The Gator gymnastics team has just passed the halfway point of the season. And it could not be going better.
The number two Florida gymnastics team boasts a 6-0 record, the best start to a season since 2014. They are the second-highest scoring squad in the nation and the only undefeated team remaining in the SEC.
They cannot afford to ease up now, though, as the Gators face their seventh-straight ranked team when they travel to No. 17 Auburn (2-3) on Friday night.
Tigers Looking For an Upset
In 13 total match ups, the Tigers have never defeated Florida. Combine that history with Auburn’s recent form, the team is coming off two straight losses, and it is certainly an unfortunate time to challenge the Gators. Nevertheless, Florida head coach Jenny Rowland is very aware of the challenge the Tigers pose and the difficulties of going on the road.
Eight of the country’s top 20 gymnastics teams hail from the SEC, so there is never an easy week. The Tigers did score a team-best 49.425 on one event in their last meet against Kentucky, and they are certainly going to need their best again to challenge the Gators. Sophomore Derrian Gobourne could be a key factor in keeping her team in the meet. She is the reigning vault national champion and claimed two event titles (bars and floor) against Kentucky. She has accumulated four total event titles on the season, as has junior Drew Watson.
An Intimate History
On this upcoming Valentine’s Day meet, there is past love for Rowland for her former team. Before her Gators’ tenure, she spent five seasons at Auburn and shared the 2015 National Assistant Coach of the Year award for bringing the Tigers to their first Super Six NCAA final in over two decades. She had this to say about her time at the school.
Florida downed two ranked opponents last week using the fifth-highest score recorded in the nation this season. Stellar sophomore Trinity Thomas earned her second perfect 10 of the year when she nailed her beam routine, and her efforts were rewarded with her third straight SEC Gymnast of the Week honor and her fourth of the season.