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Florida finishes second in NCAA Championship Final

234 days ago
Florida Athletics

FORT WORTH, Texas - Being normal is the goal for every Florida gymnastics meet. UF Head Coach Jenny Rowland knows that when the Gators are normal, that leads to a lot of success.

Saturday in the NCAA Gymnastics team final at Fort Worth's Dickies Arena, being pretty close to normal wasn't quite enough. Florida was second at 198.0875 as top-ranked Oklahoma claimed its fifth title at 198.20. Utah was third (197.75) followed by Auburn (197.35).

"That's what you're going to get in a national championship. You could see it across the board amongst all teams," Rowland said. "All teams were just trying, fighting a little harder, looking for more.

"Maybe not exactly what the Gators are capable of doing but a stunning performance nonetheless."

Three of the seven slenderest margins of victory in the event's 40-year history have come in three of the last four team finals, including Saturday's slight 0.1125 OU advantage.

Florida missed some tenths with steps on vault landings. Trinity Thomas' 9.9875 is the second-highest ever for a Gator in NCAA event finals.

The highest? A 10.0 by Susan Hines in the 1998 NCAA Super Six. She was in the stands Saturday to cheer the Gators.

The Gators powered past a miss in the early part of the lineup to hit the remaining four uneven bars routines. Thomas matched her winning bars mark (9.975) from Thursday to lead the Gators.

The Gators used four marks of 9.9 or better toward its balance beam total of 49.50. Senior Leah Clapper anchored the lineup with the team's top mark of 9.925. Florida headed into the final rotation trailing OU by two-tenths.

The Gators turned in some great floor routines - including a 10.0 by Thomas.

But UF couldn't close the gap on the Sooners as they used beam marks of 9.9 or better toward their closing event total.

Saturday's result was Florida's lone loss of 2022, as the Gators finished 2022 action at 31-1-1.

It was another spectacular performance for Florida's Thomas. Her winning all-around total shares No. 2 all-time in NCAA finals. Posted the eighth floor 10.0 in NCAA team final - and first since 2005 Perfect 10.0 in every 2022 NCAA floor performance - NCAA Regional Second Round, NCAA Regional Final, NCAA Semifinal & NCAA Final Finished season with 12 perfect marks (7 floor, 3 vault, 1 each bars, beam). That is second only to UCLA Kyla Ross' 14 in 2019. The nation's six highest all-around totals of the 2022 season all were turned in by Thomas 39.90 (April 2 - NCAA Regional final) 39.875 (March 31 - NCAA Regional second round) 39.8625 (April 16 - NCAA Team Final) 39.85 (Feb. 25 vs Oklahoma) 39.825 (March 19 - SEC Championships) 39.8125 (April 14 - NCAA Semifinal).

"The future is really bright for this team. We're returning a great solid core for next season. They've all experienced it so they've all got a good taste and know what it takes to get to this point," Rowland said. "So looking forward to making the most of this moment, celebrating and then taking our next step to move on to next season."

EVENT WINNERS

Vault

Trinity Thomas Florida 9.9875

Uneven Bars

Trinity Thomas Florida 9.975

Danielle Sievers Oklahoma 9.975

Balance Beam

Ragan Smith Oklahoma 9.9625

Floor Exercise

Trinity Thomas Florida 10.0

All-Around

Trinity Thomas Florida 39.8625

Up Next

The NCAA Championships closes collegiate gymnastics competition for 2022. Two will join the Gators next season - Lori Brubach and Kayla DeCello.