BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - The Southeastern Conference announced its annual gymnastics awards, voted on by the head coaches from each institution, to conclude the 2020 season.
Trinity Thomas of Florida was selected the SEC Gymnast of the Year, and Helen Hu of Missouri was voted the Event Specialist of the Year. Kiya Johnson of LSU earned the Freshman of the Year honors, and Jenny Rowland of Florida was named the SEC Coach of the Year.
Thomas is a member of the Women's Collegiate Gymnastics Association (WCGA) All-America First Team for all-around, uneven bars, balance beam and floor exercise and the Second Team for vault, making her just one of three in nation to claim the maximum five honors. She tied the second highest all-around score this season with a 39.825 at Georgia, tying the program record with her efforts. Thomas was the only gymnast in the nation this season to record a 10.0 in three different events: on the uneven bars against LSU; on the balance beam against Denver and Iowa State and the following week at Auburn; and on the floor exercise in the season finale at Penn State. An all-arounder in every meet in 2020, she owned four of the season's top seven all-around totals and led the Gators with 28 event wins throughout the season. A member of U.S. Senior National Team, Thomas was named the SEC Gymnast of the Week eight times during her sophomore campaign.
Hu earned a spot on the WCGA All-America First Team on beam and the Second Team on bars. She concluded her rookie season ranked as the fifth best in the nation on beam (9.955 NQS) and tied for 11th place nationally on bars (9.910 NQS). Hu earned six SEC weekly honors (four Freshman of the Week and two Specialist of the Week), tying a Mizzou single-season record. She won a team-high 15 event titles, the most for a Mizzou gymnast since 2014. Hu tallied 14 total scores of 9.9 or better, the highest individual total for a Tiger since the 2010 season. She posted a 9.9 or higher on beam in nine of 10 meets, with six scores of 9.95 or better. Her nine 9.9s on beam tied Mizzou's individual single-season record for 9.9s on one event. Hu recorded season-highs of 9.975 on beam twice, 9.95 on bars twice, 9.875 on both vault and floor twice, and 39.525 in the all-around.
Johnson was named to the WCGA All-America First Team on vault, floor and the all-around. She was one of only six gymnasts in the nation and the only freshman to score a 9.95 or higher on all four events this season. Johnson scored a 10.0 on the balance beam at Florida, becoming the third LSU freshman to register a perfect score and the fourth gymnast to do so in the event. She also scored a 10.0 on vault at the Gym Quarters Invitational against Iowa State, Lindenwood and Missouri, the first for an LSU freshman in the event. On the year, Johnson won 22 titles with seven on floor, six in the all-around, five on vault, three on beam and one on bars. Her seven titles on floor tied her for eighth place for a single season in program history. She concluded the 2020 season ranked second nationally on floor, sixth in the all-around, and tied for fourth on vault.
Rowland led the Gators to an overall record of 10-0 and their second consecutive SEC regular-season title with a 7-0 league mark, UF's first undefeated league season since 1992. Florida finished the 2020 season ranked second in the nation (197.940 Team RQS), a spot the program held for nine consecutive weeks. The Gators led the nation on the balance beam and were also ranked second on floor and third on vault and bars.
2020 SEC Gymnastics Awards
- Gymnast of the Year: Trinity Thomas, Florida
- Event Specialist of the Year: Helen Hu, Missouri
- Freshman of the Year: Kiya Johnson, LSU
- Coach of the Year: Jenny Rowland, Florida