BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Florida gymnastics made it a sweep of 2022 Southeastern Conference trophies Saturday. The Gators won the league regular-season title and then added the SEC Championship meet trophy tonight after tallying the second-highest team total in the event's 41-year history.
The Gators won in front of a Legacy Arena crowd of 10,180 with a 198.20 - the highest team total in 26 SEC Championship meets. Alabama was second (197.825), followed by Auburn (197.225), Missouri (196.875), LSU (196.725), Arkansas (196.45), Kentucky (196.35) and Georgia (195.80).
A Gator won four of the meet's individual event titles. Gator senior Trinity Thomas won the all-around (39.825), vault (9.975) and floor exercise (9.975). Freshman Leanne Wong also used a near-perfect 9.975 to win the balance beam. Auburn's Sunisa Lee claimed the uneven bars win at 10.0.
Florida led from the meet's opening rotation and turned in the evening's highest team totals for vault, beam and floor.
The Gators got big marks from Thomas and fellow senior Nya Reed on the team's opening event. Reed's 9.95 tied for second with Missouri's Jocelyn Moore in the final vault standings. Thomas' 9.975 won her second SEC vault title, claiming her first as a freshman in 2019.
Thomas and Megan Skaggs shared second overall on the uneven bars at 9.95 with five other gymnasts. Auburn's Lee joins Gator Great Bridget Sloan (2015) as the only two with uneven bars 10.0 in the meet's history.
Florida raised their SEC meet record for balance beam to 49.70 - which equals the Gators' team record. Every Gator in the lineup posted a 9.9 or better. Both of Florida's Super Seniors - Skaggs and Alyssa Baumann - were among a five-way tie for second at 9.95. Wong's 9.975 set her collegiate beam best and marked UF's fourth consecutive SEC beam title.
The Gators used four marks of 9.9 or better on floor exercise to close out the meet. Thomas' second 9.975 floor mark of the season claimed the event title. Wong shared fifth at 9.925 while Skaggs and Reed tied for eighth at 9.90. It was an all-around sweep for the Gators. Thomas won at 39.825 while Skaggs and Wong shared second at 39.65.
It was an all-around sweep for the Gators. Thomas won at 39.825 while Skaggs and Wong shared second at 39.65.
GATOR PERFORMANCE NOTES:
- Gators are 11-time SEC Championship meet winners: 1982, '83, '84, '85, '89, '07, '10, '12, '13, '16, '22
- Florida is the only program with at least one individual event title in each of the last 11 SEC Championship meets. Thirteen Gators collected 30 event titles since the 2011 SEC Championship meet.
- Birmingham, Ala., leads all cities with seven SEC Championship events since the league gymnastics meet went to neutral sites in 2001. This is Florida's first SEC Championship win in The Magic City.
- A Gator has won all-around in 10 of UF's 11 meets this season. Thomas has four wins, Wong (3), Skaggs (2) and Blakely (1)
- Only two Gators won three individual titles in a single SEC meet - Melissa Miller (1988) and Thomas (2022)
- Thomas' all-around total of 39.825 is the second only to Alabama Jeana Rice's 39.85 (2004) in the meet's history.
- Thomas three wins tonight extends her Gator Career Events Record total to 99.
- Of the 16 Gators to claim a SEC balance beam title, Wong is the eighth to win the title as a freshman.
- Florida 49.70 on beam raises its SEC meet record (49.625 in 2019). That total is also UF's school-record for the event and tonight is the second time UF reached that total for beam this season (Jan. 28 vs Arkansas).
- The SEC began awarding a SEC regular-season title in 2017. Florida is the third team to sweep both the regular-season and championship meet title in the same season (joining LSU in 2017 & 2018).
- Of the last 20 SEC Championship meets, Florida's winning margin of 0.375 equals the second highest (LSU: 0.425 in 2018) in that span. Florida (2012) and Alabama (2009) also posted 0.375 winning margins since 2002.
Collegiate bests tonight:
- Megan Skaggs: 9.95 (bars), 9.95 (beam)
- Leanne Wong: 9.975 (beam)
"It was a great evening. Starting yesterday practice was really chill, really calm. The Gators were just in their zone, having a good time and that carried over to today.
"This team's just built a lot of confidence throughout the season. We're going to savor and enjoy a special moment this evening. And our story doesn't finish here. We have a lot more to give and there is more to do but we're gonna celebrate tonight." - Florida Head Coach Jenny Rowland
Is there any performance that sticks out to you today?
"It took every single athlete - all 18 of them - to get us to where we were tonight. Of course Trinity Thomas was spectacular tonight. It was her first SEC all-around championship and I couldn't be more proud of her."
So what's the next step?
"We're gonna win the day. That's what we've been trying to do day after day as we can't look too far ahead. We'll go back in the gym Monday and we're gonna win Monday. Then take it one day at a time.
"This is just great validation for this team and what they've put in to get to where they were today. Seeing the smiles and the joy on their faces really means everything." - Florida Head Coach Jenny Rowland
NCAA Regional fields are announced March 22 at noon ET on NCAA.com.
2022 Regional Sites - March 30-April 2
Auburn, Ala. (Auburn)
Raleigh, N.C. (North Carolina State)
Norman, Okla. (Oklahoma)
Seattle, Wash. (Washington)