The Pittsburgh Regional was supposed to be a walk in the park for Florida gymnastics. With the squad on a roll, all the Gators needed to do was stick their routines, and a ticket to the NCAA semifinals in Forth Worth was all but assured.
But the narrative changed on Friday when star Trinity Thomas had to stop her floor routine early with a leg injury. And even when it looked like Florida would still cruise through regionals, the Gators had to leave one last bit of drama before escaping Pittsburgh.
Florida Gymnastics: Not like this
Florida lists Thomas as day-to-day after leaving the floor exercise during her routine on Friday. The Gators were still able to cruise to a team score of 197.875 to take the top spot heading into the Regional Final on Sunday. Kayla Dicello powered the Gators with an all-around score of 39.800, including a perfect ten on the uneven bars.
Sunday’s Regional Final featured California, Arizona State, and Michigan State. Florida just needed to finish in the top two to advance to Fort Worth.
After a team score of 49.575 on the uneven bars and 49.600 on the balance beam, Florida led with a score of 99.175 to Michigan State’s 98.900, California’s 98.800, and Arizona State’s 98.750.
Then the floor exercise happened, and things tightened up. The Gatos had to eat a team score of 49.325 after two out-of-bounds routines forced them to incorporate a 9.750 into their score.
Florida still led heading into the final rotation, aided by Michigan State imploding itself on the vault.
But Florida didn’t close the meet convincingly and was forced to use a 9.750 for their vault score for an even lower team score of 49.300.
The Gators ended the meet with a team score of 197.800 and survived to finish in second place ahead of Michigan State’s 197.650. Leanne Wong ultimately led the Gators with an all-around score of 39.775.
As they say during March Madness, survive and advance is all that matters. Florida gymnastics has two weeks to regroup, and depending on the severity of the injury to Thomas, everything could still be in play for the Gators.
Florida will be joined in Forth Worth with Oklahoma, Kentucky, Utah, UCLA, California, LSU, and Denver.