here for the meet at Alabama.