It’s confidence and teamwork that will drive the preseason No. 3 Florida Gators gymnastics team to success this season. The Gators open the 2019 season versus the No.11 Missouri Tigers in Gainesville on Friday. Teammates are ecstatic to showcase the hard work they have put in during the offseason.
“I’m really excited to work with these group of girls. They’re awesome and have amazing personalities and they all work so hard,” said senior Alicia Boren.
This team is unique this season as Florida features six freshmen on the roster this season, the most since the 2005 season. With so much young talent, teammates look to their upperclassmen to prepare them for the rigorous season. Head coach Jenny Rowland said the transition from competing at the club level to the collegiate level is an emotional adjustment because the gymnasts go from competing for themselves to competing for a team.
Friday’s meet will mark the beginning of the end for seniors like Alicia Boren. Last season, Boren received the Gator Gymnastics’ Most Valuable Gymnast of the Year. As a junior, the New Jersey native earned three All-America honors in the NCAA Championship’ semifinal competition. In addition, she set or equaled her colligate best for bars (9.925), floor (9.95) and vault (9.95). This season, she is excited to be part of a fresh team and lead with Amanda Cheney, the team’s other senior.
Earlier this week, Boren reflected on her time at Florida and attributes her experience with team help her gain confidence both as an athlete and a person.
Junior Rachel Gowey emphasized the team’s level of confidence going into the meet on Friday. While nerves are inevitable, she says the team works hard and together during practice so ensure they are successful.
It doesn’t matter how many years you compete, you’re always so nervous on the first meet because you had months off of training and you’re building back to a spot of you want to be at,” Gowey said.
Despite first-week nerves, everyone is getting excited to get back to competition season.