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Thursday, December 01, 2022

Thomas is brilliant as Gators gymnastics advances to Auburn Regional Final

Trinity Thomas earned her Season Slam and Florida posted the only score higher than 198 in Thursday night's win

Freshman Sloane Blakely and the No. 2 Gators gymnastics squad advanced to the Auburn Regional Final Thursday night.
Freshman Sloane Blakely and the No. 2 Gators gymnastics squad advanced to the Auburn Regional Final Thursday night.

It’s hard enough to score a single 10, but one perfect score on the night wasn’t enough for Florida senior Trinity Thomas. 

She was unstoppable in session two of the Auburn Regional Thursday night at Neville Arena and carried the No. 2 Gators to a 198.125 victory. 

Thomas flew through the sky as she attacked her tumbling passes and nailed the front-full to front layout in her final tumbling pass on floor. She was awarded her fourth 10 on floor this season. 

As she glided from the low to high bar, hit her handstands and stuck the landing, Thomas earned her second 10 of the night. With this score, she completed her 2022 Season Slam. 

Thomas now leads the nation with eight 10’s this season. She holds one on both bars and beam, two on vault and four on floor. 

“I just try to remember my training,” Thomas said. “I do it every day in the gym and I just try to be normal.” 

Florida opened the night on floor, posting 49.700 making it the third-highest team score in the event this season. 

Graduate student Megan Skaggs led off with a 9.925, a score she’d share with Alyssa Baumann. Freshmen Leanne Wong and Sloane Blakely finished the rotation with a 9.950 and 9.900 respectively. 

Florida has room to improve its vault performance come Saturday. 

Senior Savannah Schoenherr had an unexpected fall on her landing, giving her a lowly 9.300 the Gators would later drop.

Blakley was set to close out the event but was subbed out at the last minute for sophomore Chloi Clark. She was ready for her name to be called though, earning a 9.800.

The Gators pulled away from their competition substantially in the third rotation on bars. Skaggs stuck a huge double layout earning her a 9.925, a score Wong would later match. 

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Heading into the final rotation, UF led both No. 15 Denver and No. 17 Ohio State by .825 and No. 28 Iowa State by a full point. It became a battle for the last spot in the finale between the Pioneers and Buckeyes.

Florida finished the night on beam where every score was 9.900 or better. 

Blakely attacked her back layout-full dismount to stick it and equal her collegiate-best 9.950. Wong showcased her flexibility before sticking a double twist giving her a 9.925, and Thomas was near perfect scoring a 9.975. 

"I think we're still climbing," Thomas said. "I don't even think this was our best tonight... I'm just excited to see where we go."

The Gators ran away with the win. Denver was the closest opponent and still ended the night trailing Florida by 1.05. 

Denver and Ohio State were tied at the end of rotation three as they competed for the last spot in Saturday's final. 

Ohio State secured a season-best team score of 49.300 on vault, while Denver had a season-high 49.450 on floor. However, Denver was able to best the Buckeyes to move on with a 197.075. 

Iowa State finished with its best regional score in program history, 196.725. The Cyclones also earned their highest bars score of the season, 49.275, led by redshirt junior Makayla Maxwell’s 9.875. 

Florida’s standout senior Nya Reed experienced heel pain in warm-ups and did not compete as a protective measure. 

“Awesome job by the Gators today,” Rowland said. “A lot of confidence that this team could take away from today and use again.”

UF advances to the Regional Final Saturday at 6 p.m. and will face Denver, as well as SEC opponents No. 7 Auburn and No. 10 Kentucky.

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

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