Rowland, fresh off of her sixth season with the Gators, has finally had time to decompress after an eventful 2021 season. After contemplation, she considers this season to be more successful than anything prior.
Her greatest season (so far)
“Probably the greatest success in my lifetime, in my career coaching,” said Rowland on Wednesday. “Just such a monumental year, and a year I’d say filled with memories.”
Even though there were low points, Rowland emphasized there were so many more highs than ever. Her pride in her team shined through her praise, and she knows her Gators are able to walk away from the season proud of what they accomplished.
“I’m just so grateful for UF and the health department,” said Rowland. “And for everyone that allowed us to get to where we were.”
Getting to the end of the season wasn’t even a guarantee. After the prior season was cut short due to the pandemic, athletes were left wondering if it was even worth putting their 100 percent into the year.
Rowland recalled the demeanor on the first day of campus to be disheartening. The look on athletes faces told exactly what they were feeling: Why are we here? Are we even going to be able to finish what we started? But Rowland and crew pressed on.
“Tomorrow is never guaranteed,” said Rowland. “And we, the student athletes, took a pact to make the most out of each day they had together.”
That pact was integral in pushing Rowland and her Gators toward the finish line.
When asked who on her team made the most improvements this year, Rowland was initially hesitant to respond.
“It could be a tie,” said Rowland. “But the first person that comes to mind is Alyssa Baumann.
“She came in this season, like she has every other season, competing solidly on two events, vying for a spot on two additional events, and to go from what she’s done in the past up until this year, and competing in the all-around position on day two of the NCAA championships, I would say that’s a great feat.”
Rowland was quick to mention Baumann’s fellow senior, Megan Skaggs, as well.
“I would say maybe not just this year, but throughout her career as well, Megan Skaags, our other senior from her freshman year to this year, really just unbelievable. Those two athletes had their very best moments of their entire collegiate career this past weekend, and they have so much to be proud of.”
Proud to be a Florida Gator.
— Megan Skaggs (@MeganSkaggs_) April 18, 2021