UF gymnastics coach Jenny Rowland, center, talks to her team before the Gators competition against Arkansas at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center in Gainesville, Fla., Friday, Feb. 9, 2024. [Azhalia Pottinger/WRUF]

Gator Gymnastics Looking Ahead to Biggest Meet of the Season

The No. 5 Florida Gators gymnastics team will host the No. 2 LSU Tigers on Friday at 6:45 p.m. in the O’Connell Center.

SEC Showdown

Florida gymnastics will be competing in one of the biggest meets of the season.

With both teams being top-competitors within the Southeastern Conference, fans have a high level meet in Friday Night Heights. The Gators currently hold an advantage this season with an overall 9-1 record compared to LSU’s 7-2. However, both teams are 4-1 in the SEC.

The Gators lost to LSU in their 2023 season matchup. Florida will be looking for redemption.

Florida head coach, Jenny Rowland, had a very optimistic outlook for Friday’s matchup. She stated her and the team are “looking for an upset”.

Florida’s team has showed great strength on vault; however, they show weakness in their landings. A big deciding factor of Friday evening’s outcome will come from honing in on these weaknesses and capitalizing on their strength in vault.

Looking ahead, this will not be the last of Gator versus Tiger face-offs for the season. Both teams are working towards the SEC Championships. Rowland touched on how big this event is for her and the team. However, the Gators are looking to combat these high pressures with a level mindset.

Mindset is Key

Florida has been the only team in the country to build on their score each week. Victory has been in the Gators’ favor. In the recent, “Mizzou to the Lou” quad meet, Florida secured a win with many notable performances. One of these standout performers being fifth-year senior, Payton Richards. Richards matched her best floor record for the fifth time, scoring a 9.925.

Speaking on the mindset going into Friday’s meet, both Rowland and Richard emphasized the “Gator vs Gator” idea, noting that the team is not focused on anyone else but the Gators.

Additionally, Richards stated her personal preparation will entail lots of re-watching her routines, focusing on the small details and making the necessary corrections.

Gymnastics fans have a lot to look forward to this big night. A major factor in the meet being at home is the presence of “Gator Nation”.

Florida will have the opportunity to show out on “Rowdy Reptiles Night”.

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