The No. 2 Florida Gators (2-0) host No. 8 LSU (3-0) Friday night at 7:15 in a battle of soaring SEC gymnastics teams.
The two squads have a significant competitive history and a fierce but friendly rivalry. Florida won last season’s regular-season meeting, but LSU was the victor when they met in the postseason and has beaten Florida in their last two visits to Gainesville. Junior Megan Skaggs had this to say earlier this week about the rivalry:
Teams Building Momentum
Both teams have started the young season undefeated and both have beaten ranked opponents along the way. The Tigers downed No. 8 Georgia and No. 20 Auburn so far, while Florida knocked off No. 19 Missouri last week.
The Gators are the second-highest scoring team in the country thus far, trailing only the University of Oklahoma. Last week, three Gators posted or matched their collegiate-best scores in events (Payton Richards on beam, Rachel Gowey on floor and Nya Reed on vault).
According to junior Alyssa Baumann, the depth of the squad could be contributing to the big performances:
LSU has especially high hopes for this season after finishing last year as conference champions and the NCAA national runner-up. Tigers head coach D-D Breaux was named the SEC Coach of the Year for her efforts.
Gymnasts To Watch
As many would have expected, sophomore Trinity Thomas has been superb for the Gators. She has claimed the beam and floor titles at both meets so far. Thomas has also been the only all-arounder for the Gators in their two meets.
For the Tigers, freshman Kiya Johnson could not be hotter. Last week against Auburn, Johnson set a new career-record score of 9.975 on floor and matched her record score of 9.925 on vault on her way to claiming the all-around title. Her impressive performance earned her SEC Gymnast of the Week honors.