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Thursday, May 06, 2021

Thomas records two 10s in win versus No. 18 Auburn

Florida clinches at least a share of the 2021 SEC Regular Season Championship.

<p>Freshman Ellie Lazzari performs a routine on the balance bar on Feb. 19 against Kentucky. She was nearly perfect on Friday against Auburn as she posted a 9.975.</p>

Freshman Ellie Lazzari performs a routine on the balance bar on Feb. 19 against Kentucky. She was nearly perfect on Friday against Auburn as she posted a 9.975.

Trinity Thomas flipped and twisted through the air during an electric uneven bars routine that ended in an eruption of applause by fans in attendance. 

The judges at the O’Connell Center awarded Thomas a 10, further igniting the socially distanced 2,109 fans. Ready for an encore, Thomas scored her second perfect score of the night and blew the top off the arena. 

Her two perfect scores in a meet cemented her place in Gators’ lore. She and former Gator Alex McMurtry are the only Florida gymnasts to achieve two 10s in one meet. McMurtry completed the feat versus Oklahoma Jan. 26, 2018.

Thomas said after the meet that it is a blessing to see her name next to McMurtry because she grew up watching her. 

“I’ve been working hard for this and just really cool to see my hard work pay off,” she said.

Thomas carried No. 1 Florida to a 198.275-197.025 victory over No. 18 Auburn Friday in the O’Dome. The Gators also clinched at least a share of the 2021 SEC Regular Season Championship with their victory. No. 7 Alabama needs to defeat the orange and blue March 5 to share the title with the Gators.

Florida looked like it applied glue to the bottom of its feet to start the vault exercise. Seniors Jazmyn Foberg and Megan Skaggs and junior Savannah Schoenherr all scored 9.85 or better for its first three scores. Sophomore Payton Richards then delivered a 9.9 in the anchor spot. 

Florida recorded a 49.45, which is almost a tenth better than its average this season. 

Auburn sophomore Aria Brusch and junior Derrian Gobourne tallied a 9.9. But the Tigers still trailed 49.45-49.325 after the first rotation. 

Florida scored its second-highest total this year due to Thomas’ 10. But Skaggs and senior Alyssa Baumann were critical when they added a 9.925 and 9.9, respectively. 

The Tigers failed to keep up with the Gators because they counted two scores south of 9.8. 

Florida proved why its invincibile on the balance beam versus the Wildcats without junior Sydney Johnson-Scharpf and Thomas, scoring a season-high 49.675. It bolstered its case further Friday. 

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The Gators registered a 49.7 as their team score — the highest in program history. Freshman Ellie Lazzari stole the show with her 9.975. Rowland bear-hugged her and almost lifted her off the ground. 

Junior Leah Clapper wasn’t too shabby, either. She achieved a 9.975 after her first 10 last Friday. 

Auburn stalled on the floor exercise with a team score of 49.175. Florida took a 148.65-147.65 lead into its final rotation. 

The Gators still weren’t finished shattering season-highs versus the Tigers. They recorded a 49.625 with the help of Thomas’ second perfect score. 

Thomas added her second 10 on floor this season and the third of her career on that event. She now holds seven career perfect scores.

Florida set a new season-high team score in the meet, topping 198.150 against LSU with Friday’s 198.275. It’s also the fifth-highest team score in program history. 

The Gators finish out the regular season in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, versus the Crimson Tide next Friday at 8:30 p.m. 

Contact Zachary Huber at zhuber@alligator.org or follow him on Twitter @zacharyahuber.

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