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After rare miscue, Trinity Thomas rebounds with strong effort for No. 1 Florida gym team

ROB ROSE
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  • Trinity Thomas was named SEC Gymnast of the Week on Feb. 2.
  • Thomas received the award for the 13th time in her career.
  • Thomas' Florida Gators team is ranked No. 1 in the NCAA.

At this point, anything but perfection is disappointing for Trinity Thomas.

The former West York High School athlete enjoyed a breakout sophomore season at Florida, when she became the only gymnast to record perfect 10.0 scores in three different events.

As a junior, however, she's faced some unfamiliar territory during the early going of the 2021 campaign.

Thomas fell during her beam routine on Jan. 15 in a meet vs. Georgia. She finished third in the all-around competition, a category she has usually dominated. It also ended her streak of eight consecutive Southeastern Conference Gymnast of the Week awards.

Florida's Trinity Thomas competes on the balance beam during a gymnastics meet at Penn State in State College, Saturday, March 7, 2020. Dawn J. Sagert photo

As the lone member of the 2020 U.S. Senior National Team who is also competing in the NCAA, Thomas has attempted to train for her college season, while also working to qualify for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics simultaneously. The stress of increasing the difficulty of her routines and matching the excellence she displayed in 2020 can be too much at times.

“I can definitely feel those high expectations, but I hold myself to my own high expectations, so if it’s from anyone it’s from me,” Thomas said. “It’s definitely hard when I don’t do my best, but I am happy to see everyone else doing great.”

A return to form: Thomas returned to her usual form on Jan. 29 when the No. 1 Gators beat Missouri and recorded the highest team total of the year (197.85) while Thomas tied her NCAA-leading all-around score of 39.75. She reclaimed her SEC Gymnast of the Week title for a record 13th time.

During the Gators’ record-setting event, Thomas won the vault (9.925), balance beam (9.95) and floor exercise (9.95). Through four meets, Thomas ranks No. 1 on the bars, No. 4 on the vault and No. 7 in all-around nationally.

A strong team: Much like last season, when Florida ended the pandemic-shortened season No. 2 in the country, Thomas’ teammates don’t lack talent. When Thomas had her uncharacteristic off night, fellow Gators Nya Reed, Megan Skaggs and Gabrielle Gallentine were able to secure the win.

“I have it the best,” Thomas said. “This team is absolutely incredible and I have the pleasure of watching them do what they do every day in the gym, so I know what they’re capable of and I know that we can do amazing things. So when they’re doing great, that really pumps me up and gets me so excited for them. I love them and they’re amazing.”

Florida's Trinity Thomas, a former West York athlete, following a gymnastics meet at Penn State in State College, Saturday, March 7, 2020. Dawn J. Sagert photo

A bye and then a showdown: Next up for Thomas and Florida is a showdown with No. 2 LSU on Feb. 12 after a bye week.

After her rare mistake, and the end of her streak winning the SEC award that could end up being named after her, Thomas gets a week to rest and get ready to return to form as the conference’s top gymnast week in and week out.

“It meant a lot to me to get back out there and hit how I’m used to hitting after two weeks that didn’t go so well for me,” Thomas said. “It was nice to get back out there with my team and put up the highest team score in the nation.”

Reach Rob Rose at rrose@yorkdispatch.com.