Florida 198.150, LSU 197.825 Photo by HannahWhite

Florida’s Floor Earns Gators Gymnastics the Win Over LSU

In front of Florida Gymnastics alumni, the Gators Gymnastics team put up a historic performance on floor exercise to take down the LSU Tigers 198.150-197.825 in a battle of two programs ranked in the top five in the country.

Florida vaults ahead

Both teams got off to stellar starts; LSU went to the bars and Florida took on the vault.

Graduate student Megan Skaggs got things going with a 9.900 for the Gators. It was the first of four 9.900 or higher scores in Florida’s opening rotation. Senior Trinity Thomas led the way with a near-perfect 9.975.

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The Gators ended their first rotation with a solid 49.550.

The Tigers kept it clean on the uneven bars. Sophomore Haleigh Bryant put up a career-high 9.950 which was the highest for LSU on the event. Sophomore Olivia Dunne and graduate student Sami Durante each added a 9.900 to the tally as the Tigers closed the first event with a 49.425.

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Florida led by just .125 going into the second rotation.

Bounce back on bars

LSU continued to be consistent on the vault. Junior Kiya Johnson put together a season-high 9.950 as the Tigers scored 49.475 in rotation two.

There was some adversity early for the Florida Gators on the bars. Freshman Sloane Blakely was the first gymnast on the event and was forced off the bars. Her score of 8.550 meant the rest of the lineup needed to hit their routine to stay ahead.

Florida did exactly that.

Thomas and senior Savannah Schoenherr put up team highs of 9.950 and three other Gators put up 9.850s of their own as Florida went on to score 49.450 in the second rotation.

The Florida lead shrunk to .100 points, but they stayed ahead 99.00-98.900.

Things get interesting

Florida stumbled on their signature event. A big balance check from Blakely meant Thomas’ 9.700 counted towards the overall score. Senior Leah Clapper closed the third rotation with a 9.950.

Freshman KJ Johnson led the Tigers with a 9.950 on floor exercise while freshman Aleah Finnegan also put up a career-high 9.900.

The beam rotation produced a 49.350 for the Gators and LSU came back on floor to tied up the meet at 148.350 apiece going into the last rotation.  The 49.450 on the event brought the meet down to the final rotation.

For all the marbles

LSU and Florida finished the night on beam and floor, respectively.

While the contest was tied going into the final rotation, Florida ran away with the meet with an outstanding floor exercise. With the second-highest floor score in school history, 49.800, Florida got the win. Senior Nya Reed earned her second 10.0 of the season and every single score for the Gators was above 9.900.

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The Gators took the meet 198.150-197.825. Florida’s score is the third-highest team total in the nation this year.

Wong Wins All-Around

The Gators had four gymnasts compete in the all-around with three placing in the top three.

“The Gators are pretty good,” head coach Jenny Rowland said, “It was a great night. This week we were able to put it all together.”

Leanne Wong took the all-around win with a 39.650. Reed won floor exercise with her perfect score while Thomas walked away with a vault win after earning a 9.975. It was a three-way tie on bars and a tie on beam. Bryant, Schoenherr and Thomas all got a 9.950 on the bars while Clapper and Kiya Johnson both earned 9.950s on beam.

Florida will travel to Kentucky to face the Wildcats on Friday and LSU will go back to Baton Rouge and host Alabama.

About Christopher Will

Chris Will is a second-year journalism student with a focus in sports and media. Originally from the Fort Lauderdale area, Will is now the beat reporter for Florida Gymnastics and covers all things sports in Gainesville.

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