Florida’s Anya Pilgram is congratulated for her floor exercise by Florida’s Skylar Draser. The Florida Gators hosted Fisk, Georgia Washington and Talladega in a quad meet at Exactech Arena at The Stephen C O'Connell Center in Gainesville, FL on Friday, January 12, 2024. Fisk is the first HBCU to have a gymnastics program and are in second year of existence. [Doug Engle/Gainesville Sun]

Gators Gymnastics Set to Take on Alabama in Top-10 Matchup

The No. 8 Florida Gators gymnastics team opens its 2024 SEC home slate on Friday. The matchup features two top-10 undefeated teams filled who will duke it out in front of a sold-out Stephen C. O’Connell Center.

Friday’s meet marks the 20th dual competition since 2003 that both the Gators and Crimson Tide head into the matchup with a top-10 ranking.

SEC Play

There will be no shortage of freshman talent in the O-Dome. Florida brought in 2024’s No. 1 recruiting class in the country, with Alabama right on their heels at No. 2.

The Tide opened SEC action with two home meets against elite competition. They defeated No. 3 Missouri 197.225-196.475 with graduate student Luisa Blanco leading the way with a season all-around high of 39.675. Alabama’s next matchup came down the wire before drawing a 197.525 tie with No. 4 Arkansas.

In Florida’s SEC opener, the Gators escaped a sold-out crowd at Auburn with a 197.325-197.025 victory on Jan. 19. Moreover, the Gators had five members finish with collegiate-best marks at Auburn.

Junior All-American Leanne Wong put her talents on display en route to winning sole possession of three event titles. Her dominant 9.95s allowed Wong to capture wins in the uneven bars and floor exercise.

Junior Bri Edwards led off the vault lineup with a solid 9.875. Fellow junior Sloane Blakely shared third on the balance beam at 9.875 with Wong.

Alumni Night

However, perhaps their biggest of the challenge of the season lies ahead with a talented Alabama squad coming to town.

Past faces of the program will be in attendance. UF is holding its annual Alumni Night in front of a sold-out crowd in the O’Dome.

More than 30 gymnasts dating back to 1973 will be acknowledged for their significant roles played in the program’s four national ream championships and 15 SEC titles.

Friday’s meet against Alabama will start at 6:45 p.m. at the O’Connell Center. The competition will be aired on ESPN2.

About Maxwell Tucker

Check Also

Gators Take Over Mizzou On The Lou Quad

The No. 6 Florida Gators gymnastics team scored a season-high 197.625 Friday to win the …