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Saturday, January 28, 2023
<p>Trinity Thomas</p>

Trinity Thomas

The pressure wasn’t on Trinity Thomas this time.

When she hit the beams as the anchor for the Gators, the decision was already secured.

She could have had a misstep and Florida still would have won comfortably.

But she is Trinity Thomas. Misstep isn’t in her dictionary.

So, the sophomore came out and delivered, just like she always does, landing a perfect score on the beam for the second week in a row.

Thomas’ 10 was the icing on the cake in No. 2 Florida’s dominant 197.875-194.75 win over No. 17 Auburn Friday night at Auburn Arena.

"This one felt so good. I landed that beam dismount and wow.” Thomas said in a release. “That was probably one of the best routines I've done in competition.”

After her 10, Thomas now joins Gators legend and Olympic silver medalist Bridget Sloan as the only gymnasts in program history to get multiple 10s on the beam. Only four Gators have even scored a 10 on beam. Thomas is now also the first in school history to do it in back-to-back weeks.

"It's always a joyful moment to see the athletes has such success and reap the benefits of their hard work,” coach Jenny Rowland said. “Getting a 10 on the last event on the road was special.”

There was no slow start for Florida, as had been seen on Jan. 17 against another Tigers, Missouri.

Starting on the bars, Rowland rolled out the same lineup two weeks in a row, something that she has rarely done this season.

And it paid off.

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Every athlete scored at least a 9.85. UF was led by sophomore Savannah Schoenherr, who is from nearby Columbus, Georgia, and Thomas. Schoenherr scored a 9.9 and Thomas won the bars title (9.95).

“It was the first time I've really seen a strong start collectively from the bars team,” Rowland said. “They did a great job setting the tone and getting the momentum going.”

On the vault, Rowland made one slight change, sitting junior Alyssa Baumann after she scored a 9.8 in the tri-meet, and replacing her with Sierra Alexander.

The senior returned to the vault lineup and didn’t miss a beat, topping with a 9.875, equaling her career high.

The vault title went to freshman Payton Richards. She set a new vault collegiate best (9.95) and won the vault for the second time in three weeks. Richards also took second in all-around (39.50), just behind Thomas.

Halfway through the meet, UF already had a comfortable lead over AU (2-4, 2-4 SEC), 98.775-98.225, after some early mishaps from the Tigers, scoring below a 49.15 in both exercises.

The lead only grew when Florida moved to the floor. Three Gators scored at least a 9.9, senior Amelia Hundley, sophomore Sydney Johnson-Scharpf and Thomas, who won the floor title with an outcome of 9.95.

For Johnson-Scharpf, this is her second stellar week on the floor after finishing with a 9.925 last week.

One of the constants for UF this season is the beam is where it thrives and that held true Friday night.

It finished with a 49.625 total, good enough for third best in school history. The Gators have now scored a 49.5 or better on the beam in four straight meets. The last time that happened was in 2013, when they won the national championship.

All five scores were at least 9.875. Sophomore Leah Clapper tied her career high (9.875), and three finished with a score of 9.925 or higher, Baumann (9.925), senior Rachel Gowey (9.95) and Thomas with the perfect score.

While Florida was excelling, Auburn was falling behind even more, finishing below a 48.5 in the beam and floor exercise.

Thomas’ three wins tonight put her career total for titles at 46, 12th on the all-time list for UF. Her all-around score (39.775) is the nation’s third highest this season and almost half of the country’s top 12 all-around scores belong to the sophomore.

"I want to keep pushing. I'm not done yet and want to do so much more,” Thomas said. “I'm excited about what comes next."

The Gators’ score of 197.975 equaled their total from last week and is the fifth best in the nation so far. Four of the 10 best scores in the country belong to the orange and blue.

"This team was on fire – absolutely,” Thomas said. “We just went one after another doing great and hyping each other up. It was a lot of positive energy and so much fun."

Follow Noah on Twitter @Noah_ram1 and contact him at nram@alligator.org.

Trinity Thomas

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Noah Ram

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.


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