Gators gymnastics shoots for NCAA title

Florida advances to Saturday's team final
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Posted at 4:12 PM, Apr 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-16 18:08:28-04

FORT WORTH, TX — The #1 Florida women's gymnastics team earned a spot in the four-team national championship with a second-place finish in Friday's semifinal.

The Gators rebounded from a shaky start to join Michigan in the final round. They'll face the top two finishers from tonight's second semifinal tomorrow night in Fort Worth, TX.

Head coach Jenny Rowland says she's impressed with the way this team has stuck together through an unprecedented season.

"This team has done a great job of picking each other up, reassuring each other, and really motivating each other to continue to strive to be the best that they can be," Rowland said via Zoom.

Despite the fact that it's a team sport, each Gator gymnast has their own routines when it comes to competition. Junior Nya Reed says the team's success is built on everyone being themselves. She described herself as "hyped," but she has a music selection for all occasions.

"If I need to calm down, if I’m really anxious that day, I’ll listen to R & B," Reed said. "If I need to be pumped up, or I’m too relaxed, I listen to hip hop."

She also has a secret snack she carries in her backpack at all times.

"I’m big on Laffy Taffy," Reed joked. "I take them out of my drawstring bag. Before I go to floor or vault I’ll eat a banana or green Laffy Taffy."

Junior Savannah Schoenherr finds her snacks in the trainer's bag.

"During a meet, I’ll eat like two packs of the Gatorade chew dummies, just to keep me going," she explained "I’ll finish a vault rotation and be a little dizzy and need a little fuel. So I’ll have some chews and I’m good to go."

Having two meets in two days is a grind, but Schoenherr says it's all worth it if it means earning a championship.

"We want to leave it all out on the floor and have no regrets after this weekend," she said. "Whatever it takes, we’re just going to do our best."

The NCAA team final begins tomorrow at 3:30 P.M. on ABC.