BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - The Southeastern Conference announced its annual gymnastics awards, voted on by the head coaches from each institution, to cap the 2019 season.
Sarah Finnegan of LSU was voted the SEC Gymnast of the Year for the second consecutive year. Sabrina Vega of Georgia was named the SEC's Event Specialist of the Year, while Trinity Thomas of Florida was tabbed the Freshman of the Year. D-D Breaux of LSU was chosen as the SEC Coach of the Year.
Finnegan won the all-around at the 2019 SEC Gymnastics Championship with a 39.800, the second-highest score in league history. She became the sixth gymnast in SEC history to win back-to-back all-around titles. In addition to the all-around win, Finnegan also captured titles on bars and beam with a 9.95 and floor with a perfect 10. She became just the fourth gymnast in SEC history to win four or more titles at a meet and the ninth to win three or more individual events. With five career SEC titles, Finnegan tied Rheagan Courville and Sandra Smith for the most in a career in school history. She clinched the squad's third-straight SEC championship with her sixth career perfect score, her second on floor and third this season. Amongst the gymnasts in the SEC, Finnegan ranks first in the all-around, beam and bars; second on floor; and tied for fifth on vault. She now owns 19 All-America honors for third best in school history. After winning beam on Saturday night, Finnegan set the school record for most beam titles in a career with 25. She earned 12 all-around wins to set the school record for most in a season. With her 10 on floor, Finnegan joined April Burkholder as the only gymnasts in school history with multiple perfect scores on three different events. She now owns 84 career wins and 42 this season for second in school history.
Vega is currently tied for eighth place in country and is ranked second in the SEC on balance beam with an NQS score of 9.925 in the event. She is also tied for 13th place in the country on floor with an NQS score of 9.930. Vega earned seven scores of 9.900 or better on floor and on beam during her junior campaign. She hit new career-high marks on all three of her events this year with a 9.9 on vault, 9.95 on beam, and 9.975 on floor. Vega has won seven event titles in 2019 (one on vault, five on beam, and two on floor). She was named the SEC Specialist of the Week on Feb. 19 following her performance in Georgia's win at Kentucky. Vega needed a 9.925 on floor to win the meet and scored a 9.975 in the final routine to lift the GymDogs over the Wildcats, 197.300-197.225. In the same meet, she also moonwalked her way to a 9.925 on beam to tie her career high for the third time this season.
Thomas became the SEC vault champion after equaling collegiate-best of 9.95 at the 2019 SEC Championship. She also shared second on floor exercise (9.95) and third in all-around (39.575). Thomas is the only freshman that competed in Session II of the 2019 SEC Championship to earn All-SEC honors. She is one of four in the nation (and only freshman) ranked among nation's top 20 for every event - No. 5 all-around (39.65 RQS), No. T2 floor (9.965), No. T4 uneven bars (9.95), No. 14 balance beam (9.910), and No. T17 vault (9.9). Thomas is the first in league history to earn a SEC weekly honor after each competition (three SEC Gymnast of the Week; six SEC Freshman of Week). She currently leads Florida with 22 event titles (seven floor; five all-around, bars; three vault; two beam). Thomas has earned seven 9.975s (three bars; four floor), which leads the Gator freshmen all-time. She has competed as an all-arounder in every meet, with 28 of 40 routines scoring 9.9 or better. Thomas' collegiate-best is a 9.925 or better, and her top all-around of 39.750 equals the high by a Gator freshman (Bridget Sloan, 2013).
Breaux led the Tigers to their third consecutive and fourth overall SEC Championship title with a top score of 197.900 at the 2019 SEC Gymnastics Championship. This marks the ninth time that Breaux has been named the SEC Coach of the Year. The Tigers are ranked third in the nation (197.810 Team RQS) heading into the NCAA Regionals, the 36th overall and 35th straight regional berth for the program. Under Breaux's leadership, LSU owns 29 NCAA Championships appearances and 15 regional titles, including eight straight.
2019 SEC Gymnastics Awards
- Gymnast of the Year: Sarah Finnegan, LSU
- Event Specialist of the Year: Sabrina Vega, Georgia
- Freshman of the Year: Trinity Thomas, Florida
- Coach of the Year: D-D Breaux, LSU