After opening their season with a quad-meet win over Northern Illinois, Rutgers, and Texas Woman’s College, No. 2 Florida gymnastics met its first true test of the 2022 season against No. 6 Alabama Sunday.
This meet, which was broadcasted on ABC, made history as the first regular-season gymnastics meet to be nationally aired on a broadcast network.
Florida head coach Jenny Rowland’s message to the team before the meet was, “to fight, to be normal, and to be blue,” encouraging her gymnasts to approach the clash with the technique and skills they use during practice.
Hot off a 197.675-193.70 win on Friday, the Gators faced their toughest challenge head-on. Despite the Gators trailing behind in the second and third rotation, they were able to pull off a dramatic comeback of 197.000-196.925 in the final rotation on floor.
Senior Trinity Thomas started off the meet scoring a perfect score of 10 on the vault, completing the Gym Slam. She became the 12th gymnast in history with an NCAA Gym Slam and the third Gator in program history to record a perfect score in all events.
Last season, Thomas injured both her ankles during a pre-meet warm-up on the uneven bars before facing Alabama.
“I am just trying to stay in front of everything and have my body and mindset be the best they can possibly be,” Thomas said about her recovery.
Although Thomas scored a perfect 10 on vault, Florida did not start strong. Senior Savannah Schoenherr scored a 9.625 for not sticking her vault landing.
Entering rotation two, the Gators faltered on the uneven bars and fell behind the Tide 98.475-98.325. Schoenherr did manage to score a redeeming 9.825 after her low vault score.
The Gators took a ruthless hit when Sophomore Ellie Lazzari fell during her beam routine to muster a low 9.175, putting Florida at risk of suffering its first defeat in the season. Although Leanne Wong scored a team-high 9.900 on beam, Alabama managed to gain a 0.375 lead over Florida.
Senior Nya Reed gave Gator Nation hope when she scored her first perfect score on floor with a stellar routine. The senior allowed all of the pressure to fall on Thomas to secure the win.
Thomas, who went last on Florida’s floor rotation, channeled the pressure of needing a 9.950 to edge out the win over Alabama. With a breathtaking performance, Thomas earned her second 10 of the night. The Gators finished with a meet-high 49.575 rotation score on floor. Perfection led Florida to a gutsy 197.000-196.925 victory.
Senior Megan Skaggs recorded a 39.525 to close the meet and earn her second All-Around title.
After this momentous win, Florida will move on to meet with No. 15 Georgia on Jan. 21. The SEC Network will broadcast the matchup
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