Just last week Alex took SEC Gymnast AND Scholar-Athlete of Year, and took the NCAA All Around Champion title last night.
In her first two seasons at Florida, McMurtry played a supporting role behind headliners Kytra Hunter and Bridget Sloan. But with Hunter’s departure after the 2015 season and Sloan’s last year, Rowland envisioned more from McMurtry. Rowland offered two words: “Dream Big.”
“Alex never says no,” Rowland said. “Huge heart. Will carry the team on her shoulders. Will do anything for everybody else. And to see it all come together tonight was so rewarding.”
McMurtry scored 9.9375 on beam, the third-highest score ever for a Gator at the NCAA semifinals, and she added a 9.9500 on uneven bars to share the national title. As for the floor, McMurtry posted a 9.9500, matching the program’s top score in NCAA semifinals action.
Add them all up, and McMurtry’s all-around score of 39.8125 is the highest score in the history of the NCAA semifinals, surpassing the 39.8000 set by Kentucky’s Jenny Hansen in 1995 and equaled by Georgia’s Courtney Kupets in 2009.
“If you could have a microphone on my brain, the thoughts that were going through my head, nothing but confidence,” she said. “The second I had a doubt, you know what, you’re the best. That took me so far.
“It’s been an amazing ride my junior year. There’s been some lows, but this is definitely the highest high.”
“When I stuck my vault, I kind of had that occur to me, ‘hey, I could win this national championship.’ It would keep reoccurring,” she said. “I didn’t know if I should push it out of my head or reach for it. I put it all out there on the floor.”
She immediately reminded Rowland of the preseason conversation when she finished floor and realized she was the all-around national champion ahead of second-place MyKayla Skinner (39.6125) of Utah.
Rowland was overjoyed.
“I got goose bumps, really just seeing everything come together, all her hard work,” Rowland said. “Every detail in her life came together. I was just amazing to see such a special young lady win this.”
Sometimes, big dreams come true.
“It doesn’t feel real yet,” McMurtry said.
Photos of Alex McMurtry