The North Carolina gymnastics team fell to No. 3 Florida 194.300-197.325 in its home opener in Carmichael on Friday night.
The meet drew a large crowd with a significant amount of Florida supporters giving the gym a highlight of orange. The Tar Heels’ first event of the night was the vault where they did well, notching a score of 48.375, but it wasn’t enough to overtake Florida. North Carolina’s strongest event was the uneven bars with a career best 9.800 from Mekyllah Williams contributing to a team score of 48.925. Despite the loss, the Tar Heels proved themselves to be strong competitors against a powerful Florida team.
Who stood out?
The unofficial crowd favorite was Gator Alicia Boren, who executed an outstanding floor routine that included a whip and dab that elicited a roar from the crowd. With impeccable somersaults and clean landings, she took first in floor. Her routine also tied teammate Alex McMurtry’s vault and beam scores for the highest score of the night.
When was it decided?
The Gators came out swinging with a strong performance on the uneven bars, but the second event, vault, proved to be their strongest of the night. Although the Tar Heels were still in striking distance, they were not able to close the gap in the final two events.
Why does it matter?
Florida defeated North Carolina in the Tar Heels' final meet of the 2016 season, so UNC was looking for a different outcome Friday. The team performed well, though, and head coach Derek Galvin said that’s what it was all about. North Carolina wanted to draw confidence and motivation going into the rest of the season.