Florida star gymnast Trinity Thomas' balance beam routine last Friday started off perfectly.
The standout junior recorded four 10s in the past as a Gator with half of her perfect scores occurring on beam. It’s her strongest event.
But she fell midway through her performance against Georgia, and the O’Connell Center collectively gasped at what they witnessed. Her mishap with gravity dropped her score to 9.250.
Her fall carried over into the next exercise, the floor, where she had another uncharacteristic mistake and stepped out of bounds on her final tumbling pass, resulting in a score of 9.800.
Neither mistake cost the Gators as the remaining roster stepped up and cruised to a 197.250-196.075 victory over the then-No. 7 Bulldogs. But Florida needs Thomas to right the ship against the No. 8 Razorbacks in Fayetteville, Arkansas, Friday.
Fellow junior Nya Reed believes Thomas’ performance won’t turn into a snowball effect.
“She’s not worried about her having an off day or anything like that,” Reed said. “I think Trinity’s more happy that she has her teammates to be able to pick her up no matter what.”
Reed clocked in another solid performance against the Bulldogs last Friday. Her best performance came on floor, where it left the orange and blue faithful calling for a perfect score. She still earned a 9.975, a career-best, propelling her to become SEC Specialist of the Week for the second-consecutive week.
While she’s still searching for her first career 10, she said she’s delighted that her hard work is paying off.
Since Florida returned to campus this fall, Reed has become a great leader and role model for the team, coach Jenny Rowland said.
“She’s really putting in the work day in and day out here in the gym,” she said. “It’s been really great to see her soar on all levels.”
Florida, as a team, is still surging. According to Road to Nationals, it’s ranked No. 1 in the country on the vault and beam exercise and No. 5 on floor. But the Gators are still vulnerable on the uneven bars, where they rank 12th.
Florida scored a 49.050 on Jan. 8 against No.18 Auburn. Rowland chalked up the drop to first meet jitters. The squad later recorded a 49.225 against Georgia.
But to Rowland, they’re capable of more. She said the team could have had better landings.
“We see in the gym that landings are there, that consistency is getting there,” she said. “Really, it’s just settling down, trusting your gymnastics and not trying too hard.”
The Gators will take on the Razorbacks at 8 p.m. The meet can be streamed on SEC Network+.
Contact Zachary Huber at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @zacharyahuber