The Gators’ gymnastics team earned second place in the 2023 National Collegiate Athletic Association Championships.
Graduate student Trinity Thomas came back with a bang; she secured a 10 on vault in her second meet back from injury. This perfect score gave her an NCAA record-tying 28 perfect 10s in her college career.
Thomas’ ten wasn’t enough, however, as the Gators bowed out to Oklahoma, the eventual champion.
The No. 2 Florida Gators (29-5, 6-1 SEC) finished second in the National Final with a score of 198.2375. The Oklahoma Sooners (25-2, 3-0 Big 12) finished in first with a 198.3875. The Utah Utes (12-3, 5-2 PAC-12) and Louisiana State Tigers (8-5, 4-3 SEC) finished third and fourth with scores of 197.9375 and 197.5250, respectively.
The Gators got off to a strong start on beam when sophomore Sloane Blakely scored a 9.90.
Florida picked up some momentum with a great score by sophomore Riley McCusker. Her 9.9375 was her second highest beam score of 2023. Junior Victoria Nguyen ended the rotation with a 9.875, her collegiate beam best in the anchor position.
The Gators finished the first rotation in front with a 49.525 beam score — UF’s highest ever in NCAA Final competition.
Florida stayed strong as it moved to the floor. Graduate student Rachel Baumann started the Gators off with a 9.90. Freshman Kayla DiCello also put up a strong 9.90 in the event. Sophomore Leanne Wong jumped out of bounds, which resulted in a deduction.
Florida earned a score of 49.250 in the second rotation, which trailed only Oklahoma.
The Gators showed up on the vault. Wong started the rotation with a score of 9.9125. Thomas then earned her 28th perfect 10 in the final vault of her collegiate career.
The Gators finished the third rotation with a 49.5750 vault score to cut UF’s deficit to the Sooners to just 0.1875.
Florida held its head high going into the final rotation: uneven bars. Blakely led off and earned a score of 9.9250.
DiCello earned Florida’s second-highest uneven bar mark in NCAA Final competition with a score of 9.9750. All six Gators competing secured scores of 9.90 or better as UF made one final push for the title.
Thomas ended her college gymnastics career with a 9.9125 on uneven bars.
Florida finished strong with a 49.7125 uneven bars score. The score wasn’t enough; the Sooners continued their stellar performance on the floor to win their second straight national championship.
Florida gymnastics’ season is now officially over. The Gators finished second in the country for the second season in a row.
Contact Jori Rzepecki at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @jorirzepecki.
Jori Rzepecki is a first-year journalism major and the Gymnastics reporter for The Alligator. In her free time, she enjoys binge-watching television shows and reading books.