If this conference rivalry is the “World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party” in football, tonight’s gymnastics edition should be just as extravagant. The party in the O’Dome has the chance to be spoiled by the upstart Gymdogs, who’ve been off to a stronger start than most expected. Beating Kentucky at home last week was a strong start, but the Gymdogs have a lot of work to do to make a name for themselves in the SEC again. Tonight is a huge test.
Look for exciting performances in the all around tonight. Freshman Naya Howard has cracked all four lineups in each meet of the season and scored well; last week’s 39.475 beat Leanne Wong’s total that same evening. Trinity Thomas’s status notwithstanding (she rested on floor the first week of the season, and missed the event in several early meets last year too), Howard and Wong will have to watch out for Kayla DiCello on all four. The Gator freshman has been slightly underrated, but has transitioned to college remarkably.
Florida’s early 2023 scores haven’t quite reached the level to warrant the need to mention this yet, but just for reference: the Gators’ program record is a 198.775, set at the Auburn regional final last year. The Gators’ home record is a 198.425.
ROTATION 1: Florida vault, Georgia bars
Edwards VT: 9.825
Cashman UB: 9.775
Richards VT: 9.850
Angeny UB: 9.825
DiCello VT: 9.875
Howard UB: 9.900
Wong VT: 9.875
Scott UB: 9.825
Thomas: y.15 lovely in the air sticks it, 10.000!
Finnegan UB: 9.900
Dreams and Nightmares is perfect for that.
Blakely VT: Y1.5 looks good in the air but legs buckle, she stumbles back on the landing. Just stumbled out of it.
de Jong UB: lovely Maloney in the air, DLO a little pikey on the second flip but sticks.
AFTER 1: Florida 49.425, Georgia 49.225
ROTATION 2: Florida bars, Georgia vault
de Jong VT: not the highest off the tablet, small hop back. 9.825
Richards UB: archy Maloney, good on the bail, nice last handstand, DLO chest down and takes a hop forward. 9.775
Finnegan VT: full, a little more distance, hop back. 9.825
Blakely UB: Pak nice position, back up to the high bar, short last handstand, deep squat and holds the stick. 9.925
Elsadesk: struggles for a MINUTE to hold that stick after her full, looks like she does but a lot of arm waving to do so. 9.725
Nguyen UB: Beautifu llines, legs come apart on the pak, great last handstand, DLO little shuffle back. Really nice. 9.800
Cashman VT: She’s gone for a Y.15 but throws the full tonight, little step back, legs crossed in the air. 9.825
DiCello UB: big Tkatchev catches a little close, nice position on Pak, VL back up, full-in seems like a stick but steps back. This crowd really SCREAMS no matter what though. The energy is off the chain. 9.900
Howard VT: flares and sticks her full
Thomas UB: Gonna blow the roof off this place. Maloney to pak with usual shape, VL back up, sticks DLO. 40 watch baby. 10.000 from one judge but 9.975 and the boos are deafeninggggg.
Hawthorne VT: first 1.5 of the lineup, steps forward. 9.850
Wong UB: Maloney to Pak, lovely handstand on low bar into VL, winding up for dismount and stick. Maybe that’s a 10.000. They go 9.975 again. I feel like I’m back in Philly for a sporting event with the boos.
AFTER 2: Florida 99.000, Georgia 98.550
Georgia putting up a strong showing on the road. The Gymdogs don’t have the 10.000 starts of the tops (at least at this point in the season) but made up for it with clean vaults and mostly nice landings. The air went out of the balloon a little for Florida after the two (I know) 9.975s to end, but that’s not to overshadow the huge 99 the Gators have put up thus far. Let’s see how happy it gets from here.
ROTATION 3: Florida beam, Georgia floor
Blakely BB: Clean series. Gainer full off the side, sticks it. Let’s get the sticks going. 9.900
King FX: Floor music is “like a G6” we are back in the frats of the early 2000s, everyone. front full to front tuck some soft knees. Straddle leap combo good position, flexed feet on the next leap combo, back 1.5 to front lay. 9.825
Richards BB: BHS LOSO no hesitation, switch leap not quite 180, nice flexibility on straddle, BHS to back 1.5, a little step forward. 9.875
Williams FX: Double pike chest up, queen imagery with the crown lifting choreo, front lay to front full, double tuck chest up. 9.850
Lazzari BB: triple series some bent legs on BHS but nails it like usual, leaps excellent 180 positions and extended, front aerial slight check, back 1.5 steps off to the side. 9.875
Cashman FX: back 1.5 front full, leaps clean and great extension, double tuck high, chest up on the landing. Everyone running out to the floor and giving the 10 hands for that. Hmm. 9.900
Nguyen BB: She’s the second Gator to have SZA beam music. Didn’t think I’d be feeling emo after the hard rap in between rotations. Pretty Onodi to BHS to start. Y turn to full turn, split leap, back 1.5 tiny step forward. 9.900 and 9.800 split for 9.850.
Howard FX: front tuck to double back, chest up. She is bringing it with the facial expressions. High double pike, chest down. Not sure if the fading out of the music at the end was intentional but that felt anticlimactic. 9.825
DiCello BB: the crowd is lit for the candle mount, double wolf turn, leap combo solid no checks, front aerial, sticks gainer full off the side.
de Jong FX: Rudi to BHS, back triple full takes a few steps out, looks OOB, recovers goes back right into the end. 9.625
Wong BB: leaps the usual, BHS LOSO slight check, aerial slight check, sticks back full. 9.925
Hawthorne FX: double pike chest up, usual facial expressions, back 1.5 big split leap out of it. 9.725
AFTER 3: Florida 148.475, Georgia 147.675
Florida more than pulled away with that. The Gators didn’t get as many of the sticks they would have wanted, but looked decently clean otherwise. Georgia was decent on floor but gave a lot away in the back half of the lineup. Time for home floor.
ROTATION 4: Florida floor, Georgia beam
Howard BB: BHS LOSO, switch half check, back full looks like a stick. 9.750
Brubach FX: rudi good, extended 180 leaps, double tuck controlled step. 9.825
Hawthorne BB: clean series, front toss to wolf, no hesitation on full turn, deep squat on back 1.5 and steps forward. 9.825
Nguyen FX: beautiful double front to split leap, throws her head back on the ring, nice last pass. Such a change of pace but great. 9.925
Deniz BB: side aerial to BHS the tiniest check, front aerial to beat, another check on split leap, tuck gainer full a little chaotic but holds stick. 9.900
Baumann FX: back 1.5 to front full, straddle leaps great extension, controlled double pike to close. 9.875
Moran BB: side aerial to BHS slight check, back 1.5 squats and steps forward. 9.700
Wong FX: super deep landing on Dos Santos and dances out of it, back 1.5 to front full. 9.875
Scott BB: Sad country theme now. And that’s appropriate for the routine bc she falls, grabs beam and falls under. FHS to front full sticks. Gets lots of applause. 9.100.
Thomas FX: Screams. Beautiful DLO, maybe leaps a tad short, back 1.5 front lay, will be big anyway probably. 9.925
de Jong BB: straddle, front aerial beat, series is on, back 1.5 small hop forward. 9.900
Blakley FX: Double arabian great landing, ring to switch leap, back 1.5 to front tuck way out of bounds, steps several steps off the mat. 9.550
FINAL: Florida 197.900, Georgia 196.850
Georgia has not cracked 197 on the road since 2020, and the Gymdogs failed to do it tonight. There were bright moments, but it was definitely a downgrade from last week’s outing. Florida has yet to get that elusive 198, but getting this close before February is something…for just about everyone but Florida, who will want more.
Vault: Thomas 10.000
Bars: Thomas and Wong 9.975
Beam: Wong 9.925
Floor: Nguyen and Thomas 9.925
AA: Wong 39.650
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Live blog by Katherine Weaver
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