It’s time to wrap up the regular season as the Gators head to Denton, Texas for a quad meet against Washington, NC State, and hosts Texas Woman’s. The Gators are easily the favorites, and as they’ll have a quicker turnaround than usual heading into the SEC Championships next week, expect to see athletes rested again this week. This team has depth to spare and has proven that it can still put up excellent scores even without its three top 15-ranked AAers competing on all four events.
Texas is home to several Gators, so expect to see a big Gator contingent in the audience, even though they’re far from home. They’ll need it, as even though this meet shouldn’t be too close a competition, Florida is still looking for a big score. Looking around the rest of the country, nationals competitors UCLA and Utah both put up big scores yesterday, meaning that Florida needs a 197.825 to maintain No. 3 going into conference championships week, and it’s likely that overtaking Michigan for No. 2 is just out of reach this week.
Since these are three teams Florida fans don’t often get to see, let’s briefly take a look at the state of each of these competitors and what to expect from them tonight.
Washington has had its ups and downs over the last few years, but now under head coach Jen Llewellyn, the Gymdawgs (not to be confused with the Georgia Gymdogs) are back on the rise. Their best-ranked events are vault and bars, though they’re fun to watch on floor as well. Standout performers include Skylar Killough-Wilhelm in the all-around, Amara Cunningham on vault and floor, Lana Navarro on beam, and Lilly Tubbs on bars. The Huskies are still fighting to lock in their place at regionals, but realistically should be good to go. Depending on how the rankings shake out, Florida may end up at the Denver regional site, which means the Gators may see the Huskies again in a few short weeks.
It seems like Florida and NC State meet at least once a season, but rather than trading duals year after year, they’ll meet this year in this quad meet, where neither has the home field advantage. The Wolfpack seems to be peaking at the right time, having received its highest score last week against Rutgers with a 197.225. That effort was led by solid AA performances from Emily Shepard and Alexis Ortega, as well as stellar beam and floor showings from standout senior Chloe Negrete. Mathematically speaking, NC State is a little less of a sure thing when it comes to a regionals spot, and it would really like to avoid a play-in round if at all possible. Expect to see this team fighting for every extra tenth it can today.
Finally, hosts Texas Woman’s aren’t quite competing in the same realm as the other three teams here, but there’s no better way to improve your athletes than to have them challenge themselves against the best. Despite competing in Division II, TWU often brings top-tier opponents to its schedule, including Oklahoma, Denver, Missouri, and now Florida. This isn’t the first time the Gators have been to Denton, either – head coach Jenny Rowland’s first Gator win came at TWU in 2016. The Pioneers are also peaking at the right time this year, though, with their highest score of the season coming last week at a 195.65. Brooke Ferrari and Alixandra Pierce are both capable of 9.9-caliber routines on bars and floor, respectively, and Daisy Woodring is a reliable three-eventer as well.
Today’s matinee meet starts at 2pm ET and is being broadcast on a paid stream that supports TWU, but if you don’t want to pay or can’t get away to a device with a browser, we’ll have all the action for you right here!
Florida’s press release says the feed will be a quad box, so I should have access to all four teams, but I’ve never used this service before, so stream quality is a big question mark. I’ll do my best for you, and hopefully the broadcast team will do their best for us!
1:55pm: We’re here waiting for the stream to start! Hopefully it’s a decent stream with gymnast IDs and some commentary, but I have no idea what we’ll be working with.
2:00pm: We’re now showing that the broadcast has been delayed… I’ll see what I can find out.
2:03pm: No teams have posted first-event lineups yet and no live scores are up. Wondering if they’re holding for technical difficulties or if there’s been an equipment malfunction or something.
Looks like the Gators will start on bars, and McCusker is in once again this week. Hopefully we get video soon but I’m still showing broadcast delayed.
No Nguyen, likely due to her scary balk and fall on vault last week. I’d say that’s a good call overall, she doesn’t need to push it for this meet.
2:13pm: Broadcast just came on! Hopefully it keeps working!
2:16pm: Athletes are still in warmups, so that’s good – we haven’t missed anything. Bad news… bars is a black box and the beam feed keeps cutting in and out. So we may not get any Florida for a little while.
2:18pm: Finally getting underway!
Bars is still a black box, commentator is talking us through – Blakely having a good routine so far, solid handstand work supposedly. Hand to swim for her dismount but stuck it!
Brooks, Wash BB: Acro series to start, excellent. Switch to split, lovely 180 positions there… and it freezes and cuts out.
Diaz, NCSU FX: Double back to open, solid.
TWU has had two solid Yfulls on vault so far.
Richards, UB: We have bars feed! She sticks her DLO dismount!
Griffith, TWU VT: Yfull, big bounce back on the landing.
2:22pm: DiCello, UB: They’ve lowered the brightness on the feed for whatever reason, this is bizarre. Great Ray to open, great handstand work. Pak salto looked clean. Van Leeuwen excellent. Little shuffle back on her full out dismount – commentator called is stuck but I think I saw her shift.
Woodring, TWU VT: Yfull, lands nice and upright, just a small slide, very clean in the air.
Thomas, UB: Maloney to pak, both clean as usual. Great low bar handstand work. van Leeuwen is solid. DLO dismount, a little close to the bar and has to hop on the landing.
Apparently Bowles is on BB for Washingotn right now, but the feed keeps cutting out, so we can’t see any of it. Commentators says it’s excellent though.
Wong, UB: Excellent through her releases. Handstand work is fantastic. DLO dismount, looked like she tried to hold the stick but maybe didn’t quite have control of it.
McCusker, UB: Maloney to pak, very clean. Stalder to double tuck looks the best it ever has, and she sticks it!
Killough-Wilhelm, Wash BB: Joining partway through here, but the commentator has been thrilled with it so far. Side aerial to 1.5 dismount, looked like she stuck it! Hearing some 10 chants from her teammates.
2:28pm: TWU finishes vault with six hits, 49.075.
Magee, UB exh: Love this for her! Great handstand work on high bar. Release to immediate overshoot, not my favorite but she got good amplitude. Little step on her dismount – love that she got an opportunity here!
Think this is Zultevicz on floor for NCSU – solid double back for her second pass, hard to really see anything from here as far as landings.
Navarro, Wash BB: Gorgeous triple series! Switch side, solid position in the air. Roundoff 1.5, little hop on her dismount.
Rutherford, NCSU FX: Front double full to front tuck, I think? The camera is so zoomed out. Double tuck, solid control on that landing. A short routine, but definitely a high-energy one.
Moody, Wash BB: Bhs loso, nice and steady. Switch to split, maybe a little shy of 180 on that second split. Side aerial to beat jump, solid. Roundoff 1.5, little step on the dismount.
Shepard, NCSU FX: Double pike, very nice, great control on the landing. Front lay to front full, looked clean from here. Going for a three-pass routine, I can appreciate that. Double tuck to close it out, looked nice and high – should be a great score for NCSU.
Davis, Wash, BB: Triple series to open, very steady and confident on that. Beat to straddle 3/4, love that, she gets around very securely. Full turn is clean. Roundoff 1.5, looked like she stuck it!
Negrete, NCSU FX: Double pike to open, very strong. Front full to front lay, takes it all the way to the line but keeps control of it. Leap series gets good amplitude, and it’s in the vault camera too so I can see it! Double tuck to close it out – this is why I said to watch her.
2:39pm: Tubbs, Wash BB exh: Front aerial, big bobble, breaks at the hips, but doesn’t fall. Bhs loso, small adjustment but getting her confidence back. And the feed cuts out again. Commentator says her leap series is good. Little wobble on her turn, apparently. Still can’t see, but small hop on the dismount.
Ortega, NCSU FX: Double pike to open, strong on that. Rudi (Front 1.5) for her second pass, keeps the twisting pretty clean. Some waiting around in the corner here, would love to see a little more choreography from this high-energy music. 1.5 to front lay for her final pass, clean.
Merchant, NCSU FX exh: Rudi to open, looked clean from here. 1.5 to front lay, doesn’t even need the whole diagonal, keeps good control on the landing too. Third pass looked like another front 1.5? But we’re so zoomed it out, I feel like that can’t be right.
Oof. The stream is a major challenge, you guys, but I am doing what I can here. I do not recommend paying for this stream – glean what you can from liveblogs and tweets, and hopefully the teams will post their routines after the fact.
AFTER ONE: UF 49.475, NCSU 49.3, UW 49.3, TWU 49.075
Close meet for the first rotation! Wong leads bars with a 9.95, with McCusker and DiCello right behind with a pair of 9.925s. This definitely feels like a postseason-y lineup, although it really would be great to get Schoenherr back in instead of Richards.
2:52pm: Rotation 2 starting! A great angle here of Rowland giving Blakely a little pep talk before beam… and then the beam camera cuts out.
TWU starting on bars with King – strong routine to start!
Aaaaand we have a Gator standing directly in front of the camera with the iPad. Looks like maybe Lori or Rachel? Looks like a hit from Blakely but didn’t see a lick of it.
She got a 9.925! So clearly it was excellent. Lazzari getting ready to go, but of course the camera cuts out again. Commentator very enthused about her routine so far –
Lazzari, BB: Joining partway through – leap series looks great. Front aerial, excellent. Full turn is clean. Cartwheel to gainer full, looks stuck from here!
Roberts, maybe? Wash FX: Joining partway through – super high double pike to finish out, fantastic!
Rutherford, NCSU VT: Strong Yfull, clean in the air, looked maybe stuck? Wow!
2:58pm: Pierce, TWU UB: Gorgeous Jaeger! Sticks her dismount too, excellent.
DiCello, BB: Candle mount, well done. Switch to split, lovely 180 positions there. Bhs loso, very solid. Bhs gainer full stuck! Should be another great score.
Another stuck landing for TWU on bars! They’re having a great meet so far.
Thomas, BB: Excellent split leap mount. One-arm bhs loso, has to take another step back but doesn’t balance check at all. Beat to korbut – no front aerial this week. Sticks her dismount! Keeps that train going.
Washington having a party on floor, Navarro nails her double pike to close out that fourth routine. Well done!
3:04pm: Wong, BB: She mounts… and the feed is frozen. Commentator says she had a great series. Ah we’re back! Front aerial to beat, lovely. Roundoff double full, sticks it!
Podges nails her bar routines for TWU in the meantime.
Lazarus a little shy on handstands, but gorgeous big Tkachev before she sticks her dismount! A really solid bar rotation for TWU.
Believe that was Killough-Wilhelm who just finished her floor routine for Washington, should be a strong score for them.
Vault was impossible to see, since they only showed the runway 80% of the time. Hopefully they remember not to do that when Florida gets there.
Beam has cut out again, but McCusker is up, sounds like she nailed her wolf turn. We’re back in. Bhs loso is nice and steady. Switch to split leap, lovely extension as usual. Sticks her dismount! Love to see her hit that this week.
Cunningham, Wash FX: Double tuck to open is nice and high. Getting some Missy Elliot in here as she goes into her leap series, well done. Wish I could see any of the performance up close. Double pike to close it out, bounces back a little but I think stayed in bounds?
Hurd, BB exh: Little wobble on the aerial but she recovers. Leap series is gorgeous. Roundoff 1.5, little adjustment on the end it sounds like. We can’t actually see the feet.
Not sure who is exhibitioning on floor for Washington, but she had a great double pike to finish!
AFTER TWO: UF 99.075, UW 98.325, NCSU 98.2, TWU 97.825
A much better angle here. Would love to see McCusker anchor for postseason.
3:20pm: Ok, third rotation – I will do my best here but the camera angle on floor is Not Great TM.
Brubach, FX: Front lay to Rudi, much cleaner this week. Can’t see anything about the dance elements whatsoever. Double tuck to finish, strong amplitude there. A great start!
Strong Yfull to start off for Washington.
Brooks, Wash VT: Yhalf I believe, not much distance but looked close to stuck!
Kunzman, TWU BB: Little bobble on her triple series.
Baumann, FX: Commentator tries to say it’s Lazzari but it’s definitely Baumann. Combination pass to open, takes it riiiiight to the edge of the tape but keeps it in. Double pike, well controlled to close it out.
Strong Yfull for Davis from Washington on VT.
Navarro, Wash VT: Yfull, little hop on the landing, not a lot of distance but looked clean in the air.
Woodring doing well on beam for TWU, strong series, full turn was clean. Front toss to beat, quick on that connection. Can’t see the dismount, but commentator says it’s stuck!
3:27pm: Richards, FX: DLO, didn’t see the front foot move! Dance series looked fine from what little I can see. 1.5 to front full, very clean, I don’t think she’ll ever miss that again after that one flub she had.
Killough-Wilhelm, Wash VT: Alllmost stuck her Yfull, little step to the side.
Cunningham, Wash VT: Yfull, a little piked on the landing but gets better amplitude than most of her teammates. Little adjustment on the landing.
Shepard, NCSU UB: Great opening handstand. Jaeger is lovely. Great next handstand. Pak just floats, wow! Low bar handstand work is good too. Maybe a little shy on the last one. Nice high full in, stick her dismount! Should be an excellent score.
Wong, FX: Opening Dos Santos looked clean from here. Lovely leap series, the vault camera went back to catch it up close just in time. Big step forward out of her combination pass, but it looked controlled.
3:32pm: Rutherford, NCSU UB: Just catching the dismount here – little hop on her DLO dismount but it was pencil straight, legs looked glued together.
Thomas, FX: Surprised to see her in the lineup tonight! DLO to open is excellent as usual. Dance series looked clean from here, but we’re really zoomed out, hard to tell. Combination pass to close things out, looked like she took it right to the line but I didn’t see an OOB or anything. Big cheers from the Gator section – maybe a 10 from one judge?
DiCello, FX: Front double full looks MUCH improved! She tumbled into the corner where the vault camera is, so we could see it up close, ha. Leap series looked good from what we can tell. Wolf turn is good. 1.5 to front lay, well controlled as she steps forward into her lunge. Should be a great rotation score for the Gators!
3:38pm: Pierce is having a great routine on beam here for TWU.
Hurd, FX exh: Lovely opening pass! Even from this zoomed-out angle, you can tell she brings so much more emotion and drama than almost anyone else who’s competed tonight. The artistry! Closes it out strong with her double back. I can’t wait to see her stronger and regularly making this lineup next year.
AFTER THREE: UF 148.675, UW 147.5, NCSU 147.425, TWU 146.55
Wong’s floor earned her a 9.95! Here’s a much better angle from someone in the stands.
It’s possible, but incredibly unlikely. Vault has not been Florida’s best event this season, and scores have been kind but not overly outrageous tonight, from what we can tell. The highest score given on vault so far tonight is a 9.9 for Daisy Woodring of TWU, who did an essentially stuck Yurchenko full.
3:50pm: Last rotation!
Not sure if Richards just went or if that was the end of warmups? The audio only just turned back on. Here we go.
Richards, VT: Y1.5, it’s a good one – just a little scoot back. Nice amplitude overall, hard to see anything with her leg form as the camera was moving.
Looked like hits across the board for the other three teams to start this final rotation.
Wong, VT: Yhalf on, pike half off, someone was standing in front of the camera and I could not see her land. Commentator said “one little hop” but we have no idea what that means.
Brooks, UW UB: Short on opening handstand I think? Maloney is solid. Back to the low bar, good. Dismount looks stuck!
Blakely, VT: Y1.5, looked basically stuck??? Wow!
Jennings, NCSU BB: Bhs bhs loso, a little slow but stays very steady. Switch to tuck jump 3/4, maybe a little short of 180 on that. Roundoff 1.5, little hop on the dismount.
DiCello, VT: Y1.5, hops forward. Can’t see direction at all, but distance looked good.
3:55pm: Russon from Washington sticks her bars dismount!
Thomas, VT: Y1.5, couldn’t see her come down at all, someone from TWU staff was standing in the way. Commentator said it was stuck though??? Hopefully I can get video of that.
Tubbs, UW UB: Maloney to bail, very clean, right to handstand. Solid final handstand. DLO, just a little bounce back.
Edwards, VT: Yfull, big bounce back.
Baumann, VT exh: Yes! Love to see this back! Y1.5, has to fight to stand it up, but she does. Good to get her out there now before trying to put her in competitively.
Fall on beam, and a fall on bars. That’ll keep UW and NCSU pretty even.
4:00pm: TWU just finished another hit on floor!
Bowles, UW UB: Release to immediate overshoot, well done. Good handstand work. DLO dismount is stuck! Good recovery for Washington.
Ortega, NCSU BB: Joining partway through here- switch to split, very quick and clean positions there. Gainer pike off the end, can’t see her feet for the dismount.
Johnson, TWU FX: Double pike to open, nicely done. 1.5 to front full, very clean twisting form on those. Rudi to finish – that should be a great score!
Oppegard, UW UB exh: Bail is straight on. Sticks her dismount!
4:05pm: Shepard, NCSU BB: Switch to straddle 1/4, looked a little labored but hit her 180s. Bhs loso, super solid. Beat to split 1/2, nicely done. Side aerial 1.5 dismount, couldn’t see her feet to see if she got the landing.
Pierce, TWU FX: Front double full, has to fight to stand it up but does so successfully. 1.5 to front lay to finish, looked like maybe some bent knees in her twisting form.
Negrete, NCSU BB: Front aerial to bhs, clean. Cat leap to switch half, big bobble, leg comes up, somehow saves it. Roundoff 1.5, again, angle cuts off the dismount.
TWU FX exh: Double tuck, looked like she had to put her hands down. Leap series looked clean. Up close camera froze during her combination pass so I couldn’t exactly see what it was, but it looked well controlled as she landed. Rudi to finish out, looked clean from here, but not quite ready for lineup yet.
Adler, NCSU BB exh: Bhs loso to start, little arm wave. Switch to straddle 1/4, nice 180 positions. Side aerial, head a little low on that but comes up fine. Switch side, good amplitude there. Gainer full off the side is stuck! That’s a great depth option for them.
FINAL: UF 198.175, UW 196.625, NCSU 196.35, TWU 195.575
The Gators will maintain No. 3 nationally with that score! So close to overtaking Michigan for No. 2 – my math had them at just 0.025 shy. Florida also sweeps the events here, with Wong winning AA at 39.65, Blakely VT at 9.975, Wong UB at 9.95, McCusker and UW’s Davis winning BB at 9.95, and Thomas FX at 9.975.
That’s all for me today y’all! Look out for my regular season report card for the Gators later this week, and SEC Championships liveblog on Saturday. Have a great week!