Baker's 10 leads Florida over Auburn in Link to Pink meet


Florida's Kennedy Baker performs on the beam during the annual Link To Pink gymnastics meet against Auburn.

(Brad McClenny/The Gainesville Sun)
Published: Friday, January 27, 2017 at 11:01 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 27, 2017 at 11:01 p.m.

Another Link to Pink meet, another smashing success for the Florida gymnastics team.

The third-ranked Gators swept every event in downing 16th-ranked Auburn, 197.70-196.40, before a crowd of 9,108 Friday night at the Exactech Arena that ranked as the sixth-best attendance in program history.

UF (4-0, 2-0 SEC) got wins on the vault from junior Alex McMurtry (9.95), on the uneven bars from freshman Amelia Hundley (9.95), on the balance beam from freshman Rachel Gowey (9.925), and on the floor exercise from junior Kennedy Baker, the final competitor of the evening who put an exclamation point on things with a perfect 10 to cap the meet.

In addition, Hundley took home the first all-around title of her young career with a score of 39.550.

“It was an amazing crowd,” UF coach Jenny Rowland said. “When they brought the energy, the girls really fed off of them.”

McMurtry got things started with her win on vault to kick-start the Gators' effort, and Hundley followed with a win on the uneven bars with her best score on the event to date.

Gowey then followed suit with the best balance beam score of her young career, and Baker put the icing on the cake with her perfect score on floor, just two days shy of the first anniversary of her previous 10 on floor recorded January 29, 2016.

“It felt so good to get a 10,” Baker said.

The all-around win for Hundley, meanwhile, came in just the fourth meet of her career.

“I wasn't expecting that,” Hundley said. “But I'm more happy about the team doing well. I enjoyed the whole experience, and we're only going to go up from here.”

Gowey (39.475) finished second in the all-around while sophomore Alicia Boren (39.425) was third.

To top it all off, Florida's team score was a season-high mark, eclipsing the 197.60 the Gators set two weeks ago in their home opener against Kentucky.

UF also set a season-high mark on the floor with a 49.575 and tied its season-high on bars of 49.475 set against Kentucky.

Auburn slipped to 0-4, 0-3 despite a season-high score of 196.40.

Rowland, who came to UF from Auburn, obviously had mixed emotions.

“It was a great meet,” she said. “I have a special place in my heart for Auburn. Overall, it was a memorable evening.”

Next up, the Gators travel to Tuscaloosa to take on fifth-ranked Alabama next Friday night.

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