Florida gymnastics floors Missouri

McMurtry paces Gators' win with 10 on floor exercise

Florida's Alex McMurtry performs her floor routine Friday, February 24 at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center's Exactech Arena in Gainesville.

Brad McClenny/Staff Photographer
Published: Friday, February 24, 2017 at 10:57 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, February 24, 2017 at 10:57 p.m.

The third-ranked Florida gymnastics team was back to its old self Friday night, downing Missouri, 197.90-196.75, before an O'Connell Center crowd of 6,304.

The Gators improved to 7-1 overall and 5-1 in SEC action while dropping the Tigers to 8-7, 1-4.

“Wow, what a great night,” UF coach Jenny Rowland said. “I think our energy level is back to normal, I would say, after last week's competition. We had some really spectacular performances tonight, and I think it's a good step for the rest of the season.”

UF won three of the four events and posted a 1-2 finish in the all-around competition.

Rachel Slocum and Alex McMurtry got things started by tying for first on the vault with identical 9.975s, and freshman Amelia Hundley followed with a winning 9.975 on the uneven bars, just edging teammate Rachel Gowey's 9.95.

Missouri's Britney Ward took first in the balance beam with a 9.95, nipping UF's McMurtry (9.925) and Grace McLaughlin (9.90), but UF swept the floor exercise led by McMurtry's perfect 10.

Hundley and sophomore Alicia Boren shared second with identical 9.95s.

McMurtry, meanwhile, now has a 10 in three of the four events (all but balance beam).

“I wasn't really thinking about what I was doing until I did my chomp,” McMurtry said of her floor routine. “Then I could see all of Gator Nation doing my chomp with me, and that just got me so excited for my last pass. I just knew I could do it, and when I landed my last pass, I was so happy.

“With a 10 and my team around me, it was my favorite moment of the season.”

Hundley was happy as well after posting her career-high all-around score of 39.625 to take her second all-around title.

“I just tried to go up and do the best I could on each event and just focus on the little corrections I've been working on in the gym,” Hundley said. “I think I did that for the most part, but there's still little things here or there. Really I just enjoyed the whole thing, and I was doing it for the team most of all. Having my team behind me the whole time cheering for me, I just had so much fun out there.”

The Gators opened and closed strong, scoring season-high marks of 49.550 on vault to start the meet and later closing things out with a season-high 49.675 on floor.

Next up, UF faces No. 2 LSU on March 5 in Baton Rouge.

“We still have little things here or there to work on, but that's all right,” Rowland said. “That's where we need to be right now. We're not ready to peak. We still have seven more weeks left of gymnastics, so as of right now, I'm really proud of this team.”

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