January 31, 2023

It’s time to feast again! No. 2 Gators hosts No. 17 Georgia for Friday’s sold-out meetup at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center.

Photo of: Michael Erdelyi

No. 2 Florida returns to a packed Exactech Arena to host longtime rival Georgia. On Friday it starts early, the action starts at 5:45 p.m

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — No. 2 Florida wraps up the action in January by hosting No. 17 Georgia — the only UF team to meet every year in the program’s 51-year history. It’s Alumni Night, with many Gator gymnasts from the past to cheer for the 2023 team.

The meeting begins at 5:45 p.m. in the sold-out Exactech Arena at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center. Gates open at 4:30pm

Gators aim for an undefeated SEC record

All Southeastern Conference teams competed against every league team in the 1992 regular season.

With last Friday’s win in Alabama, Florida now shares the SEC record for unbeaten regular-season streaks. Another win or draw would give UF the record.










strand school started Completed
24-0 Georgia 01/19/92 vs. LSU 3/1/96 @ Alabama
23-0-1 Georgia 01/20/06 against Arkansas 01/15/10 @ Alabama
23-0-1 Florida 3/1/19 @ Arkansas electricity
19-0-1 Georgia 01/19/97 against Florida 3/4/00 @ Alabama
19-0 Georgia 1/25/02 @Auburn 2/4/05 against Florida
17-0 LSU 2/19/16 vs. Auburn 01/11/19 @Auburn

Florida’s last regular-season loss? February 22, 2019 against Georgia.

Arrive early to cheer on your alligators

Be in your seat at the Exactech Arena by 5:45 p.m. to watch the floor projection show leading into the Gators entrance to the SEC opener. Get ready to elevate your phone with Gator Lights during ground projection.

Here are some tips to expedite your trip to Exactech Arena on Friday:

Getting to the arena:

  • Season parkers may enter the O’Connell Center car park on Lemerand Drive OR SW 2nd Avenue.
  • Public parking is available in the O’Connell Center car park, subject to availability. If you want to park in the garage, you have to enter the SW 2 car parknd Avenue.
  • A complimentary Park Shuttle sponsored by Auto ER will transport fans from Garage 109 (on the corner of Archer Road and Lemerand Drive) to the O’Connell Center. The park shuttle starts at 4:00 PM. Park map for Gator Gymnastics.
  • Use the Waze app to provide the best route to the parking lot shuttle.
  • Check the parking availability tracker to see your options in real time.
  • Lemerand Drive will be closed to northbound and southbound traffic for 5-10 minutes after Gator Gymnastics meetings university avenue to Stadium Street Provide pedestrians with a safe exit.
  • For more information see Meet Guide 2023

GET INTO THE ARENA:

  • Tickets for the Florida-Georgia meeting are sold out. Check the Official Gator Ticket Exchange to buy tickets other fans can’t use on Friday.
  • Gates 1 and 2 will be open at every gymnastics event. UF students should enter at Gate 3.
  • All Gator Athletics tickets are mobile. Visit the Mobile Ticketing Guide to expedite your entry into the arena. To help you get through the entrance, be sure to add your tickets to your digital wallet in case of connection issues outside the gate. Then have tickets ready on the device to present for scanning.

  • Bags will be checked before entering the building. Everyone will go through the O’Connell Center’s metal detectors upon entering. When using the metal detectors Fans must empty their bags before the screening and then go through the detector. After that, the tickets will be scanned and you can cheer on your alligators!

Actions on Friday:

  • Gators Perfect 10.0 Socks – The first 1,200 fans will receive a pair of Gators Gymnastics socks – just like the Gators wear!
  • Let’s talk about free food taco! Free tacos for the first 200 UF students in the Gate 3 line, starting at 3:30 p.m
  • BEAT Georgia accessoriesBEAT Georgia buttons for UF students, compliments of the UF Alumni Association
  • Gate 1 freebiesBe sure to pick up the 2023 Gators Gymnastics Season Poster, Schedule Magnet, and 10.0 Fan Cards as you enter at O’Connell Center Gate 1.
  • Park shuttle promotion Take the parking lot shuttle and win a $25 Alumni Hall gift card and a free oil change courtesy of Auto ER. The winner will be recognized prior to meeting on the competition floor. Different winners at each home meet – just another benefit of the park shuttle!
  • kids corner At the practice grounds near Gate 4, kids can get a free t-shirt, temporary tattoos, play games, create posters, take a photo in the SEC Championship Trophy photo booth, meet the mascots and dazzlers, and more!

How to follow the alligators:

Follow the action live:

  • SEC Network – Action called by Olympic medalists Bart Conner, Kathy Johnson-Clarke and Taylor Davis
  • live results

Last week:

Florida capitalized on a solid showing at its first street meet in 2023 to claim 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 Di Cello (39.50) and Leanne Wong (39.45). Thomas also shared her third straight 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 claim sole possession of the balance beam title. Both the bar and beam wins were the first fixture titles for DiCello. It was Florida’s third consecutive doubles win in Tuscaloosa and only their fourth overall since UF won its first doubles win in Tuscaloosa in 1979.

Georgia set its season-best performance last Friday with a 197,225-196,575 win over then-No. 9 Kentucky to open the league’s home game. Newcomer Naya Howard won the all-around (39.475) and vault (9.90). Kate Finnegan grabbed the parallel bars win (9.9) while teammates Haley De Jong and Soraya Hawthorne shared the floor title at 9.925. Hawthorne was named SEC Specialist of the Week following her performance against UK.

Trio of SEC Weekly Honorees

Attending Friday’s meeting are two who have received weekly SEC awards – Soraya Hawthorne (Specialist) from Georgia and UFs Kayla Di Cello (Student in the first year).

Last meeting:

The last time these two longtime rivals met, Florida opened SEC street action in 2022 with a 196.975-194.475 win in Georgia. Team victory was coupled with team defeat, like Gators Ellie Lazzari and Halley Taylor were lost for the season with Achilles tendon tears. Two Gator returners won event titles. Trinity Thomas and Leanne Wong shared the win on uneven bars at 9.975. Thomas also won beams (9.95). Now gator Rachel Baumann used Georgia’s first 10.0 since 2019 to win the floor.

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