So close: Florida gymnastics falls just short of NCAA team championship
Another late push in the final event and another perfect 10.0 from Trinity Thomas just wasn’t enough for the Florida gymnastics program to capture the 2022 NCAA gymnastics championship. No. 1 Oklahoma secured the team title Saturday in Fort Worth, Texas, with a comeback of its own.
The Sooners, who trailed the rest of the pack after the first rotation, finished the meet with a 198.200, edging out the Gators (198.0875). Utah was third (197.75) followed by Auburn (197.35).
The second-place finish was UF's lone loss of 2022, as the Gators went 31-1-1.
"That's what you're going to get in a national championship. You could see it across the board amongst all teams," Florida coach Jenny Rowland said. "All teams were just trying, fighting a little harder, looking for more. ... Maybe not exactly what the Gators are capable of doing but a stunning performance nonetheless."
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The Gators didn’t start much better that the Sooners, sitting only slightly ahead of Oklahoma in third place heading into the second rotation after a 49.3500 in the vault exercise.
Led by Thomas’ 9.9750 on uneven bars, the Gators improved to second, but the Sooners scored a 49.6625 on vault to make up significant ground. Oklahoma followed up its impressive vault with the uneven bars exercise, where the Sooners had four of the top seven overall marks to take the lead heading into the decisive fourth event.
Trailing Oklahoma by .200 heading into the final rotation, Florida's hopes came down to floor, considered UF’s strength this season.
Super senior Alyssa Baumann went second in the rotation and scored a 9.9500, the highest score in the final up to that point. Freshman Leanne Wong was next, and she too scored a 9.9500, followed by a 9.9125 from senior Nya Reed.
Then, with the Gators needing every point possible, Thomas scored a perfect 10.0, her 12th perfect score of the season, on floor to pull the Gators within just .0250 of the Sooners. For a moment, the Gators had hope.
The Sooners would conclude an impressive rotation of their own, however, posting a 49.6250 on beam to maintain their lead and secure the program’s fifth national title in eight years.
After winning the NCAA all-around and bar and floor individual titles on Thursday in Fort Worth, Thomas posted Saturday's highest scores on vault, bars, floor and the all-around. Her all-around score in the team final was 39.8625, even better than her winning score of 39.8125 on Thursday. It ranked No. 2 all-time in NCAA finals.
The nation's six highest all-around totals of the 2022 season were posted by Thomas.
Florida appeared in its 18th NCAA team final. The Gators won NCAA team titles in 2013, 2014 and 2015.