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Former West York athlete and Florida sophomore Trinity Thomas gave her local fans a performance to remember Saturday at Penn State. York Dispatch

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The picture perfectly captured the story.

Former West York High School athlete Trinity Thomas is shown in the middle of a joyous throng, including a number of young girls, while fans click photos from all sides.

The scene took place Saturday evening at Penn State’s Rec Hall, after the U.S. Senior National Women's Gymnastics Team member put on another dazzling performance for her many Pennsylvania fans. She picked up another perfect 10.0 score for the unbeaten University of Florida Gators, this time in the floor exercise, while also winning the all-around crown in a win vs. the Nittany Lions.

Thomas is smiling and appears to be relishing every minute with the crowd, and not just because she was coming off another standout performance. She actually seemed to enjoy interacting with her young fans.

Enjoys being a role model: There’s a reason for that. Thomas takes her responsibilities as one of the best gymnasts in the world very seriously. She actually embraces her stature as a role model for children, especially young girls.

For her, it’s an opportunity to show the next generation of gymnasts that dreams are achievable, if you're willing to put in the work.

“They mean the world to me because I’ve looked up to people growing up, too, and for me to be an inspiration to them is so special because that’s all I ever wanted to be for all the little girls watching me,” Thomas said. “So they know they can do anything they set their mind to also.”

That attitude reveals a wisdom that belies her tender years. Thomas is just a sophomore in college, but she already seems to know what is really important in life.

She definitely appears to have her priorities in order.

Decision to go to college: That attitude also became evident when Thomas elected to compete on the college level.

She is the only member of the U.S Senior National Women's Gymnastics Team to make that choice. The other senior team members are concentrating on their gymnastics craft in order to better their chances of earning a berth on the U.S. Olympic Team for the 2020 Tokyo Summer Games.

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The Americans have the best gymnastics team in the world and earning a berth on that team is exceedingly difficult. Some of the world’s best gymnasts won’t make the U.S. Olympic Team.

Still, Thomas has elected to compete in college while majoring in applied physiology and kinesiology-fitness wellness. That doesn’t exactly sound like a cakewalk curriculum. It’s an indication that Thomas knows her gymnastics career will not last forever. In fact, it will likely end in the next few years. Her college degree should serve her well for decades after her gymnastics career ends.

The doubters: Between school and gymnastics, her schedule is undoubtedly packed full. She knows that many folks doubt that she can do both at the same time, but Thomas has the confidence that she can make both dreams come true.

“People are going to say whatever they want to say,” Thomas said. “As long as I believe in myself and I have my family and my friends cheering for me, counting on me and behind me, that’s all I need.”

Her coach at Florida, Jenny Rowland, is not surprised by anything that Thomas accomplishes.

“It’s not mind blowing when you see her in the gym training day in and day out, but when you take a step back and look at the whole process, it is quite mind blowing,” Rowland said. “It is unbelievable and remarkable and just shows how special of a young lady she is.”

“Special” seems to be the perfect word when describing Thomas.

She’s a young woman who has a lot going for her beyond the gymnastics arena.

She’s also making York County very proud with her actions as a world-class gymnast and a first-class young woman.

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