Top-ranked Florida gymnasts advance to NCAA Championship final

Special to Gatorsports.com
Florida's Trinity Thomas performs on the beam in Friday's NCAA Championships semifinal in Fort Worth, Texas.

Top-ranked Florida advanced to Saturday's NCAA Gymnastics Championship after placing second in Friday's first semifinal in Fort Worth, Texas.

The Gators finished behind Michigan, as the top two teams advance to Saturday's 3:30 p.m. final four. Oklahoma and Utah advanced from the second semifinals Friday night, when Alabama and LSU were eliminated. Cal and Minnesota finished third and fourth, respectively, and were eliminated earlier.

Final results from Friday: Michigan 197.8625, Florida 197.4375, California, 197.3625, Minnesota, 197.1875.

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Michigan's Sierra Brooks was the top scorer in the Balance Beam, Floor Exercise and All Around, while Cal's Maya Bordas won the Uneven Parallel Bars and Ona Loper of Minnesota was top scorer on the Vault.

Florida's Trinity Thomas competes in the floor exercise Friday during the NCAA women's gymnastics championships in Fort Worth, Texas.

The Gators showed there is potential to add to today's team score in Saturday's final, as several tenths were left on the competition floor.

Florida opened on uneven bars and the bounces on landings kept the score down. Senior Megan Skaggs' 9.8875 shared seventh in the semifinal and earned her All-America second-team honors.

Florida was steely on balance beam, as the final five performers hit their routines after the Gators' opening performer recorded a miss. Junior Trinity Thomas' 9.9125 led the Gators and tied for fifth to earn All-America second team accolades.

All of Florida's floor scores used toward its meet-high 49.5875 total were a 9.90 or better. It was a three-way tie at 9.925 for top Gator floor score honors – senior Alyssa Baumann and juniors Nya Reed and Thomas. They all picked up All-America second team honors for floor.

Florida needed a solid performance on its finishing event, vault, to claim an advancing position. A couple of low landings added a bit to the day's drama, but the Gators completed the rotation with its goal in hand — an advancing position to Saturday's team final. Reed's 9.90 tied for second overall and earned All-America first team accolades. Skaggs shared fifth at 9.875 to also claim All-America second-team honors.

Skaggs and Thomas both claimed All-America second-team honors in the all-around. Thomas took fifth in the opening semifinal at 39.5625 and Skaggs was seventh at 39.55.

Notes: Florida advances to its 17th NCAA team final. Florida won NCAA team titles in 2013, 2014 and 2015. … Thomas, the nation's top-ranked all-arounder, was making her first all-around appearance since the home finale Feb. 26 — a span of 49 days. An ankle sprain while warming up on uneven bars at Alabama for the regular-season finale has limited Thomas to just uneven bars at the SEC Championships meet and NCAA Regionals. … As the runner-up team in Semifinal I, Florida opens final competition on balance beam.

Individual champions were crowned Friday night:

Vault: Haleigh Bryant (LSU), Anastasia Webb (Oklahoma)

Uneven bars: Maya Bordas (Cal), Maile O'Keefe (Utah)

Balance beams: Luisa Blanco (Alabama)

Floor: Anastasia Webb (Oklahoma), Maile O'Keefe (Utah)

All-around: Anastasia Webb (Oklahoma)

First semifinal: Michigan 197.8625, Florida 197.4375, California, 197.3625, Minnesota, 197.1875

Second semifinal: Oklahoma 198.175, Utah 197.925, LSU 197.750, Alabama 197.575

Saturday, Final, ABC

3:30 p.m.: Florida, Michigan, Oklahoma and Utah

Florida's Megan Skaggs performs in the floor Friday during the NCAA Women's Gymnastics Championships in Fort Worth, Texas.