6,134 fans attended the gymnastics meet at the O'Connell center Friday night to watch the Florida Gators take on the Georgia Bulldogs.

Minnesota, Denver Advance to Regional Final

The Florida Gators will not compete in the NCAA Gymnastics Regional until the Friday evening session on April 2. However, if Florida advances to the Regional Finals on April 3, two of the teams that the team will encounter will come from the first session of the day. The teams featured in this session were Minnesota, Denver, Oregon State, and the hosting Georgia Bulldogs. Minnesota and Denver earned the top two spots and will appear in the Regional Final.

Gophers Dominate Early

Opening on the balance beam, Minnesota launched itself into first place after the first event and never looked back. Senior Lexy Ramler earned the Gophers a 9.950; this score topped the leaderboards for the first session. The Bulldogs supported a majority of the attendance wearing red and black, finished .1 ahead of Oregon State, and Denver left the first rotation in last place.

In the second rotation, Minnesota put the pedal to the metal; the team’s 49.500 total was the highest of any event for any team of the session. This lineup featured a 9.950 from senior Ona Loper, who would reach even higher scores in the next rotation. After a solid opening on the vault, Oregon State stumbled on the bars, earning a session-low 48.725. This score dropped the team to last place, and the Beavers would not be able to climb out of that spot for the rest of the day.

Loper Earns 10

The fireworks came out in the third rotation. On the vault, Loper earned a standing ovation from the Stegeman Coliseum fans after earning a perfect score of 10.0. Over on the floor, Denver senior Lynnzee Brown earned a 9.950 that helped catapult her team past Georgia in the standings. This score would tie her for the top spot in the session with Ramler.

With a narrow .05 lead over Georgia entering the final rotation, the pressure was on Denver to close out the meet on the vault. Just like she did all day, Brown delivered; her score of 9.975 was second in the session, just behind Loper’s 10, and it helped maintain Denver’s edge over the ‘Dawgs. As the final gymnasts finished their performances, it became clear that the hosts of the Regional would not qualify for the Regional Finals.

What’s Next

Minnesota claimed the top spot in the session with a score of 197.625; Denver took the second spot by scoring 196.775. These two teams will appear in the Regional Final on April 3; if Florida can advance past the Regional Semifinals in the second session, the Gators will compete against these two teams for a spot in Nationals.

About Carson Cashion

Carson Cashion is a second-year student at the University of Florida, and has a major in journalism with a specialization in sports and media. Originally from the Orlando area, Cashion has covered the UF Gymnastics team as well as Oak Hall athletics for ESPN Gainesville.

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