UF's Leanne Wong competes on the beam during Friday's meet against Arkansas at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center. [Azhalia Pottinger/WRUF]

Gators Gymnastics Wins Big Over Arkansas

The Florida Gators gymnastics team secured a big SEC win Friday against the Arkansas Razorbacks in their 18th Link to Pink meet at the O’Connell Center. Thousands of fans sported pink for the Gators’ 12th consecutive sold-out meet.

Florida coach Jenny Rowland talked about the deeper meaning of the meet:

No. 6 Florida (6-1, 3-1 SEC) came out on top 197.850-196.050 over the No.13 Razorbacks (2-2-1, 2-2-1).

Starting Strong

Florida’s Skylar Draser stared down the vault track before starting the event with a 9.875. A slight stumble on the landing from Sloane Blakely resulted in a 9.675.

UF’s Victoria Nguyen competes on the beam Friday against Arkansas at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center.
[Azhalia Pottinger/WRUF]
Anya Pilgrim built the momentum back with the Gators’ first 9.900 of the meet. The first stick of the night belonged to freshman Danie Ferris (9.950), making the crowd of 8,823 erupt in excitement. This vault marked a career high for Ferris.

Ferris said she had a special feeling about this vault mid-air:

Leanne Wong finished the first rotation with a strong 9.925.

Cally Swaney and Jamie Pratt put the Razorbacks on the board with two 9.825s on the uneven bars.

Arkansas’ Maddie Jones came off the bars during her routine, resulting in a 9.300. The high score of the rotation for the Razorbacks came from Jensen Scalzo (9.875).

After one, the Gators took the lead 49.475-49.175.

Gator Perfection

Cami Weaver led the second rotation for Arkansas with a 9.750. Leah Smith broke into the 9.800s before a 9.850 from Lauren Williams to end the second rotation.

On the bars, Blakely bounced back with a 9.825. A fall from Victoria Nguyen resulted in a 9.300, but she had nothing but support from the crowd and her teammates.

Another high after a low came with a 9.900 from Gabby Disidore before a near-perfect 9.950 from Pilgrim.

Wong closed out with perfection (10.0) and the crowd was absolutely electric. This was Wong’s 7th career 10.0, including two last season against Arkansas.

She said each of her 10s are different:

Three scores above 9.900 and a 10.000 in the second rotation increased Florida’s lead 99.075-98.200.

Balance is Key

Draser opened rotation three with a solid 9.875 before a 9.825 from Blakely. Pilgrim added her third 9.900 or above score on beam (9.900).

Nguyen redeemed herself after her fall with a huge 9.925. In the anchor spot again, Wong added another 9.925.

Klein started on the floor for the Razorbacks, posting a clean 9.850. Arkansas broke into the 9.900s for the first time thanks to Williams. Frankie Price piled on with a big 9.950.

With one rotation left, Florida maintained the lead 148.525-147.625.

Floor And Final

Kalyxta Gamiao was in the lead-off spot for Arkansas, posting a 9.925. Maddie Jones had her second fall of the night, resulting in a 9.025. The Razorbacks’ final performer, Priscilla Park, also came off the beam (9.150).

Florida’s Lori Brubach started with a 9.900, followed by a 9.800 from Nguyen. Morgan Hurd took the floor next, adding a 9.850 to the Gators’ score.

The final routine of the night came from Leanne Wong, posting a 9.875.

The Gators’ 197.850 is a season-best team score for the team. Rowland noted that the team tries to find ways to improve every day, both inside and outside of the gym:

Event Titles

Danie Ferris took the vault title (9.950) while Leanne Wong captured the bars title with a perfect 10.0. There was a three-way tie for the beam (Nguyen, Wong, Gamiao). The floor title went to Frankie Price (9.950).

Wong also claimed the all-around title (39.725).

UF’s Sloane Blakely competes on the uneven bars Friday against Arkansas at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center. [Azhalia Pottinger/WRUF]

Up Next

The Gators will travel to No. 12 Missouri (6-2, 2-2) next Friday for a quad meet against the Tigers, Illinois (6-4, 1-3 Big Ten) and Lindenwood (7-2). The 7 p.m. meet will be carried on the SEC Network.

About Scarlett Cooney

Scarlett Cooney is a third-year journalism student specializing in sports and media.

Check Also

Florida Men’s Basketball Sinks Vanderbilt

  Home dub!#GoGators | Presented by @WellsFargo pic.twitter.com/o1OfTJ3UJU — Florida Gators Men’s Basketball (@GatorsMBK) February …