Trinity Thomas wins Honda Sports Award: Florida gymnast has not ruled out 2023 return
Florida gymnastics standout Trinity Thomas has yet to make a decision on whether she will return or not for her fifth season of collegiate gymnastics in 2023. She's opting to enjoy her time away from the program in the wake of UF’s runner-up finish at the NCAA championships in Fort Worth, Texas.
On Monday, Thomas, who graduated over the weekend with a degree from UF in applied physiology and kinesiology, was named the 2022 Honda Sports Award winner at the Collegiate Women Sports Awards. The award is given annually to the nation's top collegiate female athlete in her sport across 12 NCAA Division I sports.
“It’s just really special to have accomplished the things that I have, and I couldn’t do it without my family and friends,” Thomas said. “I’m definitely super thankful and blessed.”
By receiving the honor, Thomas is now a finalist for the Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year and the 2022 Honda Cup, which will be presented June 27 on CBS Sports Network at 9 p.m. from Los Angeles, Calif.
Trinity Thomas joins elite group of award winners
Thomas’ win marks the sixth time in the last decade that a UF gymnast has received the award. Kytra Hunter and Bridget Sloan each received the honor in two seasons, with Hunter bringing home the Honda Award in 2012 and 2015, and Sloan securing the Honda Award in both 2013 and 2016.
Alex McMurtry is UF’s most recent Honda Award winner, having received the award in 2017.
“I just remember sitting in (coach Jenny Rowland’s) office my freshman year, and we were having a conversation, like, ‘What are your goals?'" Thomas recalled, “One was to be a Honda Award winner and be up on the wall with Kytra and Bridget Sloan and Alex McMurtry, so to finally be here in my senior year and to find out I just won the Honda Award is quite the way to end my senior year. It’s super special, I’m super excited.”
Having completed her degree, Thomas plans to spend the summer traveling — several much-deserved and overdue vacations are on the horizon — as well as helping train younger gymnasts.
“I love working with the kids and just seeing their faces light up, and how excited they get about gymnastics every day, is super special,” Thomas said. “To be a mentor to them, and be able to talk to them and answer their questions and help them reach their goals, is super cool.”
Leah Clapper coming back for fifth year; what about Trinity?
As for UF, Thomas can return for a fifth season — which gymnasts were granted during the COVID-19 2020 shutdown — a decision her fellow teammates are in the process of making.
Leah Clapper announced she will utilize her additional year of eligibility and return to UF as a “Super Senior”, a role Alyssa Baumann and Megan Skaggs competed in with the Gators during UF’s dominant 2022 season.
Prior to her public announcement, Clapper informed Thomas of her decision — while also trying to get some intel on where Thomas was leaning herself.
“Leah told me before she announced it of course, she was like ‘Trin, I just want to let you know I’m coming back for a fifth year’ and I was like ‘Congratulations, Leah, that’s awesome’ and so she’s asking me a million-and-one questions,” Thomas said. “I’m excited, she’s fun to have in the gym and she works so hard, so I’m excited for her to be coming back for a fifth year.”
As for Thomas, any word on her future will have to wait — she’s enjoying the recognition for her 2022 season, which saw Thomas score 12 perfect 10.0s, win the NCAA all-around, record a Gym Slam and lead Florida with a single-season record of 39 event wins.
Thomas’ accomplishments are vast. One thing missing in her collegiate career is a national team championship, though it remains a possibility she utilizes her additional year of eligibility and makes one last push with the Gators.
“I’m not completely ruling it out,” Thomas said.