DULUTH, Ga. – An average vault rotation gave way to three stellar events for the University of Florida on Saturday night, earning the Gators their second-straight SEC Gymnastics Championship title.
The SEC regular season champions were the only team to surpass the coveted 198 mark on Saturday, besting second place finisher Alabama by half a point – 198.425 to 197.925.
As the No. 1 seed, Florida rotated in Olympic order and started on vault, where they earned a 49.375 with only two scores of 9.9 or above. Although a couple tenths lower than their season high, it was a formidable start for the team that was highlighted by a powerful Yurchenko 1.5 from Sloane Blakely, who would go on to win a share of the SEC title with her 9.950.
The Gators put together their best rotation of the night on bars (49.700), where they are ranked second nationally. All six athletes posted marks of 9.0 or better, including two 9.95s from Leanne Wong and Victoria Nguyen and a 10.0 from Trinity Thomas, who also secured the SEC bars title with a stunning set that included a stuck double layout dismount.
The Gators’ beam lineup posted a season-high 49.675 in the third rotation, once again seeing every counting score go 9.9 or above. Wong won the beam title with a 9.975.
In the final rotation, the team put the cherry on top of a convincing win, securing its fourth 198+ meet of the season. Thomas earned her second 10 of the night to win the event and secure back-to-back SEC all-around titles, and in the anchor spot, freshman Kayla DiCello earned the second-best mark of the rotation with a 9.950.
It wasn’t a surprising win; mathematically, the Gators were favored from the start, but both Alabama and LSU have gone 198+ this season, with the latter having defeated Florida earlier in the season. An upset was in the realm of possibility.
Alabama edged LSU for second, tying its season-high on vault with a 49.525. The Tigers recorded a sub-49 on vault (48.900) – a season low and their only vault rotation of the season that failed to reach that telling threshold.
Individually, the Gators led the field with Thomas winning bars, floor, and the all-around, Wong winning beam, and Blakely tying for the vault title with Gabby Gladieux (Alabama), Cassie Stevens (Auburn), and Jocelyn Moore (Mizzou).
Auburn won the afternoon session with a 197.100 – good for fifth overall.
2023 SEC Gymnastics Championships Team Results