3 takeaways from Florida gymnastics team victory over Arkansas: Trinity Thomas and Leanne Wong score perfect 10s
With Friday night’s victory over No. 13 Arkansas, the Florida gymnastics program not only secured another victory over a ranked SEC opponent, the Gators put the nation on notice.
Against the Razorbacks, No. 4 Florida (6-0, 3-0 SEC) posted the top team total in NCAA Division I gymnastics so far this season, registering a final score of 198.250 to Arkansas’ 196.574 in UF’s Link to Pink meet.
Michigan sat atop the national rankings heading into this week with a top score with 197.950.
Both teams wore pink as a sign of support for the fight against breast cancer. It was UF's second consecutive sellout crowd, with 9,173 fans.
Here are 3 takeaways from Friday night’s meet.
Trinity Thomas again achieves perfection with 10 on beam
Less than two weeks removed from becoming the 12th gymnast in NCAA history to complete the prestigious Gym Slam — a perfect 10.0 in each of the four events — Trinity Thomas had set her sights on new heights.
After leading the way on vault with a 9.975, the senior became the first gymnast in 2022 to score a 10.0 on beam. It marked Thomas’ 11th 10.0 of her career and her third perfect routine already this season.
Though it wasn’t just Thomas impressing the judges on the balance beam.
The Gators compiled a score of 49.700 in the rotation, the nation’s highest beam score this season and another UF program record in a night full of peak performances.
As she’s done throughout her career, Thomas credited her high marks to her routine.
“I’m honestly never complacent, and I always know I can do a little better. I work my butt off in the gym, and I get mad when I mess up even the smallest things, so I am probably my biggest critic,” Thomas said. “I work hard in the gym everyday, and I couldn’t do it without my support system, and I’m just so lucky to have so many people who love me so much and support me.”
Leanne Wong posts perfect 10 on bars
Freshman Leanne Wong is still getting used to the fatigue that comes with competing on a weekly basis. But if the first month of her collegiate career was any indication, Wong may be in for an illustrious tenure in the orange and blue.
Wong took home the first all-around title of her UF career in Friday’s meet with a staggering 39.625. A week after scoring a nation-leading 9.975 on the uneven bars in Florida’s win at Georgia, Wong scored a perfect 10.0 in the rotation against Arkansas, while simultaneously helping the Gators secure the nation’s highest score on bars with a 49.725. It marked the first 10.0 in Wong’s competitive gymnastics career.
In the next rotation, Wong would register another career-high, scoring a 9.925 on beam.
It may still be incredibly early into her collegiate career, but Wong is already making her presence felt on a talent-heavy Florida team.
“I really didn’t know what to expect, just competing every single week,” Wong said. “Just from the beginning, I didn’t think, like ‘I need to get a 10, I need to get a 10.’ I just had to focus on what I need to do to get a 10.”
Chloi Clark’s moment
Sophomore all-around Chloi Clark competed just once during her first season in Gainesville — in the team’s preseason exhibition Jan. 8, 2021, against Auburn.
She scored a 9.70 on uneven bars, and that was it. Clark cheered on her teammates the rest of the way, but she didn’t compete in a meet again as a freshman. On a Florida team with eight former U.S. National Team gymnasts, it's no surprise. The spotlight isn’t big enough for all.
But Clark made her long-awaited return to the lineup Friday for Florida’s floor routine, where she scored a 9.750 in her first glimpse of regular-season competition. As she concluded her routine, her Florida teammates surrounded her in celebration of her debut.
“So excited, so proud of Chloi. Her first time as a Gator competing on floor,” Coach Jenny Rowland said. “I’ve never done it myself, I can’t put words in her mouth, but I can only imagine she had the time of her life tonight. To see the entire Gator team embrace her after that really was just the cherry on top.”
To those who have seen Clark toil away in practice and in the weight room, her performance was a testament to her work ethic.
“She works so hard in the gym everyday. And when she told me that she was competing today, my heart was so full, because she really deserves it,” Thomas said of Clark. “I was so proud of her.”