Florida Gymnastics Tops Kentucky to Earn Fourth Straight Regular Season SEC Title

It was a top-10 gymnastics match up in Lexington, Kentucky on Friday as the Wildcats hosted the Florida Gators. Trinity Thomas took the all-around title as the Gators got the win 197.575-197.350 to clinch at least a share of the SEC regular-season title for the fourth year in a row.

Trouble Early

Florida started the night on the uneven bars while the Wildcats went to the vault.

Kentucky hit big to open up the competition. Freshman Jillian Procasky stuck her vault and got the Wildcats rolling. She got a career-high 9.900 which was the first of three career-highs for Kentucky on the event. Senior Ariana Patterson led the way on the apparatus with a 9.950 to push Kentucky to a season-high 49.450 on vault.

Florida avoided any major mistakes but a series of small deductions put the Gators behind after the first rotation. The Gators failed to put up a score above 9.900. Megan Skaggs and Savannah Schoenherr led the way with a 9.850.  Florida trailed 49.450-49.150.

Leap a Little Closer

Florida put their opening rotation behind them as they moved to the vault.

The Gators started the event with three straight 9.900 scores. Florida finished the apparatus with a career-high 9.925 from freshman Sloane Blakely. The Gators inched a little closer with a 49.525 in their second rotation.  Kentucky managed to add two scores above 9.900 on the uneven bars. Juniors Raena Worley and Shealyn Luksik each added 9.925s. It was a career-high for Luksik on the event as the Wildcats put up a 49.400.

The Gators closed the gap, but Kentucky remained ahead by 0.175 halfway through the competition.

Fantastic on Floor

Down 98.850-98.675, Florida moved to their signature event.

Seniors Trinity Thomas and Nya Reed are ranked number one and number two respectively on the floor exercise, and showed exactly why. Thomas put up her fifth floor-exercise 10.0 of her career while Reed earned a 9.950. It was Reed’s 19th straight floor routine with a score above 9.925.

https://twitter.com/SECNetwork/status/1494830151120658433?s=20&t=MGgBIdSmnCwBnepGFhQUNQ

Kentucky faltered on the balance beam.

The Wildcats opened up the apparatus with a 9.675 and a 9.725. The relatively low scores put pressure on the rest of the lineup to hit their routine. Kentucky was unable to get a score above 9.900 and put up 49.125 on the event.

Florida moved ahead by a minuscule 0.050 points going into the final rotation. The Gators led 148.025-147.975.

The Pressure is On

For the second week in a row, it all came down to the final rotation for the Gators, this time on the road. Florida moved to the balance beam where they ranked number one in the country and Kentucky took to the floor.

It was a tough start for Kentucky on the floor as junior Ashlyn LaClair fell on one of her passes and received a 9.075. Skaggs and Blakely immediately put the Gators in a positive position as they were given 9.950 and 9.925, respectively.

Thomas closed off her night with a near-perfect 9.975 that not only got her the all-around win but secured the Gators their fifth conference win of the season and their fourth straight SEC regular-season title.

Florida locked up the win 197.575-197.350.

https://twitter.com/GatorsGym/status/1494845168050184196?s=20&t=r7V_eZUyiZKUyB7q_iLwSg

Individual Wins

Patterson won the vault competition with a 9.950. Luksik and Worley tied on the uneven bars at 9.925. Thomas walked away with beam (9.975) and floor (10.00) wins, on top of her all-around victory.

Up next, the Gators will host the number three Oklahoma Sooners and Kentucky will travel to Auburn to face Sunisa Lee and the Tigers.

About Christopher Will

Chris Will is a second-year journalism student with a focus in sports and media. Originally from the Fort Lauderdale area, Will is now the beat reporter for Florida Gymnastics and covers all things sports in Gainesville.

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