It is starting to become a tradition for the fans who trek to the O’Connell Center every other Friday night to watch the Florida gymnastics team.
Seeing Florida star Trinity Thomas receive the most elusive score in gymnastics: The vaunted 10.
Thomas’ 10 on the beam was the icing on the cake for the Gators in their win over Denver and Iowa State. In its first tri-meet since 2012, No. 2 Florida (197.875) ended up winning comfortably, defeating No. 4 Denver by over half a point (197.250) and No. 20 Iowa State by over a point (196.800).
Thomas picked up her first career 10 two weeks ago in UF’s record-breaking win over LSU. This came after she had scored a 9.975, the best you can get outside a perfect score, 10 times.
When asked if she felt like this exercise was better than others, her answer was very similar to what she said after the LSU meet.
“I think in the end it’s always the judge’s decision,” the sophomore said. “I thought it was a good beam routine and it feels great to get a 10 again.”
The tri-meet represented a unique situation for the Gators. During the four rotations, all three teams were doing an exercise. So, when Florida was on the vault, Denver (10-2) was on the bars and ISU (4-5) was on the beam. It may have created a confusing state for the 8,323 in attendance, but for coach Jenny Rowland, it was good prep for the team for when it reaches NCAAs.
“It’s a great warmup for the postseason,” Rowland said. “The pace is a little different, so you don’t have as much time to have that distraction, but you can still hear it.”
Rowland said she prepared the team for those distractions.
“That was our challenge for the team tonight,” she said. “I told them there was going to be a lot going on tonight and to really immerse themselves in the team.”
Florida kicked off, as is custom, on the vault. The highlight from that exercise was the return of junior Jazmyn Foberg. She got her first start of the season in place of senior Sierra Alexander and performed well, scoring a 9.85.
“She’s (Jazmyn) been through a lot over the last year and a half,” Rowland said. “Really happy to see her step up, go out on the competition floor and have a lot of success.”
After that first exercise, UF held a tight lead over the Cyclones and the Pioneers. The vault title would eventually go to Denver senior Maddie Karr, who recovered from her poor bar score (9.375) to score a 10.
The Gators score improved when they moved to the bars. Sophomore Savannah Schoenerr was the anchor for UF and won her first career bars title with a score of 9.950.
“It was really fun tonight,” Schoenerr said. “Just working on the tiniest details in the gym that I sometimes don’t even think about.”
As has become the norm this season for Florida, it excelled on the beam. Its beam score (49.6) was the second highest this season, behind its score of 49.675 two weeks ago against the Tigers.
The 10 by Thomas was the feather in the cap for the squad but it had impressive scores before then, led by freshman Payton Richards’ 9.95, four Gators scored a 9.9 or above.
Thomas’ perfect score was the sixth on the beam in school history, and she was the fifth gymnast to score a 10 in the country in beams this season.
Thanks to one more 9.975 from Thomas and another 9.975 from junior Alyssa Baumann, UF equaled its beam score on the floor to finish off the meet.
Despite the topflight scores from Thomas and Baumann, Rowland felt like the two deserved a perfect score to complete a perfect night.
“If I’m disappointed, it’s for the athletes,” Rowland said. “It just gives them (the gymnasts) a little extra push, and that’s a little extra push to be more normal and continue to work hard.”
The Gators are now 6-0 on the season, with all six wins coming against teams ranked in the Road to Nationals top 25. Three of the five highest overall scores in the nation this season have come from the orange and blue.
“We had a little bit of adversity, some illnesses, throughout the week,” Rowland said. “However, they did a good job of stepping up in order to have each other’s back”
Follow Noah on Twitter @Noah_ram1 and contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Noah is a third year journalism-sports and media student from Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. He has been with The Alligator since Spring 2019 and has covered men’s and women’s tennis, gymnastics and volleyball. When he isn’t on his beat, Noah is usually sadden over his beloved South Florida sports teams, such as the Heat and Dolphins.