Gators open 2017 season with road win against N.C. State

Jenny Rowland wasn’t looking for perfection from her team in its first meet of the season on the road at N.C. State.

With three freshmen in the lineup and the rest of her athletes competing for the first time in nine months, the second-year Florida coach knew the Gators were bound to make a few mistakes.

But even with a couple of early missteps, Florida picked up where it left off last season in the NCAA Super Six, posting the second-highest season-opening team total in UF history and defeating the Wolfpack by a final score of 197.100-194.925.

And though Florida was strong overall, it was junior All-American Kennedy Baker who took home the all-around title, posting at least a 9.825 in all four events.

In the first rotation, Alex McMurtry, who was the only gymnast in the country to score multiple 10s on bars in 2016, immediately posted a meet-high score of 9.90 on the event.

Freshman Amelia Hundley kicked off her first collegiate meet with a 9.850, while fellow freshman Maegan Chant struggled on the apparatus, slipping and falling midway through her routine in her debut.

Leading 147.700-146.200 at the halfway point of the meet, Florida continued to extend its lead in the last two rotations.

Baker notched a meet-high floor score of 9.925, while Hundley and sophomore Alicia Boren both earned 9.850s for their routines.

Boren and Hundley placed second and third in the all-around, respectively.

The Gators also swept the Wolfpack in each of the four rotations titles, with Boren collecting the vault and beam titles, McMurtry claiming the bar title and Baker claiming both the floor along with all-around.

Also making debuts as Gators were freshman Rachel Gowey (9.875 on beam), sophomore Lacy Dagen (9.850 on vault) and Eastern Michigan transfer Rachel Slocum (exhibition).

Now the Gators will turn their focus to Friday night, when they open up SEC competition against Kentucky and host their first meet in the newly renovated O’Connell Center.

Contact Lauren Staff at lstaff@alligator.org and follow her on Twitter @lstaff27 .