19 hours ago
DULUTH, Ga. –A meet-record team score gives Florida Gymnastics a 2023 Southeastern Conference trophy sweep on Saturday.
The Gators won the SEC Championship meeting in front of a sold-out crowd of 9,544 at Gas South Arena with a 198.425 – wiping out the previous record of 198.375 set by the Georgia team in 1997. Alabama finished second ( 197.925), followed by LSU (197.80), Kentucky (197.675), Auburn (197.10), Missouri (197.00), Arkansas (196.825) and Georgia (196.60 ).
A Gator has won at least a share of each of the competition’s five individual titles. Gator Super Senior Trinity Thomas defended her all-around title (39.80) and used the competition’s only 10.0 to win on the uneven bars and floor exercise. Leanne Wong matched her near-perfect winning mark from the 2022 SEC encounter to successfully defend her balance beam title. Fellow sophomore Sloane Blakely shared the vault title at 9.95.
MEETING TONIGHT :
Florida trailed Kentucky by .025 after the opening rotation, but used the night’s highest team totals in the next three events to move ahead for the rest of the competition.
The Gators were led by a pair of sophomores in the team opener. Sloane Blakely’s head swayed from side to side after he landed well to send the message to his celebrating teammates that his jump was good. His 9.95 was part of a four-way tie for the SEC vault title. Leanne Wong also clocked a 9.90 to tie for seventh.
Thomas’ 10.0 win on uneven bars led a Gator lineup that saw all six posting a 9.9 or better. Wong and Victoria Nguyen posted 9.95 marks to be part of a four-way tie for second place overall. Blakely, Kayla DiCello and Riley McCusker all posted 9.90 to tie for eighth place. Florida’s bar total of 49.70 equals the meet record set by Georgia in 2014.
Florida held a slight 0.15 lead midway through the game.
For the second year in a row, Leanne Wong used a near-perfect 9.975 to win the beam. DiCello shared second place overall with three others at 9.95. Scores of 9.9 or higher went toward Florida’s balance beam total of 49.675, which is just short of the meet record of 49.70 set by the Gators in 2022.
A perfect 10.0 gave Thomas his second straight SEC floor exercise title. DiCello tied his college best of 9.95 to share second place with three others at 9.95.
All three versatile players from Florida finished in the top six in the competition. Thomas used a 39.80 to claim his second consecutive all-around victory. Wong tied for fourth place (39.625) and DiCello was the top freshman in the all-around, taking sixth place at 39.60.
GATOR PERFORMANCE NOTES:
- The Gators are 12-time SEC Championship winners: 1982, ’83, ’84, ’85, ’89, ’07, ’10, ’12, ’13, ’16, ’22, ’23
- Florida is the only program with at least one individual event title in each of the last 12 SEC Championship meetings. Fourteen Gators have won 35 event titles since meeting the 2011 SEC Championship.
- Only two Gators have won three individual titles in a single SEC meeting – Melissa Miller (1988) and Thomas (2022 and 2023)
- Trinity Thomas and Kentucky Jenny Hansen (1994) are just gymnasts with two 10.0s in a single SEC Championship
- Trinity Thomas is seventh in competition history — and the fourth Gator — to win back-to-back SEC all-around titles
- Trinity Thomas is one of three in the 42-year history of SEC championships with a perfect score on uneven bars. Gator Great Bridget Sloan was first in 2015 and Auburn’s Sunisa Lee was second in 2022.
- It was a great jump week for sophomore Sloane Blakely. She set her collegiate best of 9.975 on Sunday in Florida’s regular season finale at the Texas Woman’s University quadruple. Tonight’s 9.95 is the second-highest jump of his college career.
- Of the 16 Gators to win an SEC balance beam title, Leanne Wong is one of three to win back-to-back titles (Lynn McDonnell – 1981 & 1982; Alyssa Baumann – 2018, 2019, 2021). She is one of seven in the history of the competition to repeat as champion on balance beam.
- A Gator has won the all-around in each of UF’s 11 meetings this season. Thomas and Wong each have five wins and DiCello has one.
- The SEC began awarding an SEC regular season title in 2017. The 2023 Gators are the fourth team to win both the regular season and championship title in the same season (joining LSU in 2017 and 2018; Florida in 2022).
- Florida’s .500 margin of victory is the highest since Georgia’s .700 victory in 1999.
- The Gators’ season-best 198.425 equals the third-highest total in the program’s 51-year history. He shares the nation’s No. 4 total of the 2023 season.
- This is Florida’s second SEC championship win in six times the competition has been held in Duluth, Georgia. The first dates back to 2012.
- Collegiate best tonight: Kayla DiCello: floor (9.95); Victoria Nguyen: 9.95 (bars); Trinity Thomas: 10.0 (bars), 10.0 (floor)
COACH ROWLAND SAID:
“The team will take away a lot of memories from tonight. First and foremost from today we had a great normmentum. That was the word created by Gator which was our word for the week. It means the act of being normal and building momentum at the same time. They did a fantastic job. And I think that’s just going to get them through the playoffs.
“The level of competition tonight was insane. Today, all day from top to bottom across all four events. Truly, the SEC continues to prove what a powerful force we are. I’m really proud to be a part of the SEC” – Florida Head Coach Jenny Rowland
SEASON SLAM FOR THOMAS:
With her perfect uneven bars score, Trinity Thomas completed her second Season Slam of her career.
In 2022, Thomas recorded his first Season Slam with a 10.0 on the uneven bars in NCAA Regional Second Round action. Tonight’s 10.0 was his fifth of his career on the event.
The floor exercise 10.0 was the 27th of his career. She now shares third all-time with Hope Spivey of Georgia and is one behind collegiate leaders Jenny Hansen of Kentucky and Jamie Dantzscher of UCLA.
NCAA regional fields are announced Monday, March 20 at noon ET on NCAA.com.
Regional venues 2023
March 29, 30 and April 1
Los Angeles, California (UCLA)
Norman, Okla. (Oklahoma)
March 30, 31 and April 2
Denver, CO (Denver)
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Pittsburgh)
Session II Event Scores
|Team (seed)||Skip||Bars||Beam||Floor||Final score|