no. 2 Florida Sets Season Opening High to Start 2023 with Quad Win
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Preseason No. 2 Gators gymnastics used its highest season opening total to begin 2023 with a quad meet win Friday in front of a sellout Exactech Arena at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center crowd. Florida posted a 197.75, followed by West Virginia (194.925), Ball State (194.10) and Lindenwood (193.125).
Tonight’s crowd of 8,502 is the third-highest season opener in the program’s 51-season history. UF sold out 11 of last 14 meets.
Florida gymnasts swept the meet event titles, including Super Senior Trinity Thomas winning each of the three events she competed. Among those winning marks was a balance beam 10.0 – joining Bridget Sloan (2015 / vault) as the only Gators to open a season with a perfect mark.
Who else but Trinity Thomas for the first 10 of the season 🤩
It’s Thomas’ 21st perfect 10 of her career. #ThatsaW @GatorsGym | @espnW pic.twitter.com/a2UckVEL1M
— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) January 7, 2023
The Gators sweep included freshman Kayla DiCello’s all-around win. Her total of 39.475 is the highest ever for a Gator freshman in her collegiate opener. This is the second consecutive season a Gator freshman opened the season with an all-around win. Sloane Blakely won the 2022 opener with UF’s then collegiate opening leading total of 39.45.
Just like in 2022, All-American Trinity Thomas started the season off with a win on vault at 9.925. Fellow Super Senior Rachel Baumann was impressive in her Gator debut, opening her UF campaign with a 9.9 vault to take second.
A 49.625 set Florida’s season-opening team total for uneven bars as the Gators first five routines went 9.9 or better. Thomas and Leanne Wong shared the meet title at 9.95. DiCello completed the bars sweep at 9.925.
Thomas finished her night with a 10.0 on balance beam. It was the 21stSt 10.0 of her career, moving her to a three-way tie for No. 6 among the all-time NCAA 10.0 leaders. Junior Ellie Lazzari and freshman Kayla DiCello shared second at 9.9.
Baumann finished her first meet representing the Orange & Blue with a 9.925 to win the floor exercise. The other transfer from Georgia, junior Victoria Nguyen, set her collegiate floor best of 9.90 to take second. DiCello took third at 9.875 to give UF a floor sweep.
Five made their Gators debuts Friday.
.@rachelbaumann_ shows off her chomp on floor ➡️ 9.925 pic.twitter.com/Ioy9gg47kR
— Gators Gymnastics (@GatorsGym) January 7, 2023
GATOR PERFORMANCE NOTES:
- Florida’s 197.75 is its all-time high in a season opener. This is the fifth consecutive year Florida reset its season-opening best (2022: 197.675; 2021: 197.50; 2020: 197.35; 2019: 197.30)
- In the last five meets she competed, Thomas earned seven 10.0s – 2022 NCAA Regional semi (UB, FX), NCAA Regional final (V, FX), NCAA Semi (FX), NCAA Final (FX) and 2023 opener (BB) . There’s a Gym Slam in the span.
- Of the known 1,132 10.0s in NCAA history, Thomas’ beam 10.0 is the 24th in a season opener. Two of the 24 were by Gators – Thomas (beam/2023) and Bridget Sloan (vault/2015).
- DiCello is the seventh since 1986 to win the all-around in her first collegiate meet, joining Blakely (2022), Kytra Hunter (2012), Ashanee Dickerson (2010), Melanie Sinclair (2007), Corey Hartung (2006) and Melissa Miller (1986).
- Morgan Hurd’s Collegiate debut tonight marked 579 days since her last competition (2021 US Championships). An anterior cruciate ligament tear discovered just prior to enrolling at Florida for the spring 2022 semester sidelined her last season.
- Hurd is the second World Championships all-around champion to compete as a collegiate. The first? Gator Great Bridget Sloan (2013-16). Hurd won the 2017 World Championships all-around and Sloan was the 2009 champion.
- For the second consecutive season, a Baumann won the floor exercise in Florida’s season opener. Tonight, graduate transfer Rachel Baumann used a 9.925 to win floor in her first meet with the Gators after competing for Georgia the past four seasons. Her elder sister, Alyssa Baumannopened her Super Senior season with her collegiate-best 9.975 to start 2022 with a floor win.
- In the beginning of her eighth season as head of Florida’s program, tonight’s result pushes Jenny Rowland‘s regular-season coaching record to 100-14-1. She owns a 159-30-1 record in all meetings.
- The three event wins pushed Thomas’ school-record total of wins to 116. She is the only Gator with more than 100 event wins.
- Two marks tonight by UF returners equaled or set collegiate bests:
- Transfer Victoria Nguyen also turned in a collegiate-best of 9.90 on floor. She last competed floor in her freshman opener versus Missouri (9.85).
Coach Rowland Said:
“Really thankful for Gator Nation for showing up for our first sell out of the year. Excited and thankful for everybody coming to support Gators gymnastics.
“Just really proud of this team. We had lots of highs. We had a few struggles here and there. We’re going to continue to have ups and we’re going to have downs. Liked the way that they handled themselves and showed that they had each other’s back.
“Extremely proud for them, continuing to take their steps forward and really celebrating the present. That is what we were focusing on today is to really make the most of this moment.” – Florida Head Coach Jenny Rowland
RECORDS: Florida (3-0, 0-0 SEC), West Virginia (2-1), Ball State (1-2), Lindenwood (0-3)
THE SERIES: Florida leads WVU 34-1 and Ball State 5-0. This was the first meeting between Florida and Lindenwood.
Florida – Florida is No. 2 in the preseason Women’s Collegiate Gymnastics Association preseason poll.
The top two Southeastern Conference teams from 2022 open league action when four-time league champion Florida plays host to runner-up Auburn. When these two teams closed league action at Auburn in 2022, they tied at 198.575.
When: Friday, Jan. 13 at 7:15 pm ET
Venue: Exactech Arena at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center
Live Scores: StatBroadcast
Tickets: Sold out
Purchase tickets to future home meets at FloridaGators.com/Tickets
|Preseason no. 2 Florida versus Ball State, Lindenwood, West Virginia
Final Team Totals
|Jan. 6, 2023 ● Exactech Arena at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center (8,502 – sellout)|