LIVE BLOG: No. 1 Florida at No. 14 Auburn

The biggest matchup of the first weekend is here! While we expect a bit of week one score funkiness, both of these teams have the opportunity to make an early statement about how they stack up against their ranking neighbors. Preseason No. 1 Florida is at a scoring disadvantage versus Oklahoma since the Sooners are at home to start the season, but the Gators would love to snag the first No. 1 ranking anyway. Within the bottom half of the SEC, Kentucky’s top gymnast from 2020 graduated and Missouri’s is out for the season, so Auburn has an opportunity to climb, too.

Auburn’s meet notes contain projected lineups, which are always deeply appreciated by the entire gymnastics community. That said, they’re a little strange. Drew Watson is only projected to compete beam (though she’s the second alternate for the floor lineup) and freshman Olivia Hollingsworth, despite featuring heavily in floor training updates, is only in the provisional vault top six.

Check out the Florida glitter masks!

Rotation 1

Hollingsworth (Auburn): Solid FTY, not the most amplitude. 9.75

Skaggs (Florida): Tkachev to Pak, bit of leg separation, massively straddled double layout close to the bar. 9.75

Smith (Auburn): A bit more piked down than Hollingsworth but near-stick. Maybe six-inch hop back. 9.8

Gallentine (Florida): Strong first handstand, toe on, casts again instead of going for her Maloney. Couple extra cast handstands, gets the Maloney to bail nice and clean, double layout with legs very clean but underrotated, big step forward and narrowly avoids dropping her knee. Likely a bit tired after the low-bar drama early in the routine. 9.35

Sabados (Auburn): Nice FTY, little bit of leg separation but watching her wrap her arms in is very satisfying. 9.85

Lazzari (Florida): Tkachev, toe on with nice open hips to high Pak. FTDB dismount a bit wonky in the air and lands with her chest low and a step. 9.725

All the Florida dismounts are wack today, not totally sure what the problem is.

Stevens (Auburn): Just a full, came into the table at a weird angle, piked down heavily with a hop back. 9.8

Schoenherr (Florida): Toe blind clean to Jaeger, gets her legs back together early which is so satisfying and a trademark of hers. Good bail, blind to double front 1/2 out with flexed feet as usual, tiny hop in place. Only real, good hit Florida has managed so far. 9.825 is low for that.

Watson (Auburn): She’s totally vaulting and Auburn just released wacko lineups yesterday to confuse us. One and a half, bit close to the table and not ready for the landing, big step back and to one side. Gets her arms up and stabilizes herself before things can get too weird.

Thomas (Florida): Maloneu with soft knees in the backswing, solid Pak. Toe on to van Leeuwen good, double layout pretty with a step forward, nothing worrying. 9.875, judges definitely going conservative here.

Gobourne (Auburn): Solid one and a half, shuffles back a little. 9.875

Clapper (Florida): Putting her in the anchor here is hardcore Bridgeying. Blind to pike Jaeger, leg separation on the batch, aaaalmost over the top on her bail but hangs on. Blind full double back stuck. 9.875… okay, you and Thomas are not the same.

Oldham in the bars ex for Auburn, FTY hits the table early and never gets substantial repulsion but landed OK.

Clark up for Florida. She looks nervous and has had a million pep talks. Clear hip to Gienger, major leg sep, pretty double lay with a big step forward.

After 1: Auburn 49.100, Florida 49.050

Some dismount jitters for Florida there, and Cassie Stevens’ Yurchenko one and a half being missing is something we slightly anticipated but it’s still not great.

There are shirtless guys dancing in the stands wearing face masks. Don’t know how to process this.

Rotation 2

Richards (Florida): Pretty full, flared out with a hop in place. 9.875. Maybe they’re taking the Nia Dennis route of sticking with a FTY that can be excellent all the time.

Sumner (Auburn) Toe on, muscley with leg separation, Tkachev, Pak with just a little leg split. Missed a handstand, double layout decent with a small step back. 9.75

Lazzari (Florida): Another very pretty FTY with super clean leg form and a little hop back. 9.9!

Smith (Auburn): Toe to Maloney with leg separation, Pak, casts up short and jumps off. Starting again, toe to Maloney with same form to good Pak, cast 1/2 and gets it this time. Double lay with good leg form but deep with a big step forward. 9.15

Skaggs (Florida): Little leg sep on the table but very high FTY, stuck dead. 9.9

Sabados (Auburn): Ray, loses tension majorly on the catch, OK bail. Double layout with weird leg form and a hop back. 9.75 is generous.

Schoenherr (Florida): Good 1.5, a little lock-legged but gets it back under control with just a little hop back. 9.875

Stevens (Auburn): Great first handstand, leg form on her Tkachev, solid bail. Her double lay is basically the only fully rotated one we’ve seen all day with just a scoot of the right foot.

Reed (Florida): Bit of knees and a million miles of distance in her 1.5, little scoot forward. Looks thrilled. 9.9

Brusch (Auburn): Toe on to Maloney to bail, flexed feet throughout, another nice double layout with a step back. 9.825

Thomas (Florida): Lovely 1.5, stuck dead. Getting major ten chants. 9.975 awwwww…

Gobourne: Shy on the first handstand, nice high Tkachev. I got a bit distracted figuring out whether Thomas got a 10 or not. Huge, huge FTDB dismount stuck. 9.9 means she’s the vault champion for the day.

In exhibitions, a fall on a Tkachev for Meredith Sylvia and a decent FTY for Alyssa Baumann.

After 2: Florida 98.600, Auburn 98.100

49.550 on vault for Florida is a very serious score for January. Focusing on strong Yurchenko full landings is a good play, especially early in the season.

There were enough bars dismount aberrations from both teams that I legitimately wonder if there was something wrong with the setup of the bars. The last couple Auburn gymnasts got the hang of things, but it was bizarre for a while.

Rotation 3

Watson (Auburn): BHS LOSO with a bit of leg form, cat leap side aerial with a minor check, steps in front with her trailing foot. Switch split 1/2, mildly short of position, one and a half dismount with a little hop. Solid start. 9.775

Clapper (Florida): Double back, overpowered and out of bounds, one and a half front lay archy. Switch side Popa, double pike a bit low and slightly shuffly landing. 9.7

Brusch (Auburn): Front aerial to split, BHS LOSO. Switch back tuck, missed her split badly, and a good landing on a gainer full off the side.

Richards (Florida): Double layout, lunge a bit on the long side and fidgets the front foot but just about keeps it down. One and a half to front lay very floaty, solid leaps, double tuck with chest slightly down and takes the lunge forwards.

Sylvia (Auburn): Full turn, she has a loooong choreo sequence to settle in before she starts skills. Front aerial BHS BHS, very clean and controlled, FELL ON HER KORBUT, sorry Meredith but that was hilarious. Cartwheel gainer full. 9.35

Johnson-Scharpf (Florida): Double Arabian with a hop forward. Very involvedchoreography and executing it well. 1.5 front lay a little overpowered but dances out, she just murdered a few teammates on the sidelines, switch half to straddle 1/1 Shushunova. Double tuck, hop in place.

Gobourne (Auburn): BHS LOSO, bit of an adjustment, another shift on her full turn. Cat leap side aerial, messy with a hip break, beat jump switch side with questionable position. Nice high double full dismount with a hop. 9.725

Baumann (Florida): Hugely high double back but controls the landing really well. One and a half front full, dances out slightly awkwardly, switch half Popa is actively beautiful. Usually people just survive that combination. Double pike, rolls straight onto her back. Oopsie. Saddest gator chomp ever. 9.225
McLaughlin (Auburn): BHS LOSO, pretty and confident. Switch straddle 1/4, side aerial to split, slightly iffy connection. Gainer pike with a hop forward. That’s an awesome, clean routine. 9.825 is conservative.
Reed (Florida): Double layout, solid landing. Nice solid combo pass, slightly iffy positions on her leaps. Good double pike. She’s good at keeping a handle on landings that come in with a lot of momentum. 9.925
Stevens (Auburn): BHS LOSO, touch of knees, cat leap switch ring with what looked like a low front leg. Skip leg kickover front to knees, the Stevens!! with a bit of a check down there. One and a half twist with a hop back. 9.825
Thomas (Florida): Double layout with the scoot back that we see a lot from her. Front full, front lay, split leap and just about manages to handle the speed without jumping forward. Solid double pike, lots of height. 9.95
Didn’t catch all the exhibitions but I love Piper Smith’s needle scale.

After 3: Florida 197.900, Auburn 197.075

Florida a bit shaky on floor, and I expect changes to some of these lineups over the next few weeks, but if things stay under control on beam this will still be a robust score. Little things here and there for Auburn shouldn’t distract from the fact that the Tigers have hit an awful lot of routines today and have a chance to enter the week one rankings above Georgia (at 196.100).

Rotation 4

Richards (Florida): Triple series beautiful, switch to straddle. Side aerial back full. Seriously, was that the whole routine? Can’t complain if she hit it. 9.875

Hollingsworth (Auburn): Bit low on the full out but survived. Front through double back, lands with her heel on the line and lunges in place to avoid an OOB. 9.75

Johnson-Scharpf (Florida): Punch front, hop, BHS LOSO with a lean, switch half a little short of position. Handstand step out to BHS back full with a hop. 9.9

Watson (Auburn): Double pike, clean landing. Good combo pass, chest mildly down on her double back but works through it. Not bad for a gymnast who was only expected to compete bars. 9.85

Lazzari (Florida): BHS BHS LOSO easy and controlled. Switch split, slightly relaxed front foot, front aerial with a little check. Side aerial back full stuck. 9.95!

Sabados (Auburn): I think that was a front double full punch front, I got distracted by the most crossed legs I’ve ever seen from a college gymnast. Underrotated the punch front and fell backwards.

Clapper (Florida): BHS LOSO LOSO with leg form and a hip break. Switch split, side aerial back full stuck. These routines are genuinely super short which is probably smart. 9.8

Stevens (Auburn): Layout to Rudi with a bit of leg form, switch ring switch 1/2, really well-landed double tuck.

Baumann (Florida): BHS LOSO, looks immensely concentrated, switch split excellent. Not smiling, this is business beam. Tiny check on front aerial, full turn, 1.5 dismount stuck. Excellent. Feels like she needed that for herself after the floor miss. 9.925

Brusch (Auburn): Double back, super satisfying landing, one and a half and runs off the floor grabbing her shoulder. She’s back, switch half Popa, double pike overrotated but she got it to her feet. Unclear of there’s anything going on there besides a random tweak. That’ll be a fairly hefty deduction because she didn’t have a combination pass, which is required. 9.3

Thomas (Florida): Well-positioned here by her teammates. One-arm BHS to LOSO, front aerial to split to Korbut. Side aerial back full, little adjustment. Fairly lukewarm 10 chant there, it’s arguable but I don’t think that’ll be considered a stick. 9.95

Gobourne (Auburn): Open double back, excellent as always, front full front lay so easy in the air. This might be her most fun choreography yet, even with a reduced crowd her energy is excellent. Super clean double pike landing. Huge tumblers like Gobourne often take a few weeks at the beginning of the season to get their landings locked down, but that was SHARP. 9.925. I’d have ranked her above Thomas personally.

Skaggs looking good in a beam exhibition.

FINAL: Florida 197.500, Auburn 195.725

Great start for Florida despite two fairly shaky events. Game on, Oklahoma. 198 should be just around a corner—improving five tenths from today’s mark feels easy for the Gators. The floor lineup in particularly might get a reshuffle, while bars was a matter of good gymnast, bad dismount so next week could be better with no major changes.

Slight disappointment in the last rotation for Auburn, which was on track for a big number through three events before having to count the Brusch miss, but lots of good stuff today and it’s a big relief that Hollingsworth and Watson are in their key events after the bizarre projected lineups from yesterday.

VT: Trinity Thomas (UF) 9.975
UB: Derrian Gobourne (AU) 9.900
BB: Ellie Lazzari, Trinity Thomas (UF) 9.950
FX: Trinity Thomas (UF) 9.950
AA: Trinity Thomas (UF) 39.750

Live blog by Rebecca Scally

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