Second round win sends Gators to regional final

12 days ago
SEC Network

Photo: Florida Gymnastics

AUBURN, Ala. – Florida gymnastics is moving ahead to NCAA Regional final action after winning Thursday’s second session at Auburn’s Neville Arena.

The Gators’ 198.125 was the day’s top total across both of the Auburn Regional’s second round sessions. Florida now joins Auburn (197.50), Denver (197.075) and Kentucky (197.75) for Saturday’s NCAA Regional Final. The top two teams in Saturday’s competition advance to the NCAA Championships, set for April 14-16 in Ft. Worth, Texas.

Tonight’s Meet:

A blind draw determined the competition order for today’s regional competition. Top-seeded Florida opened the meet with its third-highest floor total of the season, 49.70. That strong start was fueled by five scores of 9.9 or better, including Trinity Thomas’ 10.0. Marks of 9.90 by Thomas and 9.85 from Skaggs topped UF’s vaulters Thursday.

Four marks of 9.925 or better, including Thomas’ 10.0, tallied a 49.65 on uneven bars – Florida’s second-highest of 2022. That 10.0 completed Thomas’ Season Slam for a 10.0 on every event in 2022.

Florida closed with a 49.675 on balance beam – just off its 2022 high of 49.70. Again, Thomas led UF with her near-perfect 9.975. Freshman Sloane Blakely equaled her collegiate-best (9.95) and Skaggs and Leanne Wong each earned 9.925.

Thomas’ two 10.0s and near perfection on beam buoyed her all-around total to 39.875. That total replaces the 39.85 by she and teammate Leanne Wong for the nation’s high for 2022. Skaggs was fourth overall in the all-around (39.625) and Wong was fifth (39.60).

Senior All-American Nya Reed was experiencing some heel pain during pre-meet warm-up and was held out of Thursday’s competition as a protective measure.

INDIVIDUAL SEASON SLAM:

With her uneven bars 10.0 tonight, Trinity Thomas finished her Season Slam with a 10.0 on each apparatus. Thomas has eight 10.0s in 2022 – floor (4), vault (2), bars & beam (1 each).

She is the first in the 50 years of Florida Gymnastics with a Season Slam. Her 16 perfect marks is Florida’s career leader.

The last gymnast with a Season Slam was UCLA’s Kyla Ross in 2019. Of the 12 all-time with a Gym Slam (10 on each apparatus in career), Thomas is now the eighth with a Season Slam.

EVENT WINNERS:

Scores are combined from both NCAA Second Round sessions to determine event winners:

Vault: Raena Worley, UK & Elexis Edwards, OSU 9.95 Bars: Trinity Thomas, Florida 10.0

Beam: Trinity Thomas, UF & Sunisa Lee, AU 9.975

Floor: Trinity Thomas, UF 10.0

AA: Trinity Thomas, UF 39.875

GATOR PERFORMANCE NOTES:

  • Florida has six 2022 team totals starting with 198 – a school record. The previous high was five in 2014.
  • Event totals for balance beam (49.675) and floor exercise (49.70) set Florida highs in NCAA Regional competition
  • A Gator has won all-around in 11 of UF’s 12 meets this season. Thomas has five wins, Wong (3), Skaggs (2) and Blakely (1)
  • Thomas’ all-around total of 39.875 is just a tick off her Florida record of 39.90 set at LSU in 2021. The four highest all-around totals in school history include Thomas’ name: 1. 39.90; 2. 39.875; No. T3 39.85 and No. T5 39.825
  • Thomas four wins tonight extends her Gator Career Events Record total to 103.
  • Tonight’s victory moves Thomas up to a tie with Gator Great Melissa Miller at 23 for third all-time on the Gators Career All-Around Wins chart.
  • Collegiate bests tonight: Sloane Blakely 9.95 (beam) Trinity Thomas: 10.0 (floor and bars)

COACH ROWLAND SAID:

“Gators are still dancing. Great night tonight for the Gators. Had some substitutions as Nya (Reed) was out so we had some new players in today. The Gators just had a really solid start on floor. One routine at a time did a fantastic job. Moving on to vault, had some uncharacteristic vaults going on but Gators kept fighting. On bars, they got their momentum back. It was great – just one hit routine after another. Gators did just fantastic job closing on beam. They were focused and committed to the details all the way through to the end so really proud of them.

“Now we have a day off. Looking forward to that so team can recharge, reset and get ready for Saturday.” – Florida Head Coach Jenny Rowland

On Trinity Thomas’ performance:

“Amazing job – Trinity just put everything together tonight. And she knows that there’s still more in the tank. So awesome to see her have that success and look forward to seeing her compete a few more times this season.” – Florida Head Coach Jenny Rowland

UP NEXT:

NCAA Regional Finals are contested in four sites across the nation on April 2. The top two teams in each regional final advance to the April 14-16 NCAA Championships in Ft. Worth, Texas.

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