Special report on the Florida Gators gymnastics team:
AUBURN, Ala. – Big score after big score led to a school-record 198.775 – the third-highest in NCAA history – as No. 2 Florida gymnastics won Saturday’s NCAA Auburn Regional final in front of a Neville Arena crowd of 6,168.
Florida and Auburn advance to the NCAA Championships, set for April 14-16 in Ft. Worth, Texas. This will be Florida’s 38th appearance in the 40-year history of the NCAA Championships.
All the Thursday’s second session winners at each of the nation’s four region sites opened final competition on floor exercise. Senior Trinity Thomas started off her school-record all-around (39.90) with her second consecutive 10.0 on floor. Freshman Leanne Wong, who tallied UF’s second-highest all-around ever (39.875), started her competition with a 9.95.
Both Wong and Thomas posted 10.0s on vault. It was Wong’s first collegiate 10.0 on the event. Thomas now has three vault 10.0s – all in 2022. Senior Nya Reed, who was held out of Thursday’s NCAA Regional second round on a precautionary measure due to heel pain, was back in Florida’s power events Saturday. She earned a 9.90 on floor and a 9.95 for vault.
Florida’s final three uneven bars performers all went 9.95 or better. Both Megan Skaggs and Thomas earned 9.95s and Wong anchored the lineup with a 9.975.
Five consecutive Gators turned in 9.95s as Florida closed the meet with a school-record 49.75 on balance beam – Sloane Blakely, Alyssa Baumann, Wong, Thomas and Leah Clapper.
Thomas’ two 10.0s and two 9.95 added up to a 39.90, equaling her school-record set in 2021 at LSU. It ties for fifth in NCAA history and leads the nation in 2022.
Wong’s 39.875 shares No. 2 with Thomas among the nation’s all-arounders in 2022.
SATURDAY’S EVENT WINNERS:
Vault: 10.0 Leanne Wong, UF, Trinity Thomas, UF
Bars: 9.975 Leanne Wong, UF
Beam: 10.0 Sunisa Lee, Auburn
Floor: 10.0 Trinity Thomas, UF
AA: 39.90 Trinity Thomas, UF
GATOR PERFORMANCE NOTES:
* Gators have claimed 20 Regional wins – 1982, ’84, ’85, ’87, ’97, ’05, ’06, ’07, ’08, ’09, ’10, ’12, ’13, ’14, ’15, ’16, ’17, ’18, ’21, ’22
* The 198.775 is the No. 3 total in NCAA Gymnastics’ 40-year history, trailing only the 198.875 set by both Stanford and UCLA two days apart in the 2004 season.
* Florida’s added two totals to the NCAA all-time high list in 2022: No. 3 198.775 (April 2 at NCAA Regional) and No. T5 198.575 (March 4 at Auburn).
* Florida has seven 2022 team totals starting with 198 – a school record. The previous high was five in 2014.
* Event totals for vault (49.70), uneven bars (49.675) and balance beam (49.75) set Florida highs in NCAA Regional competition.
* Balance beam total of 49.75 is a school record. Twice this season Florida posted its previous beam high of 49.70 (at SEC Championships and vs Arkansas)
* A Gator has won all-around in 12 of UF’s 13 meets this season. Thomas has six wins, Wong (3), Skaggs (2) and Blakely (1)
* Thomas’ all-around total of 39.90 ties for No. 5 all-time in NCAA history. She also posted a 39.90 at LSU in 2021.
* An all-around total of 39.85 or better has been turned in six times across the nation in 2022 – with five of those totals belonging to a Gator.
* 39.90 Trinity Thomas, UF (4-2-22)
* 39.875 Leanne Wong, UF (4-2-22)
* 39.875 Trinity Thomas, UF (3-31-22)
* 39.85 Leanne Wong, UF (3-11-22)
* 39.85 Trinity Thomas, UF (2-25-22)
* 39.85 Jade Carey, Oregon State (3-31-22)
* Thomas three wins tonight extends her Gator Career Events Record total to 106.
* Tonight’s victory moves Thomas into sole possession at 24 for third all-time on the Gators Career All-Around Wins chart.
* Collegiate bests tonight:
* Sloane Blakely 9.95 (beam)
* Megan Skaggs: 9.95 (bars)
* Trinity Thomas: 10.0 (vault and floor), 39.90 (all-around)
* Leanne Wong: 10.0 (vault), 39.875 (all-around)
EXTRA CHOMPS SATURDAY:
After their 7-6 win Saturday at Auburn’s Jane B. Moore Field, the No. 7 Florida softball added some extra Gator chomps in Neville Arena. Florida gymnastics appreciated the extra support from their Gator sisters.
“So grateful and so thankful for the Gator softball team that was here cheering on the Gators. Couldn’t have done it without all your support,” Florida Head Coach Jenny Rowland said. “Beat those Tigers tomorrow!”
COACH ROWLAND SAID:
“Somebody asked me if that [team score] is a record and I said ‘I don’t know if it’s a record but we’re going to Fort Worth!’ Really a phenomenal, phenomenal evening for the Gators. They just keep getting better and better. It was so much fun, not forced – just pure ease. This team’s really built a fabulous foundation. We look forward to celebrating the moment and then getting back in the gym and keep trying to get a little bit better. We’ve got more in the tank.
“The end goal is to get to Fort Worth to have that opportunity to show everybody again what the Gators are all about. And we’re going to continue to take it day by day by day. I know this evening is a great evening that the Gators can lean on and take a lot of confidence from.” – – Florida Head Coach Jenny Rowland
The 40th NCAA Championships are April 14-16 NCAA Championships in Ft. Worth,