The Gators may have dropped a spot in the national rankings, but that does not make them any less formidable an opponent to compete against, especially at home! Missouri will take on that challenge tonight in what fans can expect to be another packed house, as the O-Dome hosts the Link to Pink meet, Florida’s annual meet honoring breast cancer survivors and raising awareness for the cause.
Missouri has continued rising this season after a strong showing last year, showing strong, consistent mid-to-high 196 scores so far. The sophomore duo of Jocelyn Moore and Amari Celestine are absolutely the two to watch, with dynamic vaults, high-flying tumbling, and entertaining choreography throughout their floor routines. Super seniors Sienna Schreiber and Alisa Sheremeta are also strong contributors, with bars the standout event for Sheremeta and beam for Schreiber. Helen Hu is also often a 9.9+ score on both bars and beam. With so many strong contributors, the 197+ is inevitable for Mizzou – the win tonight will not be easy for Florida.
But as usual, Florida is the favorite. Based on the setup of live scoring, it appears the Gators will be going with several all-arounders once again tonight, with Kayla DiCello, Leanne Wong, and Trinity Thomas all strong possibilities. Rachel Baumann also reportedly warmed up vault, an encouraging sign after being held out for several weeks due to an elbow tweak in warmups. Morgan Hurd and Riley McCusker also both warmed up elements on beam, although neither appeared to be in the top six in lineup order. It will be interesting to see what lineup strategy head coach Jenny Rowland takes tonight, as she has a little bit of room to play between Missouri’s typical score and Florida’s.
It all starts at 6:45pm in the O-Dome or 7pm on SEC Network, but if you can’t make it or don’t have access, we’ll have your play by play right here!
Ok, go with me on some theorycrafting here on these lineups. Rachel Baumann is trying to come back on vault. Savannah Schoenherr is due back in a week or two and is doing everything she can to come back on bars for her final few meets as a college athlete. I think Rowland plans to slot each of them into the anchor slot in their respective events and keep the rest of the lineup the same once the team get to postseason.
Beam looks ready to go for postseason… floor I think is still in flux, but we still have a month before postseason starts.
7:02pm: Starting off on vault! Here we go!
Richards, VT: Yurchenko 1.5, a little crooked, maybe some knees in the air, but it’s a good one – just a little stutter step on the landing.
Schreiber, UB: Short on opening handstand. Maloney had some leg separation. Bail is solid. Short on final handstand. Double layout (DLO) dismount is stuck though! If nothing else, she can drill that sucker.
Wong, VT: Yurchenko half-on, pike half off… it almost looked like she was going for a layout this week instead of a pike? Very short on the landing, falls forward and has to take a big lunge to steady herself.
Patrick, UB: Jaeger is nice, some flexed feet maybe. Bail is fine. Short on final handstand. DLO, bounce back.
7:05pm: Blakely, VT: Y1.5, one of her best! Nice and straight in the air, just a little stutter step forward.
Celestine, UB: Maloney to pak salto, some leg separation in the pak. van Leeuwen, cleaner there. Last handstand a little loose. Toe on pike half dismount, LOVE that! Sticks it too!
DiCello, VT: Y1.5, STUCK???? A coach was in the way of the angle, slo-mo replay shows a little slide, but I’m with Sav – yes ma’am! That’ll be a huge score for her.
Sheremeta, UB: Good first handstand. Big Jaeger to open! To immediate overshoot, fine. Last handstand is definitely short. Front 1.5 twisting dismount, again, LOVE that, and it’s stuck too. Missouri doing their job on bars, but missing some details.
Thomas, VT: Y1.5, super clean in the air, great amplitude, little bounce forward.
Moore, UB: Clean opening handstands, enormous Ray to open, to immediate overshoot. Little short on final handstand. Full in dismount, tries to cover the stick with her salute but I wouldn’t give it to her.
7:10pm: Clark, VT: Yfull, big bounce back, but pretty clean in the air. Again, they’ll look to replace this full with Baumann’s 1.5 (or Nguyen’s?) as the season continues.
Hu, UB: Lovely opening handstand. Piked Tkachev is excellent, to immediate pak, super clean. Blind full to double tuck dismount, just a little scooch back. What a great routine.
AFTER ONE: UF 49.35, MIZ 49.225
I don’t think this is silly at all! Payton, Sloane, and Kayla are looking more confident week by week, and Rachel is supposedly warming up vault more frequently before meets each week. I think optimism on vault is absolutely warranted. It’s also worth noting that this rotation outscored Michigan on vault just a few hours ago… just saying.
7:19pm: Rotation 2!
Schaffer, VT: Yurchenko full, a lot of distance but pretty flat, big bounce back.
Blakely, UB: Maloney to pak, leg form is pretty clean this week. Great final handstand! Double front, little step forward.
McCrary, VT: Yfull, a little off to the side and not quite the power from her she’s capable of. She used to do a 10.0 vault, I wonder if she’s just taking it easy for now or if she’s sticking to the full for her fifth year because her body is so worn out.
Nguyen, UB: Maloney to pak, some leg separation on both, more like ankle separation maybe. Good final handstand. Double layout dismount is stuck!!
Schreiber, VT: Yfull, the cleanest and best dynamics we’ve seen from Mizzou thus far. Just a little bounce on the landing, stayed in the lines too.
DiCello, UB: Huge Ray to open! Great handstand to follow, pak salto is clean. van Leeuwen is excellent. Maybe a hair shy on her final handstand. Full out dismount is stuck like glue, wow! Legs got a little wild at the end but I doubt the judges will take that in real time.
7:25pm: Davis, VT: Y1.5, big bound forward, and another step. Also over the line on one side.
Thomas, UB: Maloney to pak, both pretty clean. van Leeuwen excellent. Great final handstand. DLO dismount is stuck!
DiCello got her first perfect 10! Honestly, Thomas may also earn one here, we’ll see.
Moore, VT: Y1.5, STUCK! That’s how you answer! Missouri needed that one. Great height too, and stayed just inside that right side line.
Wong, UB: Maloney to pak salto, some ankle separation on both. van Leeuwen super clean. Great last handstand. DLO stuck!
Celestine, VT: Y1.5, also quite clean in the air, little hop forward. Huge amplitude on that one.
Richards, UB: Maloney to bail, some leg sep in the Maloney. Solid last handstand. DLO, has to fight for it but does not move those feet! Again, I do think they’ll want to slot Schoenherr into the final routine here by postseason, but this was huge. What a first half for the Gators!
AFTER TWO: UF 99.025, MIZ 98.275
Really cute story about Bailey Warner, the Gators’ adopted team member who’s also a brain cancer survivor. They found her in 2018 and she’s really become part of the team and the Gator family.
7:38pm: Blakely, BB: Front aerial to back handspring (bhs), nice and steady. Switch to switch half to beat jump, excellent. Full turn, little bobble, but she recovers. Gainer full off the side is stuck! A solid opening for Florida.
Schreiber, FX: Punch Rudi to layout to punch front, that’s fun! Front full to front lay to stag, looked like she almost didn’t have the momentum for that jump but she snuck it in. Clean on her dance series to finish it out, finishes with an oversplit plank – that’s a signature move in this house, careful!
Lazzari, BB: Bhs layout stepout layout stepout (loso), soooo solid. A dream. Switch leap to split jump, lovely. Front aerial, nice and steady. Full turn is clean. Bhs 1.5 twist dismount, little hop forward. Very nice!
Kratzer, FX: Nice high double tuck to open, lands very upright and controlled. Dance elements there are nice. 1.5 to front layout, very nice. Double pike to finish, tries really hard to keep that front foot down but I’m not convinced it didn’t move.
7:45pm: Nguyen, BB: Onodi to bhs, just gorgeous, so elegant. Y turn, effortless. Switch to split, great 180 positions. Little adjustment on the dismount.
McCrary, FX: Nice dynamic opening pass, lovely twisting form. Dance series is clean. Double pike is an ankle cruncher, but she recovers okay. Final dance element, a wolf jump full to front support on the floor, feels a little wild, but I doubt anything will get taken on that.
7:49pm: DiCello, BB: Candle mount, very clean. Switch to split, lovely positions in the air. Bhs loso, gorgeous. Bhs gainer full off the side, looked like a small shift of the foot but hard to see from here.
Looks like Lazzari scored a 9.775? Wondering if there’s an SSV issue, hope Rowland will inquire that.
Sheremeta, FX: Front double full, straight to an arabesque, nice and tight in her twisting form. Dance elements are clean, great toe point. Rudi to layout stepout, very floaty. Back 1.5 to front layout stepout, that’s fun! What a great routine – honestly, with cleanliness like that, I don’t miss the double rotating passes at all.
Thomas, BB: Split leap mount, just excellent. Full turn is clean. One arm bhs to loso, snaps those arms down, doesn’t move an inch. Beat jump to korbut (bhs swingdown), nice. Side aerial to bhs 1.5, looked again like a little foot adjustment. Upgrading the beam dismount requirements was a great decision, I think. It’s made sticking on beam a lot harder.
Moore, FX: DLO, almost two-foot sticks it but just casually steps her foot back into a lunge. Super precise in her dance elements – I told y’all this was a routine to watch. The performance quality here! Punch front through to a double tuck, so much power there. Finishes it out, she’s clearly having so much fun, the biggest smile on her face.
7:57pm: Wong, BB: Switch leap to split leap, gorgeous extension there. Bhs loso, so solid. Full turn, effortless. Front aerial to beat jump, clean and quick on that connection. Roundoff double full, a little scoot back on the dismount. Man, otherwise that was a flawless routine.
Thomas got the perfect 10 – judges must have missed that adjustment on her dismount – but I doubt they missed Wong’s. We’ll see.
Celestine, FX: Full in to open, controlled on the landing. Having an absolute blast with this choreography, courtesy of her brother Artyon, who’s a former DWTS Juniors pro! Dance series is nice and precise. Combination pass is super clean. She clearly loves this routine, just having a party of one out there on the floor. Double tuck to finish, lands so upright and well controlled on the lunge. Great finish for the Tigers!
AFTER THREE: UF 148.575, MIZ 147.475
8:08pm: Schaffer, BB: Full turn is clean to start. Bhs loso loso, and she’s off. Doesn’t really even fight for it. Gets back on, front aerial is clean. Switch to split, good 180 positions there. Roundoff 1.5 is stuck!
DiCello, FX: Front double full to open, big crossover step. Switch ring to switch half, very clean. Double wolf turn is also steady. 1.5 to front layout, much cleaner on that landing.
8:11pm: Lawrence, BB: Switch leap to split jump, a little shy of 180? Side aerial to bhs, comes up a little crooked but does not show any sign of wobbling. Front aerial, nice and solid. Roundoff 1.5, little hop forward.
Baumann, FX: Double wolf turn to open, clean. 1.5 to front full for her first pass, super clean, crisp on the landing too. Sharp in this choreo section. Switch side to straddle jump, she gets sooo high off the ground. Double pike to close, Burde is happy! She looks so pleased with herself doing that Gator chomp to close it out – love that for her.
McCrary, BB: Front toss to beat jump to start out, nice and steady. Bhs loso, floats it down, good for her. Switch leap, little hesitation into that ring jump. I think she’ll get the connection but it was a little sketchy. Full turn is fine. Beat jump to split jump – good for her having a backup, just in case. Gainer pike off the end, just a little hop. Another hit for the Tigers.
Richards, FX: Huuuuge DLO to start! One of her best recently. Dance sequence is clean. 1.5 to front full, clean. I think they changed her final choreography? She looked a little uncomfortable with it up until the Gator chomp. Yeah, slow-mo showed Jenny kinda coaching her through it a little.
8:20pm: Sheremeta, BB: I missed most of this routine, I apologize. Front aerial to split jump to dive to front support on the beam, that’s fun. Full twisting gainer tuck off the end, little hop on the dismount.
Wong, FX: Dos Santos, one of her good ones! No stag out of it this week. Gorgeous extension in her leap sequence. Whip half to front layout, nice and clean.
Hu, BB: Ridiculously cool handstand mount, that takes such strength and balance. Front aerial to front aerial to scale series, balance gets too far ahead of herself and she has to put her hand down. The rest of the routine is so clean, but unfortunately it’s too late – Mizzou will have to count what is essentially a fall.
Thomas, FX: DLO to open, it’s a beauty as always! Dance sequence is precise, one of her good ones. Combination pass is STUCK ON TWO FEET. Wow! It was like she was magnetized to the floor. Absolutely incredible. Has to be a 10 if anything else was tonight.
8:27pm: Schreiber, BB: Full turn is clean. Bhs loso loso, super solid. Switch half to split jump. Beat to gainer full off the side, looked stuck from here! She had such great focus while the arena was screaming for Thomas’s score – only a 9.975.
Blakely, FX: Let’s see how she does with the double arabian tonight – it’s a good one! Uses the whooole floor but lands it well upright and controlled. Switch ring to switch half, great extension through those. Switch ring half was good too! 1.5 to front lay, Adrian Burde is SCREAMING in the corner, pumping his fist. Whatever she’s been doing, it is WORKING. What a night she had!
FINAL: UF 198.35, MIZ 196.625
I’ll have livetweets from press on my Twitter shortly, provided Zoom works. See you all for LSU next week!