Back in the day, this was the meet to watch in college gymnastics, as much for the coaches as for the gymnastics. While both programs have had their ups and downs since the retirement of their legendary coaches, this is still one of the premier rivalries in our sport and one of the best matchups of the weekend.
Alabama is probably the favorite in this meet given the higher ranking and the home arena advantage, but Georgia is very capable of taking advantage of any mistakes made by the Crimson Tide. However, the GymDogs have recently lost their second gymnast of the season to an Achilles tear, so depth is being tested.
Alabama has been occasionally inconsistent on beam this year, but Luisa Blanco has been a bright spot. She’ll be looking to replicate her 9.95 performance from last week against Kentucky. On the Georgia side, Sabrina Vega has returned to the all around with a 39.45 scored against Florida last week, but the team put up a sub-49 score on bars. They’ll want to improve on that in order to have a chance to upset Alabama, but more importantly to have a chance at making nationals.
Rotation One: Alabama Vault, Georgia Bars
Well, it looks like this basketball game is running long so I guess I’m switching to my Roku instead of watching on actual television…le sigh.
And according to my Roku, the stream hasn’t started yet. Can gymnastics coverage please make its way into the 21st century? So I guess I’m waiting for this basketball game to finish. Sorry, y’all.
Burgess VT: Didn’t see this one thanks to the basketball game, but apparently she had a stuck landing. 9.825
Lukacs UB: Only saw the second half of the routine…she had some leg separation on her DLO but I didn’t really see anything else. 9.775
Desch VT: Beautiful Y-full, really nice form. Small shuffle back on the landing. 9.875
Hattaway UB: Late on her full turn, some form issues on her Gienger. Almost goes over on her bail but saves it! A little short on final handstand. DLO with a ton of distance but manages to stick it. 9.8 feels high
Mahoney VT: Huge, beautiful Y-full, though she takes a sizeable hop back. Still great, though. 9.825
Vega UB: Nice toe shoot, beautiful Gienger. Some leg separation on the Pak but overall she’s improved this routine a lot. FTDT with some form issues and a sideways hop. Nice routine for her. 9.8
Blanco VT: Another beautiful Y-full for Bama, a small hop on the landing. That was a very pretty vault! 9.825…not enough separation from Mahoney in my opinion.
Roberts UB: Beautiful Maloney, a little archy on her bail but corrects it quickly. Great DLO! She looks thrilled. 9.85
Olsen VT: WOW. One of her better double fulls. She landed it upright and only had a slight slide back. 9.9
De Jong UB: Falls on her Ray, which is a shame because it was looking beautiful. On replay it looks like she was too close to the bar by a hair. She gets back on…her bail is a little uncontrolled, but she has a gorgeous, stuck DLO. 9.0
Graber VT: HUGE Y-1.5 but she overpowers it and has to take a very large hop forward. 9.9…what? Interesting score.
Oakley UB: Catches her Jaeger too close and then goes over on her next handstand and hops off, so UGA will be counting a fall. Not the start they wanted, obviously. She bends her legs on her Pak and hops off again, then she salutes and ends her routine. It’s possible she may have tweaked her shoulder again. She gets a 7.8 for that.
After 1: Alabama 49.325, Georgia 48.225
Obviously that was not the start that UGA (or any fan of college gymnastics) wanted, and it’s even worse if Oakley is injured again. We’ll have to see how they can recover during the rest of the meet. Meanwhile, Alabama is looking solid so far.
Rotation Two: Georgia Vault, Alabama Bars
Magee VT: Nice Y-full, not super high so she had to pike it a bit. Sizeable hop on the landing. 9.8
Childers UB: Good Maloney, well controlled bail. Nice handstands. Chest a little down on her dismount and she has some form issues in the air. Small hop forward. 9.85
Ward VT: Tsuk full, some leg separation before the landing but otherwise solid. 9.825
Gaskins UB: A little short on her full handstand. Nice Maloney. Some leg separation on her Pak. Beautiful DLO, only has to take a small hop back. 9.8
Roberts VT: Too soft on the block, manages to get the 1.5 all the way around but she falls forward, unfortunately. 9.25
Graber UB: Nice Gienger, a little leg separation. Gorgeous bail! FTDT with a small hop forward. Nice routine! 9.8
Vega VT: Some soft knees on her Y-full, but great landing, nearly stuck with only a small slide back. 9.825
Dickson UB: Nice handstands throughout, and her Ray is as huge as ever. Half in half out dismount with a step back. 9.825
Hawthorne VT: Really clean Y-full with a hop back. 9.85
Mahoney UB: Nice handstands and bail, really well controlled. A little low on her Tkatchev then quite short on her last handstand. Beautiful FTDT, by far the best one of the competition so far. Stuck, of course! 9.9
Lukacs VT: Yurchenko double, which seems to be surprising to the commentators so I guess she had been planning to do a full. Her usual slight form issues, but it’s still a really good vault. Small step back. 9.875
Doggette UB: Maybe a bit short on her first handstand. HUGE Tkatchev into a great Pak! She mistimed her DLO and overrotated it a little, has to take a large step back. Her potential is so exciting. 9.85
After 2: Alabama 98.550, Georgia 97.400
To be honest, both teams have a lot to clean up before postseason hits, including Alabama, despite the huge lead over UGA halfway through the meet. That was a nice bounce back vault rotation from the GymDogs, not perfect but at least they didn’t have to count a fall. Let’s see how the last two rotations go.
Rotation Three: Alabama Beam, Georgia Floor
Klopfer BB: Opens with a wolf turn. Front aerial BHS, very nice. Beat jump straddle half, solid. Cat leap side aerial, right on. RO 1.5 and nearly sticks it, takes a hop back. Really great opening routine. 9.875
Perez-Lugones FX: Beautiful double pike to start, very controlled in her lunge. Layout half to front layout, super solid. Nice leaps. Double tuck to finish, super. Great routine! 9.85
Gaskins BB: Candle mount, holds it well. Side aerial to beat jump with some hesitation in between. Gorgeous split half. BHS LOSO, she was off from the start and she ends up falling. Beautiful splits on her leaps. Gainer full dismount with a tiny step. 9.2
Magee FX: Piked full-in to open, lands with her chest low. Back 1.5 to front layout, solid. Double pike to close, very low landing and has to take a large step forward. 9.75
Olsen BB: Nice split positions in her opening leaps! BHS LOSO, solid. Front aerial with soft knees. BHS BHS double pike, small hop forward but WOW. 9.85
Roberts FX: HUGE piked full-in, barely stays in bounds. Front layout to front full, not super clean but she controls it well. Really nice double pike to close. 9.825
Doggette BB: Slight check after her full turn. BHS LOSO, solid. Beat jump to switch side half, wow. Side aerial back full with a small step. It’s great to see her back in the lineup! 9.85
Hawthorne FX: Great double pike with a small hop back. Front leg is a little low on one of her leaps. Front layout to Rudi to split jump, again the front leg is a little low but the tumbling was nice. Double tuck, high and beautiful but another hoppy landing. 9.875 feels a little bit high but I can’t say I’m mad about it.
Blanco BB: Front aerial is gorgeous. BHS LOSO with a rather large check. Beautiful leaps but with another check. Great double twist with a slight left foot movement after the landing. 9.9 is definitely high after multiple checks and a non-stuck landing.
Lukacs FX: DLO is stuck, who needs a controlled lunge? I missed her combo pass but the end of it looked well controlled. Good extension on her leaps. Double pike to close, great routine! 9.9 is UGA’s first 9.9+ score of the night, which isn’t a great stat.
Graber BB: BHS back layout with a large check. Her back leg is a little low on her first leap. Cat leap to a Liukin, solid. Gainer full dismount, stuck! So Bama will drop the fall. 9.825
Vega FX: Full-in to open, maybe a little bit of a low landing but she sells it. Back 1.5 to front layout, solid. Her leaps are her usual gorgeousness. Double pike to finish, great. 9.9
After 3: Alabama 147.850, Georgia 146.750
Alabama will be very happy that they managed to drop Gaskins’ 9.2 early in the lineup after having to count falls a couple times so far this year. On the flip side, Georgia is not having a great meet. It isn’t just the falls, it’s a lot of little things that need to be cleaned up by postseason or else a Nationals trip is going to become more unlikely.
Rotation Four: Alabama Floor, Georgia Beam
Magee BB: Wow, her leaps are gorgeous! BHS LOSO LOSO, solid. RO 1.5 dismount with a small step back. Nice routine to start! 9.875
Olsen FX: Double double to open, takes a couple small steps but otherwise super solid. Good split positions on her leaps. Front tuck through to double tuck, lands a little short and takes a small hop forward. 9.825
Hawthorne BB: BHS LOSO, beautiful! I’m going to have dreams about her switch split jump tonight. She hesitated a little too long between her front toss and her Sissone. RO 1.5 to finish with a small hop back. 9.825
Blanco FX: Gorgeous double pike to open, well controlled. Her first leap made Kathy squeal so you know it’s gotta be good. Beautiful double tuck for her second pass. Front full to front layout to arabesque, Kathy is fawning and I can’t say I disagree. 9.925
Lukacs BB: Super solid front toss. BHS LOSO with some bent legs. Pretty solid leaps. Double tuck dismount with a large step back. 9.825
Mahoney FX: Gorgeous, high double tuck to open. Front full to front layout, great. I can’t believe this is her last performance in Tuscaloosa. Double pike, amazing landing, nearly sticks it! I’m not crying, you’re crying. Kathy to Bart: “You’re going to have to call this beam routine, that just made me cry.” It’s a 9.9.
De Jong BB: Beautiful leaps to open. Front aerial to beat jump with a slight check. BHS LOSO and I don’t know how she saved that, it looked like she was going to come off. Small hop on her dismount. 9.75
Desch FX: Double pike, really well controlled. It’s also her last routine in Coleman, which like…how is that possible? Back 1.5 to front half to split jump to front tuck, love it. Double tuck to close, she moved her front foot a little on the lunge but otherwise solid. 9.925
Baumann BB: Side aerial LOSO, solid with some slight knee bend. Big check after her full turn. Hitch kick to switch side, great. RO 1.5, STUCK! 9.9
Graber FX: Great full-in to open! Nice leap series. Front tuck through to double pike, wow. Great routine! 9.925
Vega BB: Small check after her leaps. Front aerial to split jump with a check in between. OMG HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL is playing in the background, I’m in heaven. BHS LOSO with some definite leg bend. Side aerial back full, STUCK! Nice way to end the meet for UGA. 9.875
Doggette FX: FTDT to open, very high! Maybe some slight movement from the front leg on the lunge. Kathy thinks she’s a little shy of 180 on her first leap, I’m not sure if I agree. Front tuck through to a double tuck, very nice. So happy she’s competing floor again! 9.925 gives Bama a new season high score on floor.
Final: Alabama 197.450, Georgia 196.050
This wasn’t quite the tense back-and-forth rivalry meet we all wanted, with UGA counting a fall early on, but there were a lot of highlights for both teams. From my quick math, it doesn’t look like either team will move up in the NQS rankings, though Alabama does increase their total slightly. Georgia still has a 196.3 road score to drop; SECs will be their last chance to do so.
VT Winners: Olsen, Graber (9.900)
UB Winner: Mahoney (9.900)
BB Winners: Blanco, Baumann (9.900)
FX Winners: Blanco, Desch, Graber, Doggette (9.925)
AA Winner: Graber (39.450)
Live blog by Jenna King
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