Florida gymnast Trinity Thomas talks about regional performance, gears up for NCAA finals
With a hoard of Gator fans hooting and hollering behind her, Florida gymnast Trinity Thomas lifted her arms up and belted out a scream in jubilation after her vault routine at Neville Arena in Auburn.
Moments later, she secured a result that seemed unimaginable three months ago on vault: A perfect 10.
For Thomas, the impeccable mark illustrated a culmination and transformation for the senior. The York, Pennsylvania, native has openly said vault is, by far, her least favorite routine.
Now, she racked up her third of the season last Saturday night in the NCAA regionals and third of her career, the first two occurring Jan. 16 against Alabama and March 4 at Auburn.
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“I’m a little scared of vault, but we are getting along right now,” Thomas said. “I really focused on seeing the landing and block before I started twisting. I’ve done a lot of stick drills too.”
In the rotation before vault at the NCAAs, Thomas shined in her favorite event: floor. She notched her seventh 10.0 all-time on floor and fourth this season — Jan. 16 against the Tide, Feb. 18 at Kentucky and Feb. 25 versus Oklahoma.
“I really like that I get to show off and perform on floor,” she said. “I get to be me and put my own spice to it and show off to the crowd.”
Thomas’s two 10s, plus a perfect figure from freshman Leanne Wong pushed UF (198.775) ahead of Auburn (197.775), Kentucky (197.50) and Denver (197.225) to win the Auburn regional.
And now the Gators are headed back to the NCAA Championships, April 14-16 in Fort Worth, Texas. UF will compete against Michigan, Missouri and Auburn in the semifinals April 14 at 6 p.m.
“We have set ourselves up really well, and we’ve rested and paced, so I think we are in a really good spot,” Thomas said. “I’m excited to get back out there and focus a little more on the details."
Those details, Thomas said, include teammates trusting themselves and their training and believing they can perform better.
Trinity Thomas' missing hardware: NCAA title
Thomas leads the nation in perfect scores with 10, four in the NCAA regionals. Her winning all-around score of 39.90 matched the UF record she set in 2021.
The top-notch gymnast already finds herself in the pantheon of Gator gymnasts. A list with names like Alex McMurtry, Kytra Hunter and Olympic medalist Bridget Sloan.
However, Thomas lacks a national championship, which the other three have.
In 2020, she won SEC Gymnast of the Year, and UF finished the regular season undefeated, but the season ended due to COVID-19.
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Last campaign, injuries plagued Thomas down the stretch, but Florida still earned a spot in the Final Four, where it finished fourth behind Michigan, Oklahoma and Utah.
This season, the team appears rejuvenated and on a mission. Thomas, who collected another SEC Gymnast of the Year, shares that mindset as well, especially after her injuries.
“I wanted to prove to myself that I could come back stronger,” she said. “Last season was a bummer when I sprained both my ankles, so I wanted to show I was capable of more, and I’m doing that.”
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Nonetheless, Thomas said she still leaves most meets with a feeling of wanting more.
“I know I can do this, and this is what I need to work on when I get back to the gym,” she said. “I start to pick apart my routines, pushing for more.”
Thomas said she receives a multitude of support from players and coaches, who she has worked with now for four seasons. Plus, she said team chemistry is high this season.
“There are a lot of different personalities and people from different backgrounds, but we come together and support and push each other,” she said.