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Thursday, December 01, 2022

No. 4 Gators gymnastics rolls over No. 13 Arkansas in another historic meet

Florida earns nation’s top beam, bar and team scores of the season.

Megan Skaggs performs on the beam in a meet against Kentucky on February 19, 2021.
Megan Skaggs performs on the beam in a meet against Kentucky on February 19, 2021.

Fans flooded the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in a sea of pink Friday night as Florida hosted its 16th annual Link to Pink meet, where school colors were left behind to support the fight against breast cancer.

In another historic meet, No. 4 Florida gymnastics posted the highest score in the nation this season, dominating the No. 13 Arkansas Razorbacks 198.250 to 196.475.

The O’Dome sold out for the second-consecutive meet while the Gators put on a show. Florida recorded nation-high scores on the beam and bar, a 49.700 and 49.725 respectively. Additionally, both scores tied UF program records.  

Florida head coach Jenny Rowland credits the team's resilience when new obstacles are placed in their path.

“We try not to focus on the non-controllables,” said Rowland. “They just really looked nice and calm and confident out there this evening.” 

Trinity Thomas continues to excel  in her routines,  racking up the eleventh perfect 10 of her career and her first on beam since 2020. The senior’s perfection set the standard for the nation. Until Thomas, no other gymnast had scored a 10 on beam this season. She built upon another incredible night by also taking home the highest score on vault, a 9.975. 

“I’m blessed and I work hard in the gym every day,” Thomas said. “I’m just so thankful to have so many people who love me so much and support me.” 

UF’s Leanne Wong became the second freshman in the nation this season to earn an All-Around title. Like Thomas, Wong became a trailblazer. Her perfect 10 on bars was the first this season nationwide, while also being the first perfect score of her collegiate career. 

“One of my goals this year was to get a 10,” Wong said. “I’m happy I accomplished that goal.”

After Ellie Lazzari and Halley Taylor both suffered torn achilles during the road opener against Georgia, Rowland looked to sophomore Chloi Clark to make her collegiate debut on the floor. Clark dazzled under the tense spotlight, scoring a 9.750. 

Thomas, who knows the struggle of being a bystander due to injury, praised Lazzari and Taylor for their support of the team after their seasons came to a premature end. 

“Honestly, we face adversity so much, and unfortunately that was just another thing that we had to face and we have to overcome,” Thomas said. “Now it’s our turn to kind of lift them up and have their backs and keep working for the rest of the season.” 

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Florida is back on the road Feb. 4 to face the Missouri Tigers, who the Gators hold a six-meet win streak over. 

Contact Madeline Lawson at mlawson@alligator.org. Follow her on Twitter @MadsLaws.

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