FORT WORTH, Texas - The Gators brought it for Saturday's NCAA Gymnastics team final at Fort Worth's Dickies Arena.
- Florida's highest team total ever at NCAA Championships site.
- Three event totals highest for Florida in NCAA Team Final action.
- Individual score leaders in two events for Saturday's competition - Trinity Thomas 10.0 (vault), Kayla DiCello & Leanne Wong 9.975 (uneven bars)
It all added up to a 198.2375 for the Gators - just a fraction behind Oklahoma's winning total of 198.3875. The Sooners equaled its NCAA team final record total for the second time since 2017 to take its second consecutive and sixth overall NCAA title.
Florida's 198.2375 is the fifth-highest ever in the 30-year history of the team final format started in 1993.
Utah was third (197.9375) Saturday followed by Louisiana State (197.525).
"The Gators left everything out on the floor tonight. I couldn't have asked for anything more. This is what we talk about on a daily basis is to not have any regrets. From day one this season, this team has been so intentional and given everything they had," Florida Head Coach Jenny Rowland said. "Tonight's competition was extremely amazing. Awesome, crazy, unbelievable gymnastics and any four of these teams could have won a national championship tonight.
"Truly honored and very grateful to have been here tonight with this amazing team of 17 athletes. We made so many great memories today and they have a lot to be proud of."
Four of the eight slenderest margins of victory in the event's 41-year history have come in four of the last five team finals, including today slight 0.15 OU advantage.
THIS AFTERNOON'S MEET: Sloane Blakely started off the Gators with a 9.9 on balance beam - the highest mark among the four team's opening competitors. It was the first of four 9.9 or better beam marks for the Gators as UF opened the meet with a 49.525 - the team's highest beam total ever in NCAA Final action. Sophomores Riley McCusker and Leanne Wong led the Gators with marks of 9.9375 and a 9.9125, respectively. Freshman Kayla DiCello also posted a 9.9.
Floor scores were solid but not spectacular, with just Super Senior Rachel Baumann and DiCello reaching the 9.90 mark.
At the midway point, Florida trailed the Sooners by 0.250.
Saturday was a great time for a season best and the Gators did just that on vault. The Gators put together its top vault total in NCAA Final action with a 49.575. That total was UF's season-best and led all teams on the event Saturday. Super Senior Trinity Thomas started her competition with the day's first 10.0. That was 10.0 No. 28 to tie for the all-time NCAA career record for perfect marks.
Wong started off the vault lineup with a 9.9125 and DiCello also earned a 9.90.
Heading into the final rotation, Florida trailed OU by 0.1875. The Gators set their NCAA Final uneven bars high of 49.7125 but it wasn't enough to close the gap. Like the Gators, the Sooners closed with the highest team total of the day on their finishing event as OU posted 49.675 on floor exercise.
Every Gator scored a 9.9 or better in Saturday's bars rotation. That 49.7125 included a pair of near perfect 9.975 by DiCello and Wong. Blakely and McCusker started off and anchored the lineup, respectively, with 9.925s. Thomas' 9.9125 also went toward the UF bars total.
TRINITY THOMAS SHARES NCAA 10.0 RECORD
In the last meet of her spectacular Gator career, Trinity Thomas stuck the landing among the sport's legends with her 28th 10.0.
She now shares the all-time lead at 28, which was set by Kentucky's Jenny Hansen (1993-96) and matched by UCLA's Jamie Dantzscher (2001-04).
Of those three at the top of the career 10.0 list, only Thomas has a Gym Slam - a 10.0 on each event. Saturday's 10.0 in NCAA Team Final vault competition marked her fifth career Gym Slam, as she has at least five 10.0s in each of the four apparatus.
Of the 13 gymnasts in NCAA history with a Gym Slam, Thomas is one of three with enough 10.0s in each apparatus to register multiple Gym Slams.
- Trinity Thomas - Florida (5)
- Kyla Ross - UCLA (2)
- Maggie Nichols - Oklahoma (2)
GATOR PERFORMANCE NOTES:
- Florida turned in four of the program's all-time high totals for NCAA Final competition:
- Team total: 198.2375 (previous high: 198.175 in 2014 NCAA Super Six)
- Vault: 49.575 - also season high (previous high: 49.50 in 2013 NCAA Super Six)
- Uneven Bars: 49.7125 (previous high: 49.60 in 2014 NCAA Super Six). Also No. 3 bars total in NCAA Team Final action
- Balance Beam: 49.525 (previous high: 49.50 in 2014 NCAA Super Six)
- Trinity Thomas is the 13th gymnast - and first since 2012 - to earn a 10.0 in NCAA Team Final vault competition. She is the second Gator on that list, as Susan Hines turned in a 10.0 in 1998 NCAA Super Six action. Hines was in the stands Saturday to cheer the Gators.
- A gymnast has scored a 10.0 or 9.975 in NCAA Team Final uneven bars competition 12 times - with a Gator earning five of those marks
- 10.0: Alex McMurtry (2017)
- 9.975: Kayla DiCello & Leanne Wong (2023), Trinity Thomas (2022), McMurtry (2018)
- Collegiate bests today:
- Sloane Blakely: uneven bars (9.925)
- Victoria Nguyen: vault (9.8875), beam (9.875), all-around (39.55)
- Trinity Thomas: vault (10.0)
The NCAA Championships ends the 2023 collegiate gymnastics season. Six join the Gators next season. Florida signed Gabby Disidore, Skylar Draser and Anya Pilgrim in the fall. Skye Blakely also signed with the Gators but is deferring enrollment until fall of 2024 as she looks to earn a berth on the 2024 U.S. Olympic team. In February, the Gators announced that a pair from the Sunshine State - Alyssa Arana and Kaylee Bluffstone - will also join the 2024 team. Earlier this month, the Gators signed Danielle Ferris, who is accelerating her high school graduation to enroll at UF this fall.
"We have a group of freshmen coming in who are truly passionate, gritty, love gymnastics, love the Gators and I know they're gonna fit right in with the team for 2024," Rowland said.