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Florida's Trinity Thomas during an NCAA gymnastics match, Friday, Jan. 11, 2019, in Gainesville, Fla. (AP Photo/Gary McCullough)

Gators Down Wildcats to Remain Only Undefeated SEC Gymnastics Team

The No. 2 Florida Gators (4-0) continued their campaign against ranked conference opponents when they took on No. 12 Kentucky (5-2) Friday night in Lexington.

Florida had another strong meet, defeating the Wildcats 197.800 to 196.600 to remain perfect on the season.

Surging Gators

The Gators posted the third-best score in school history last week against LSU, and had head coach Jenny Rowland excited to head to Kentucky.

“I’ve never been so excited about going to Kentucky… because of what this team has already experienced to date,” said Rowland on Wednesday before the meet, “I’m excited to see this team move forward and carry over what they’ve learned and see it transfer to this weekend on the road.”

The Gators delivered on their coach’s expectations, dropping their second-highest meet score this season and fourth-highest total in the nation. Gymnasts continued to excel, as the lowest individual score of the whole night for Florida was a 9.775.

https://twitter.com/GatorsGym/status/1223448561754484739?s=20

The Gators outscored their opponents in every rotation, which is an especially impressive feat on the road. Their vault score of 49.475 was the highest of the season.

After 22 collegiate or season-best scores last week, some Gators still continued to improve. Junior Megan Skaggs, who replaced a sick Nya Reed in the vault lineup, posted her collegiate-best of 9.900. Sophomore Sydney Johnson-Scharpf earned her collegiate-best floor score with a 9.875.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, reigning SEC Gymnast of the Week Trinity Thomas was nearly perfect. Thomas claimed four event titles on the night (bars, beam, floor, all-around). This is her third all-around title in four meets.

Payton Richards, the lone freshman on the Gators’ squad, competed all-around for the second straight meet and again impressed. She equaled her Florida career-best scores on vault (9.925) and beam (9.900).

Kentucky Standouts

The Wildcats had an exceptional freshman of their own on Friday, though. Raena Worley, who won back-to-back SEC Freshman of the Week honors earlier in the season, was the best all-around performer for Kentucky.

Worley, one of three freshmen on the Wildcats’ roster this season, continues to improve. She set a season-high on bars Friday after posting a season-best beam score last week.

After a fall on the balance beam, senior All-American Mollie Korth ended the night strongly with a 9.925 on the floor, the highest score on the Wildcats team. This tied her season-high.

What’s Next for the Gators

The No. 2 Gators are off to their best start to a season since 2017. They next host No. 5 Denver and No. 16 Iowa State Friday in a tri-meet in the O’Connell Center.

About John Miceli

I'm a senior journalism student at Florida. I love sports, and I love covering sports. I'm one of the beat writers for the Gator soccer team right now, and if you follow me on Twitter @johnmiceli13 you'll never miss a soccer update

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