Trinity Thomas' Florida gymnastics team finishes fourth at NCAA Championships

ROB ROSE
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Trinity Thomas made an impressive return from injury, but it wasn't enough to lift her team to a national championship.

The former West York High School athlete and her University of Florida gymnastics squad finished fourth in the NCAA Women's Gymnastics Finals on Saturday. Michigan won the title with a 198.2500 team total, while Florida scored a 197.1375.

Thomas scored a 9.9500 on her floor routine, a 9.9250 on the vault, a 9.900 on the uneven bars and a 9.1750 on the balance beam. Thomas and her teammate, Payton Richards, fell during their beam routines and the Gators were forced to use Thomas' score.

The struggles during the balance beam rotation put Florida behind early and the team was eliminated from contention before the final rotation began.

For the first time since she injured both ankles during uneven bars warm-up on March 5, Thomas participated in every event on Friday and led the Gators to a second-place finish in the first semifinal meet. The top-two finish on Friday advanced the Gators to Saturday's championship meet.

Florida's Trinity Thomas, right, a former West York athlete, celebrates with teammates after scoring a 10 on the floor during a gymnastics meet at Penn State in State College, Saturday, March 7, 2020. Dawn J. Sagert photo

Thomas scored a 9.9250 on her floor routine, 9.9125 on the balance beam, 9.8750 on the uneven bars and 9.8500 on the vault. Thomas had only competed in the uneven bars since she returned from her ankle injuries, but still finished fifth in the all-around with a score of 39.5625.

Florida finished second in Friday's semifinal event to Michigan, which scored a 197.825 team total. Florida edged out California with a 197.4375 team score that came down the last event.

Thomas earned five 2021 Women’s Collegiate Gymnastics Association All-America honors despite her injury. She received first-team honors in the all-around, vault, uneven bars and floor events, and was a second-team honoree for the balance beam.

The Florida junior was the lone NCAA gymnast to earn the maximum five All-America honors. She also had four perfect 10.0 scores during the season and was the No. 1 all-around gymnast in the NCAA.

As a sophomore, Thomas also received five All-America awards, and during her freshman season was the lone NCAA gymnast in her class to to earn four All-America spots.

Florida's Trinity Thomas scores a 10 on the floor during a gymnastics meet at Penn State in State College, Saturday, March 7, 2020. Dawn J. Sagert photo

Without a fully healthy Thomas, the Gators finished third at the SEC meet after having gone 7-0 to win the SEC regular-season dual-meet crown.

Florida was the No. 1 team in the NCAA throughout the regular season and posted an NCAA season-high 198.275 score on Feb. 26, which was Thomas' last event before being injured.

Thomas recorded two perfect 10.0 scores during the Feb. 26 meet and helped the Gators clinch the Southeastern Conference regular-season title. Without Thomas able to perform in each event as usual, Florida lost the SEC Tournament Championship to Alabama.

Reach Rob Rose at rrose@yorkdispatch.com.