By Jim Harvin, Correspondent
The wait has been a trying one for Trinity Thomas.
The All-American sophomore came into Friday’s gymnastics meet with 10 – count ’em – 10 marks of near-perfect 9.975.
But never that elusive 10.
That is, until her uneven bars routine in a big dual-meet win over LSU.
“I never really know,” Thomas said. “I knew it was really good and when I landed my teammates ran so fast they almost knocked me over. I was like ‘okay, maybe it was really good.’ But I was really excited about it and they were so sweet. It was great.”
As a freshman last season, Thomas led UF with 26 total titles (nine floor; six all-around, bars; three vault, two beam), earning selection as the 2019 SEC Freshman of the Year en route to five All-America honors.
She went on to earn her fourth consecutive U.S. Senior National Team berth and was named the U. S. Gymnastics Sportswoman of the Year while becoming just the fifth athlete in history to earn a Senior National Team spot after competing earlier at the NCAA Championships.
She’s picked up right where she left off, recording four titles (all-around, bars, beam and floor) in UF’s season-opening win over Arkansas en route to scoring a 39.70 that set the mark for the best season-opening all-around score in Florida annals.
She added two more wins (beam and floor) the next week at Missouri, then added three more Friday (bars, floor and all-around), highlighted by her first 10 and topped by her collegiate-best 39.775 all-around mark that is the third-highest score of 2020 and is tied for No. 9 all-time at UF.
“I was super excited, but I think my teammates were even more excited than me,” Thomas noted. “I was like ‘let’s get to beam, let’s finish this meet, let’s go.’ It was easy for me to celebrate and then be like ‘okay next event.’ It was good.”
Thomas almost did it again on the floor exercise, but ended up scoring a 9.975, as she only got a 10 from one of the two judges.
The good thing is now she can stop counting.
Thomas credited the sellout Exactech Arena crowd of 9,332 – the third-largest since the O’Connell Center renovation – with sparking her strong performance.
“This crowd really brought it tonight,” she said. “When they said my name before I went up on an event it was like the O-Dome was shaking. It was so cool. That got me really excited, really pumped up.”
UF coach Jenny Rowland was understandably pleased.
“Everyone was definitely hyped, but the team knew it was time to focus,” Rowland said. “That was our challenge this week in practice to stay contained within our team and continuing to move forward. We worked on one thing at a time and did not dwell on the past. It was time to celebrate, then take a step and continue to move forward.”