Special to Gatorsports.com
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The Florida gymnastics team continued the Gators’ domination in SEC championship competition.
The No. 3 Gators (6-1) won sole possession of the SEC regular-season title, the 11th in UF history, when they outscored No. 20 Arkansas 197.225-196.350 inside Barnhill Arena on Friday. Auburn also entered the night with a 5-1 league record, but lost to Alabama.
“This team has done an amazing job of coming together as one,” UF coach Jenny Rowland said. “This is pretty much a brand-new team from last year as we have six freshman. Really proud of how everyone has handled themselves in competition situations, in practice and supporting each other.
“This was a wonderful way to end our SEC regular-season competition. I couldn’t be more excited for this team.”
Florida led the meet from the opening rotation. A Gator claimed at least a share of every event title, all with marks of 9.925.
Trinity Thomas led Florida on its opening event, uneven bars. Fellow freshman Savannah Schoenherr was second with her 9.90. Senior Alicia Boren anchored the Gators’ vault lineup with her winning mark.
Boren and Thomas shared the evening’s floor title with Arkansas’ Sophia Carter and Sydney McGlone. Florida closed the meet on beam, led by Boren’s winning 9.925.
After equaling her season-best of 39.625, Boren claimed her second all-around win of the season. Thomas was runner-up at 39.55.
“I thought the performance tonight was good,” Rowland said. “It was a great start on bars – very aggressive. I was really happy to see this team start off on a really strong note. We had a little dip on vault as the nerves seemed to creep in a little bit, but they handled themselves well. We picked it up on floor and set the tone to finish the meet strong.
“This team showed heart and passion tonight. We left tenths out there on the floor tonight but it is really great to see them finish strong.”
Friday’s win gives UF three SEC championships in six days. The Florida men won the SEC Indoor Track and Field championship and the SEC Swimming and Diving championship last Saturday. Florida athletics leads all league programs with 243 SEC team titles.
This is the third year for the awarding of a regular-season SEC gymnastics title. From 1981-2016, the winner at the SEC Championships was considered the league champion. LSU claimed the first two SEC regular-season titles (2017, 2018).
The Gators will compete for the SEC Gymnastics Championship on March 23 at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans.
2019 home action concludes for Florida when it plays host to Penn State on Friday. Meet time is 6:45 p.m. in the Exactech Arena at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center. It will be Senior Night and Boren and Amanda Cheney will be honored in a post-match ceremony.