Florida Gators gymnastics: Trinity Thomas three-peats as SEC Gymnast of the Year

Ainslie Lee
The Gainesville Sun

Just four days removed from winning its 12th SEC championship in program history with a meet-record team score of 198.425, the awards and honors continued to roll in for the Florida Gators' gymnastics team Wednesday morning as the SEC announced its gymnastics awards and all-SEC teams.

The second-ranked Gators, who moved up one spot in the rankings this week after winning the conference title in Duluth, Ga. on March 18, saw senior Trinity Thomas win the SEC's Gymnast of the Year award and freshman Kayla DiCello be named Freshman of the Year.

In addition, three other Florida gymnasts were named to the all-SEC team.

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Trinity Thomas just the second in SEC history to three-peat

Thomas' Gymnast of the Year recognition marks just the second time in league history that a gymnast has won the award three times. The last time someone pulled the trifecta was more than 20 years ago when Alabama's Andreé Pickins won it in 2000, 2001 and 2002.

Wednesday morning's announcement likely doesn't come as a surprise to many considering Thomas' accomplishments this year.

In last week's SEC championship meet, Thomas posted a pair of perfect 10s, defending her floor title with a 10.0 and completing a 2023 gym slam with a 10.0 on the uneven bars. Thomas' pair of perfect marks last week brought her career total to 27 perfect 10s, which it one away from matching the all-time collegiate record,.

This season, Thomas' all-around totals of 39.85, 39.825 and 39.80 rank as the third-, fourth- and fifth-best marks in the country.

Thomas' list of accolades still has ample opportunity to grow in 2023 as she was named a finalist for the AAI Award, which is given to the nation's top senior gymnast. Not to mention, the NCAA championships are still on the horizon for Thomas, who is set to defend her floor exercise, uneven bars and all-around national title.

Kayla DiCello's rookie season doesn't go unnoticed

Florida Gators gymnast Kayla DiCello performs on the floor exercise during the meet against the Missouri Tigers at Exactech Arena at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center in Gainesville, FL on Friday, February 10, 2023. [Matt Pendleton/Gainesville Sun]

For the 10th time in program history, the SEC's Freshman Gymnast of the Year has been awarded to a Gator.

And if it's any indication, DiCello joins elite company as she's the first Gator to get the recognition since Thomas in 2019.

In her freshman campaign in Gainesville, DiCello finished as the the top-finishing freshman at the SEC Championships with an all-around total of 39.60, good for sixth place overall. DiCello's finish at the conference meet was paced by her shared second-place finishes in the balance beam and floor exercise − each with a score of 9.95.

On Feb. 10 as the Gators hosted the Missouri Tigers, DiCello became the first freshman in the nation to record a perfect score thanks to a flawless performance on the uneven bars.

DiCello set the league record for Freshman of the Week honors in a season with eight, as well as the record for consecutive Freshman of the Week recognitions with six.

Three other Gators find spots on the all-SEC team

In addition to Thomas and DiCello, sophomore Sloane Blakely, junior Victoria Nguyen and sophomore Leanne Wong were named to the all-SEC team as the Gators tied Auburn and Missouri for the most gymnasts on the all-SEC team with five.

Blakely shared the conference vault title with a 9.95, helping her to her first all-SEC honor.

Meanwhile, Nguyen and Wong both picked up their second all-SEC honors Wednesday.

Nguyen, who joined the Gators after spending her first two season with Georgia, picked up her second all-SEC honor after sharing second on uneven bars at the SEC meet with a 9.95. Nguyen also made the all-SEC team as a sophomore at Georgia.

For Wong, it was her second consecutive balance beam title with a 9.975 and tying for second on bars with a 9.95 that paced her to her second all-SEC honor.