Last week at Mizzou, Gator sophomore gymnast Trinity Thomas made an uncharacteristic mistake on bars when she went over the wrong way on a handstand. The costly error caused her score to get dropped.
Friday night against eighth ranked LSU in a sold-out O’Connell Center, Thomas more than redeemed herself. In a show of faith to the All-American, head coach Jenny Rowland had Thomas anchor the uneven bars. After nailing the handstands and sticking the landing, the crowd erupted after her score was confirmed; Trinity Thomas received her first career 10.00 and the Gators went on to defeat LSU in front of a packed house in the O’Connell Center.
Thomas and the number two Gators (3-0) beat the Tigers (3-1) by a score of 198.375 to 197.775.
Gators Reaching New Heights
Florida’s 198.375 is the highest score in the country so far this season. Also, their beam total of 49.675 tied the school record.
Several Gators set individual records on the night, too. Nya Reed laid down her collegiate-best 9.900 on vault and 9.950 on beam, Savannah Schoenherr had a career-best 9.975 on bars and Rachel Gowey set a new career-high with a 9.975 on the balance beam.
Along with Thomas, freshman Payton Richards was the only other all-arounder for the Gators. She had no problem with the added events, posting career-bests of 9.925 on vault and 9.900 on beam. Rowland had this to say about her freshman’s impressive performance after the meet, specifically her first college floor routine.
The Tigers Did Not Make It Easy
Despite the season-high score from the Gators, the winner of this meet was not clear from the beginning. After two rotations, it was anyone’s guess as the teams were separated by only .05. The Tigers performed fantastically on vault and bars. British Olympian and LSU senior Ruby Harrold put up a 9.950 and 9.975 in the two events.
— LSU Gymnastics (@LSUgym) January 25, 2020
Reigning SEC Freshman of the Week Kiya Johnson continued her stellar start to collegiate gymnastics, too. She anchored floor with a 9.975 and, almost unbelievably, received the second 10.00 of the night after her beam routine.
The Tigers score of 197.775 was a season-high. But, the Gators just couldn’t be matched performing in front of the third-largest crowd in the school’s gymnastics history.
What’s Next for Florida
The Gators go on the road for their next meet, which is Friday at number 12 Kentucky. The Wildcats are 4-1 on the season.