No. 2 Gator gymnasts win at No. 12 Kentucky

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Florida gymnast Trinity Thomas performs on the beam Friday against LSU at Exactech Arena. [Brad McClenny/Staff photographer]

Special to Gatorsports.com
LEXINGTON, Ky. – No.  2 Florida remains as the only undefeated Southeastern Conference gymnastics team Friday after its win at No. 12 Kentucky, a 197.80-196.60 decisionin front of 4,412 at the Memorial Coliseum.

Florida’s total is its second-highest of the season and stands as the nation’s fourth-highest of 2020. Florida leads the series over UK (5-2, 2-1 SEC.) 88-1.

This team has really put in the work and the effort as they made a commitment to do whatever they can,” UF coach Jenny Rowland said. “To say that they are undefeated at this point – well I think it is only going to get better.”

Florida sophomore Trinity Thomas won four event titles Friday – uneven bars (9.925), balance beam (9.95), floor exercise (9.95) and all-around (39.725). Freshman Payton Richards completed the Gators sweep of the event titles by claiming her first Gator win (vault – 9.925).

Florida (4-0, 4-0 SEC) led the meet from the opening rotation after posting a 49.375 on uneven bars. On the next rotation, three Gators set or equaled collegiate vault bests, as Florida posted its season-high of 49.475. After Richards’ winning mark, Megan Skaggs and Savannah Schoenherr also turned in collegiate vault bests of 9.90 Friday.

Thomas made it four-for-four for 2020 floor wins Friday. Junior Alyssa Baumann shared second on floor with UK’s Mollie Korth at 9.925. Florida finished with its high team total of the evening (49.50) on beam. After Thomas’ winning mark, three Gators shared second at 9.90 – Baumann, Rachel Gowey and Sydney Johnson-Scharpf.

“When we talked after the meet, shared a few thoughts with the team. Warm-ups were not normal, however I was super-proud of how they performed when their name was called,” Rowland said. “They remained calm and performed what they show every day in practice. Everyone did a phenomenal job of doing what they know how to do. We came away with a great score and still know that we left a lot out there on the floor.

“I’m so proud of the growth they’ve shown over the last three meets. That is something we’ve worked really hard on – taking something from each meet and trying to get better. Their intent of focusing solely on the team was there tonight. They controlled the controllables and really that’s all we can ask.”

One Gator wasn’t with the team Friday. Sophomore Nya Reed is ill and didn’t make the trip to Lexington for Friday’s meet. The Gators look forward to her returning to the team after she recovers.

GATOR PERFORMANCE NOTES:

*Trinity Thomas raised her career event titles total to 39 tonight with wins on bars (9.925), beam (9.95), floor (9.95) and all-around (39.725). Her all-around total equals the nation’s sixth-highest of 2020.
*Junior Megan Skaggs opened the vault rotation by setting her collegiate best of 9.90 (previous high: 9.875).
*Five marks tonight equaled or set collegiate bests:
*Sydney Johnson-Scharpf – 9.875 (floor)
*Payton Richard – 9.925 (vault), 9.90 (beam)
*Megan Skaggs – 9.90 (vault)
*Savannah Schoenherr – 9.90 (vault)

Up Next
It’s a triangular featuring three top-20 teams – No. 2 Florida, No. 5 Denver and No. 16 Iowa State at 6:45 p.m. Feb. 7 at Exactech Arena at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center.