LIVE BLOG: No. 3 Florida at No. 6 Auburn

This one should be interesting, folks! Florida has already clinched the regular season championship, but will have to share that title with Auburn if the Tigers can pull off the win. 

Note, Auburn has never beaten Florida. It’s a tall order for sure but not impossible: The Tigers are having a historic season, culminating in last week’s program-best 197.925 at Kentucky. They’ll have the home arena advantage, not to mention the Gymnasties spurring them on.

The stakes are high in the team competition, but the all-around is shaping up to be an all-out battle royale featuring Suni Lee, Trinity Thomas, Sophia Groth, Sloane Blakely, Cassie Stevens, Leanne Wong and Megan Skaggs. All we know for certain is that this is going to be a gritty, hard-fought meet; the team and individual wins are all up for grabs.

You can watch live here and live scoring will (hopefully) be available here

Fun new VELVET throwback leo for Auburn:

Rotation One: Auburn vault, Florida bars

Groth (Aub): Plenty of distance on her Y full, just a slight pike down. Stuck cold. 9.850

Blakely (UF): Kch on low bar, nice. No problems on Maloney to Pak combo. Nice final handstand. Slightly off center on her blind change and some leg sep on her forward giant. Very cowboyed double front, but nicely stuck. 9.900

Stevens (Aub): Ooh! Really well done Y 1.5. Soft knees in the air, but another stick. 

McCusker (UF): Lovely Maloney to Pak. Gets hung up on her toe-on and overdoes her LB handstand, comes off. Pretty VL. Stalder to double tuck, a little labored and lands in a deep squat. 9.225

Hubbard (Aub): Really big air on her Y 1.5. Like Stevens, soft knees in the air and a large hop forward. 9.900

Schoenherr (UF): Gorgeous first kch. Rushes through the handstand on her blind change, but her usual pretty straddled Jaeger. Good position on her bail. Almost goes over on her final handstand but brings it back. High, tight double front half with a weird stutter step on the landing. 9.825

Gobourne (Aub): MASSIVE Y 1.5, very clean in the air. Big hop forward. 9.900

Skaggs (UF): Excellent Tkatchev to Pak. Good position on her final handstand. DLO with her usual leg sep, small finesse on the landing. 9.925

Vault judges are like, “Score differentiation? I don’t know her…” 

Watson (Aub): Underrotated Y 1.5, has to take a large step back. 9.825

Thomas (UF): Lovely Maloney to Pak. Milking every handstand. VL was excellent. High, arched DLO with a small hop back. 9.925

I guess the bars judges aren’t super into score differentiation either! 

Lee (Aub): Well, I’ll be… Suni just did a Lopez (Y half on half off). Some leg sep and arch and a big hop on the landing, but it was a Lopez in the NCAA and that’s cool. 9.875

Wong (UG): Maloney to Pak, gorgeous. Deliberate handstand. VL, great. DLO landed forward and on her toes, steps out quickly. 9.950

AFTER ONE ROTATION: Florida 49.525, Auburn 49.500

That first rotation was pretty much everything we hoped it would be, with both teams throwing down the proverbial gauntlet. Obviously would’ve liked to have seen more separation in the scores, but we know better. 

Objectively, there was probably more to take on Lee’s vault but she deserves a bonus tenth for the sheer audacity. I also kind of love that Auburn isn’t playing it safe but going for the 10.0 SV vaults. 

The Gators did a great job of reining in what could have been a slippery bars rotation. Skaggs continues to be clutch. 

Rotation Two: Auburn bars, Florida vault

Skaggs (UF): BIG Y full. Leg sep in the air, but stuck. 9.950, hmm…

Sabados (Aub): PRetty first handstand. Big Ray, pretty arched on the regrasp. Legs apart on the bail. Beautiful DLO stuck cold. 9.875


Schoenherr (UF): Y 1.5, soft knees in the air but plenty of distance. Lands forward on her toes, steps out quickly. 9.900

Groth (Aub): Lovely first handstand. Ray with great external rotation. Pak, no problems. Slightly late on the giant full to double tuck, tiny scoot back. 9.925

Wong (UF): Yurchenko half on pike half. Opens early and lands with her chest well forward, big step. 9.700

Stevens (Aub): Good first handstand. Another big Ray. Excellent bail, nailed the ahndstand. Whippy DLO, stuck cold. 9.900

Reed (UF): Powerful Y 1.5. Not her best block, so had plenty of distance but not a ton of height. Small hop forward. 9.925

Brusch (Aub): Great handstand and toe-on series. Maloney with slight leg sep to bail, good. Pretty (and high) DLO with a small hop back. 9.875

Blakely (UF): Another massive Y 1.5, soft knees towards the finish and takes a hop forward. Really well done. 9.950

Gobourne (Aub): Enormous Tkatchev. Big leg sep on her Pak but works through it. Slightly shy on her final handstand, but a super high FTDT, stuck. 9.900

Thomas (UF): Y 1.5, stuck. Wow. 10.000

Lee (Aub): Beautiful handstand. Nabs to Pak to VL, gorgeous. Finesses the landing on her FTDT. Excellent routine. 9.950

AFTER TWO ROTATIONS: Florida 99.250, Auburn 99.050

Really couldn’t ask for much more through the first two rotations. Both teams are firing on all cylinders, and it’s just been a pleasure to watch so far. Scoring is generous, but equally so. 

That was hands down Florida’s best vault rotation of the season, capped off by a near-flawless Y full from Bri Edwards in the exhibition spot. Honestly, wouldn’t mind seeing that back in the lineup. 

Apparently, that was Florida’s best vault rotation ever! I believe it.

Similarly, I don’t think Auburn could’ve done much more than what they did on bars. Props to Sabados for such an electric lead-off performance. 

Rotation Three: Auburn beam, Florida floor

Hollingsworth (Aub): Full turn, well done. Bhs loso, rock solid. Switch leap to switch half to beat, good. Split 3/4, no problem. Side aerial to full, stuck. Couldn’t ask for a better lead-off routine! 9.900

Skaggs (UF): Well-controlled double wolf turn. Fhs Rudi to double stag, looked good to me! Switch full series, perfect position. Back 1.5 to a floaty front lay. 9.925

Brusch (Aub): Kicked out full turn. Front aerial to split jump, lovely. Bhs loso, slightest waver. Switch leap to switch side, good. Side gainer full, stuck. 9.925

Richards (UF): Huge DLO to open, leg sep and slight front foot adjustment. And the camera has moved to a mat? Missed her first jump heading into a Popa to wolf full, not sure she quite hit 180. Back 1.5 to front lay, great. She’s pumped. 9.925

Stevens (Aub): Bhs loso, soft knees and feet but very solid. Split jump to double stag to beat, very nice. The Stevens to wolf turn, good. RO back 1.5, stuck! 9.875

Baumann (UF): A slide down to straddle is cool, but not indicative of personality… Back 1.5 to front full, dances out of it. Full L turn, nice. Switch half to Sissone. BIG double pike, small foot slide. 9.925… If you’re keeping tabs, that’s three in a row.

Groth (Aub): Bhs loso bhs, gorgeous. She’s got wonderful extension. Switch leap to switch half, good positions. Full turn, no problem. Floaty front aerial. Side aerial to layout full, stuckish (fell out of it, but covered well). 9.950

Wong (UF): Beautifully done triple twist to open. Gogean to switch full, lovely. That fancy Gator Chomp will never not kill me. Whip half to full to stag got away from her a bit, but kept it in bounds. Fantastic double pike to finish. 

I can’t make this up: Wong got a 9.925.

McLaughlin (Aub): Switch split to bhs loso with a tiny waver, slightest of hesitations in between but should get the connection credited. Beat jump to side aerial. Switch leap to switch side, gorgeous. Piked gainer, stuck. 9.950

Reed (UF): Fabulous DLO, tiny readjustment on her front foot. Fhs lay to Rudi, excellent. Switch half to wolf half, good positions on both. Stuck double pike, takes a controlled lunge after the fact because she can. I’m going to be extremely annoyed if that gets a 9.925. Oh thank god, a 9.975. 

Lee (Aub): Wolf turn, well done. Front aerial to bhs loso, beautiful. Switch leap to switch half, great. Bhs gainer full, stuck. No surprise, it’s a 10.000.

Blakely (UF): Double Arabian, slightly off center in the air and landed deep but stuck. Switch ring to switch half, nicely done. One of the Gymnasties has a giant Jeff Graba head. Tidy double tuck for her second pass. Back 1.5 to front lay, lacked a little control on the landing but covered it well. 10.000? Nope. 

AFTER THREE ROTATIONS: Florida 149.000, Auburn 148.775

The UGA floor judges have apparently arrived just in time for the third rotation! That was legitimately and objectively an excellent floor rotation for the Gators, but nowhere near a 49.750. It’s insulting, frankly. We’ll see if that carries over to the final rotation; I have a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach that it will. 

Another impressive beam rotation for Auburn. A bit high, but nowhere near as egregious as the floor scores. This really is a fantastic lineup from start to finish. 

Rotation Four: Auburn floor, Florida beam 

Skaggs (UF): Wolf turn, lovely (yes, it was). Switch leap to split jump, beautifully done. Bhs loso with a little foot form on the latter. Front aerial, good. Cat leap to switch side. Side aerial to full, stuck. Great lead-off! 9.925, I am SHOCKED. 

Hubbard (Aub): HUGE half in half out, great. Switch side to wolf half, a touch low on the wolf? Angle wasn’t great. Back 1.5 with a some leg sep and a slip, had to tuck her punch lay. Good save, but as tight as this is, they’ll want to drop that. 9.725 and I’m honestly surprised it wasn’t a 9.925. 

Blakely (UF): Front aerial to bhs, small foot adjustment. Switch split to switch half, good. Side somi with a forward lean. Side aerial to full with a scoot back. 9.825

The Gymnasties are booing something. Hubbard’s score maybe? 

Watson (Aub): Big tucked double Arabian with a small hop forward. Back 1.5 to front lay, really nice. Switch side to Popa, great position. Overpowers her double tuck just a bit, rocks back on her heels but salvages the landing. 9.925… No, really. 

Baumann (UF): Bhs loso, excellent. Switch leap to split jump, lovely. Front aerial with a break. Full turn, fine. Side aerial to split jump with a small waver “That was a check, but the judges probably won’t even notice.” Probably not. RO back 1.5, stuck. 9.900

Stevens (Aub): Front lay to a really floaty and secure Rudi. The Stevens. Switch full to a very wonky-in-the-air wolf full. Nailed the final double tuck. OK, do we think the judges will deduct for the wolf issue? I’m guessing it’s a 9.925… I was right. 9.925

Wong (UF): Switch leap to split leap, beautiful. Bhs loso, perfect extension. Full turn, nice. Switch ring, very off but covered well. Front aerial. RO double full with a scoot back. 9.950

Groth (Aub): Fhs double full, great. Switch half to wolf full, high amplitude. Back 1.5 to front lay, she just HANGS in the air. Fhs Rudi, slightly soft knees which I’m sure will be ignored. Big smile for a fabulous performance. 9.975

Thomas (UF): Switch split mount to split. Full turn kicked out. One-armed bhs loso, slight check. Front aerial to beat to Korbut, flawless. Sid aerial to a stuck full. 9.975

Lee (Aub): Nails her opening DLO. Good height on herwitch ring to switch full. Back 1.5 to front full, stuck. In the context of tonight, it’s gotta be a 10, right? Oh my, “only” a 9.975. Offensive. 

Clapper (UF): Gymnasties booing as she mounts because of Suni’s 9.975. Bhs loso loso, very low from the start and she hops off. Switch leap to split jump, solid. Side aerial to full, slight pike and forward chest on the landing. Tough break, but won’t affect Florida’s score. 

Gobourne (Aub): Oh no, her music didn’t start! Flashbacks to LSU… I *think* if she gets a 10, they’ll tie. Stratospheric open double tuck. Big amplitude on her Popa series. Fhs full to front lay, excellent. Double pike, kicked open and stuck. Whatever the score (and I don’t see how they don’t give her a 10), that was a clutch performance. Aaaand she gets it. Honestly, I’m not even mad. That was the best FX of the night. 

AFTER FOUR ROTATIONS: Florida 198.575, Auburn 198.575

So scoring went a little off the rails, which is a shame because that was a hell of a meet! Both teams were exceptional from start to finish, truly; but start mentally preparing now, because postseason is going to be ridiculous. 

This smashes Auburn’s previous program high (set last week) by six tenths, and I’m sure several other records were broken by both teams tonight. However, because they tied Florida instead of winning outright, they will not earn a share of that SEC regular championship. 

VT: Trinity Thomas, 10.000

UB: Leanne Wong, Sunisa Lee, 9.950

BB: Sunisa Lee, 10.000

FX: Skye Blakely, Derrian Gobourne, 10.000

AA: Sunisa Lee, 39.800

FYI, check out these all around scores: 

Megan Skaggs, 39.725

Sophia Groth, 39.700

Cassie Stevens, 39.675

Sloane Blakely, 39.675

Leanne Wong, 39.525

Live blog by Claire Billman

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