No. 2 Gators Meet No. 17 Georgia for Alumni Night


Time to chomp again! No. 2 Gators play host to No. 17 Georgia for Friday’s sold-out meet at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center.

Photo By: Michael Erdelyi

No. 2 Florida returns to a sold-out Exactech Arena to play host to long-time rival Georgia. It’s an early start on Friday, with action starting at 5:45 p.m.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – No. 2 Florida closes January action by playing host to No. 17 Georgia – the only team UF’s met every year of the program’s 51-season history. It is Alumni Night, with many Gator gymnasts from the past back to cheer the 2023 team.
 
The meet starts at 5:45 p.m. in the sold-out Exactech Arena at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center. Gates open at 4:30 p.m.
 
Gators Look to Set SEC Unbeaten Record
All Southeastern Conference teams began facing each league team in regular-season action in 1992.
 
With its win at Alabama last Friday, Florida now shares the SEC regular-season unbeaten streak record. One more win or tie would give UF the record.
 










Streak School Started Ended
24-0 Georgia 1/19/92 vs LSU 3/1/96 @ Alabama
23-0-1 Georgia 1/20/06 vs Arkansas 1/15/10 @ Alabama
23-0-1 Florida 3/1/19 @ Arkansas current
19-0-1 Georgia 1/19/97 vs Florida 3/4/00 @ Alabama
19-0 Georgia 1/25/02 @Auburn 2/4/05 vs Florida
17-0 LSU 2/19/16 vs Auburn 1/11/19 @ Auburn

 
Florida’s last regular-season loss? February 22, 2019 versus Georgia.
 
Arrive Early to Cheer Your Gators
Be in your Exactech Arena seat by 5:45 p.m. to take in the floor projection show which leads into the Gators entrance for the SEC opener. Get ready to raise your phone with Gator Lights during the floor projection.
 
Here’s some tips to expedite your trip to the Exactech Arena Friday:
 
Getting TO the Arena:

  • Season parking holders can enter the O’Connell Center lot off Lemerand Drive OR SW 2nd Avenue.
  • A complimentary parking shuttle sponsored by Auto ER transports fans from which originates at Garage 109 (located at corner of Archer Road and Lemerand Drive to the O’Connell Center. The parking shuttle begins at 4 p.m. Parking map for Gator Gymnastics.
  • Use the Waze app to provide the best route to parking shuttle.
  • Check the Parking Lot Availability Tracker to see your options in real time.
  • Public parking is very limited at the O’Connell Center parking garage on first-come basis. Those wishing to park in the garage must enter lot off SW 2nd Avenue.
  • For 5-10 minutes following Gator gymnastics meets, Lemerand Drive will close for north and south bound traffic from University Avenue to Stadium Road to provide pedestrians a safe exit.
  • More information at 2023 Meet Guide

 
Getting IN the Arena:

  • Tickets are sold out for Florida vs Georgia meet. Check the Official Gator TicketExchange to purchase tickets other fans can’t use Friday.
  • Gates 1 and 2 will be open for each gymnastics meet. UF students should enter at Gate 3.
  • All Gator Athletics tickets are mobile. Visit Mobile Ticketing Guide to help expediate your entrance into the arena. To help zip through the entrance, be sure to add your tickets to your digital wallet in case of possible connectivity issues outside the gate. Then have tickets up on device to present for scanning.

  • Bags are checked before entering the building. Everyone will go through the O’Connell Center metal detectors when entering. When using the metal detectors fans need to empty their pockets prior to screening, then walk through the detector. After that, tickets will be scanned and then you are ready to cheer your Gators!

 
Friday’s Promotions:

  • Gators Perfect 10.0 Socks – First 1,200 fans get a pair of Gators Gymnastics socks – just like what the Gators wear!
  • Let’s Taco About Free Food! Free tacos for first 200 UF students in Gate 3 line, beginning at 3:30 p.m.
  • BEAT Georgia AccessoriesBEAT Georgia buttons for UF students, compliments of UF Alumni Association
  • Gate 1 GiveawaysBe sure to pick up 2023 Gators Gymnastics season poster, schedule magnet and 10.0 fan cards when you enter at O’Connell Center Gate 1.
  • Parking Shuttle Promo Take the parking shuttle and get a chance to win a $25 Alumni Hall gift card and a free oil change courtesy of Auto ER. Winner recognized pre-meet on the competition floor pre-meet. Different winner each home meet – just another advantage of the parking shuttle!
  • Kid’s Corner Located on the Practice Courts near Gate 4, kids can get a free t-shirt, temporary tattoos, play games, make posters, get a shot taken in the SEC Championship Trophy photo booth, meet the mascots & Dazzlers and more!

 
How to Follow the Gators:
Follow the action live:

  • SEC Network – action called by Olympic medalists Bart Conner, Kathy Johnson-Clarke plus Taylor Davis
  • Live scores

 
Last Week:
Florida used a solid performance in its first road meet of 2023 to take a 197.325 – 196.45 win at then No. 11 Alabama. A Gator took at least a share of every event title, including an all-around sweep by Trinity Thomas (39.65), Kayla DiCello (39.50) and Leanne Wong (39.45). Thomas also shared her third consecutive vault win (9.90) with Alabama’s Jordyn Paradise and her second straight floor title with the Tides Luisa Blanco (9.95). Thomas and DiCello shared the uneven bars title at 9.925. DiCello used the same mark (9.925) to take sole possession the balance beam title. Both the bars and beam wins were the first apparatus titles for DiCello. It was Florida’s third consecutive dual win in Tuscaloosa and just the fourth overall since UF took its first dual win in Tuscaloosa in 1979.
 
Georgia set its season best to open league home action last Friday with a 197.225 – 196.575 win over then No. 9 Kentucky. Freshman Naya Howard won the all-around (39.475) and vault (9.90). Kate Finnegan took the bars win (9.9) while teammates Haley De Jong and Soraya Hawthorne shared the floor title at 9.925. Hawthorne claimed the SEC Specialist of the Week honor after her performance versus UK.
 
Pair of SEC Weekly Honorees
Friday’s meet includes two who picked up SEC weekly awards – Georgia’s Soraya Hawthorne (Specialist) and UF’s Kayla DiCello (Freshman).
 
Last Meeting:
The last time these two long-time rivals met, Florida opened 2022 SEC road action with a 196.975 – 194.475 win at Georgia. The team win was coupled with a team loss, as Gators Ellie Lazzari and Halley Taylor were lost for the season with Achilles tendon tears. Two Gator returners won events titles.  Trinity Thomas and Leanne Wong shared the uneven bars win at 9.975. Thomas also won beam (9.95). Now Gator Rachel Baumann used Georgia’s first 10.0 since 2019 to win floor.
 

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