Friday Night Heights is back with the first regular season meet of the year as No. 16 Missouri faces off against No. 10 Georgia in Athens. These two programs did not compete against each other at all in 2020, but this will be the first of two meets in 2021 with the SEC competing a conference-only schedule. Their second matchup is scheduled to take place on Feb. 26 in Missouri.
The teams have both lost significant contributors and will look to their freshman and sophomore classes to pick up the slack. Last year’s SEC Event Specialist of the Year, Helen Hu, is sidelined for the season with a torn ACL and meniscus for Missouri. The Tigers will be relying on freshmen like Jena Swanson in Hu’s absence. The Tigers come in with 12 underclassmen on the roster. The team also welcomed a transfer from Alabama, Macy Orosco, who could play a role in a couple lineups as well.
Georgia will be looking to see more contributions from their sophomore and junior athletes. The team welcomed three newcomers for 2021. Elite standout Victoria Nguyen is likely to make her collegiate debut. Georgia has also posted training clips of improved vaulting and potential 10.0 SV vaults from Megan Roberts and Mikayla Magee. It should be an exciting matchup and a preview of what’s to come in the SEC.
Here we go….. time for some NCAA Gym competition action for the first time in a long time!
Looks like Rachael Lukacs is out for the evening, so Georgia will be testing some depth with their sophomore, junior and senior classes. Nguyen is the only freshman getting competition action today, but we won’t see her on her signature event, beam, tonight. It’s a debut to look forward to in future weeks. Emily Schild missed all of 2020 (except for 1 bar routine), but will return to the bars and beam lineup. Cashman is scheduled to compete on the bars, after her 2020 season ended early with a torn achilles.
— Mizzou Gymnastics (@MizzouGym) January 8, 2021
Alisa Sheremeta appears to be absent from the lineups tonight. Swanson will get the call on three events, but is not projected to go on the beam. Freshman Amaya Marshall will also appear on three events tonight for the Tigers.
Rotation 1: Georgia VT, Missouri UB
Missouri is starting on the bars and will aim to be aggressive with their handstands and showcase good form. Georgia will be on the vault where we should see 10.0 SV’s from Mikayla Magee, Megan Roberts and Abbey Ward.
Baumann (Georgia): FTY, slight leg separation, good landing with a slight hop. 9.775
Hufendiek (Miz): Short on first handstand, blind half to jaeger, bail to handstand, short, nice final handstand, blind full to double tuck, sticks it. 9.725
Update: Sheremeta is out due to COVID related issues.
De Jong (Georgia): FTY, first career appearance and she sticks it. 9.7
Scores are very slow tonight.
Christensen (Miz): Mounts high bar, Blind full to tkatchev, flexed feet, slightly short on bail to handstand, blind full to double tuck dismount, stuck. 9.85 Career high
Nguyen (Georgia): FTY, the much awaited debut!, apparently she is in the AA tonight…, hop and step back on landing. 9.7
Marshall (Miz): Short on handstand, HUGE blind change to jaeger, bail to low, short on final handstand, half-in half out dismount, small hop. 9.8
Magee (Georgia): Y1.5, she sticks it! 9.925. Career High.
Swanson (Miz): Missed the start, form issues on pak salt, , half-in-half out, squats down and takes a step. 9.7
Ward (Georgia): Tsuk full, takes a large hop back, could work on high here. 9.725
Patrick (Miz): good first handstand, blind change to jaeger, bail to handstand, leg separation, good final handstand, DLO ,legs glued together in the air, step on landing. 9.8
Roberts (Georgia): Y1.5, messy in the air and does take a step back on one foot. Takes a step forward on the other.
Orosco: Ray, good, shootover, beautiful final handstand, DLO, messy legs and lands close to the bar. 9.85
Lukacs is out with a broken finger.
On another note.. It isn’t NCAA season until the live score stat page doesn’t update.
Mikayla Magee’s stuck Y1.5 was the highlight of the rotation. Macy Orosco had success on the bars for Missouri anchoring with a 9.85.
AFTER ONE: Georgia 48.875, Missouri 49.025
Rotation 2: Missouri VT, Georgia UB
Missouri is on the vault where they were successful last season, but lacked 10.0 start values. Swanson is expected to compete a Y1.5 here, in addition to Kambrie Brandt’s front pike half and McCrary’s Y1.5. Georgia will be on the bars, where they struggled much of the 2020 season with consistency. It’ll be interesting to see how the newcomers make an impact.
Schreiber (Miz): FTY, pikes down and takes a hop backwards. 9.6
Cashman (Georgia): First routine since her achilles tear, Tkatchev, form issues, bail to handstand, DlO, leans forward and takes a small step forward.
Hufendiek (Miz): FTY, does not get a great block off the table, but has good distance. Chest is low on landing.9.6
Schild (Georgia): Beautiful first handstand, ray, good, bail to handstand, nice final handstand.. it was going well.. she may have hit her foot on the bars with the DLO dismount. Stumbles forward and puts hand down. 9.6
Marshall (Miz): FTY, has to pike down and take a step. 9.7
De Jong (Georgia): good first handstand, ray, short on handstand before the bail, DLO, takes a small hop back. 9.7
McCrary (Miz): Only does the FTY tonight, good height and does take a hop. 9.7
Roberts (Georgia): mounts low bar, toe-on, Maloney, arches final handstand, DlO, small step. 9.875
Swanson (Miz): Y1.5, good distance, has to take a step back and does squat low on the landing. 9.7
Nguyen (Georgia): mounts high, cast to handstand, good, pak salt, form issues, Maloney, form, geinger, more form improvements, sticks the dlo. 9.95.. very surprised it’s this high.
Okay, Missouri is only vaulting 5.. Gottula seems “physically upset.”
Oakley (Georgia): piked jaeger, pak salto, up to high bar, good handstand, dlo, stuck. One of her best ones.
Also, Baumann is training for bars.. Maybe will see a Baumann AA battle at some point this season.
AFTER TWO: Georgia 98.200, Missouri 97.325
Missouri took a hit to their lead after some piked FTY on vault. They only vaulted 5 and were unable to drop a 9.6. Georgia looks much improved on the bars this season.
Rotation 3: Georgia BB, Missouri FX
There is nothing like watching the debut of floor choreography in the first week of NCAA gym. Plus with Sabrina Vega graduating, this rotation should reveal which Georgia gymnast will continue the moonwalk tradition in 2021.
The Tigers will go on the floor, where endurance will be key at the point in the season. While the Gymdogs hope to diminish their past week one struggles on the beam by staying on the apparatus with minimal errors.
Magee (Georgia): straddle jump to straddle half, good, Bhs loso loso, nicely done, full turn, RO 1.5, small hop forward. Good start for Georgia. 9.85
Gottulu (Miz): So she is competing here after not going on vault. Starts with a double tuck, short on leap pass, half twist to a Rudi, double pike, chest slightly low.. okay Bridget Sloan says it was nice and up. 9.675
Perez-Lugones (Georgia): First college beam routine, mounts with a front punch! I love it, full turn, front walkover to switch to straddle `1/4, Bhs loso, slight wobble, Gainer full. That was a nice beam set. Happy to see her in the lineup. 9.8
Swanson (Miz): Double Pike, good in air, adjusts footing on landing, switch half to wolf jump, Front double full, almost slips but saves it, Front lay to from to full, large step forward. 9.775
Oakley (Georgia) : Wolf Turn to Split on the beam, bhs bhs loso, huge wobble on landing, gainer full, small hop back. 9.675
Schreiber (Miz): Only competes 2 passes, double pike, nicely done, Rudi to back loso, I love that pass ands does it nicely, way under on her leap pass. That’ll be a large deduction. 9.725
Nguyen (Georgia): Ahh we didn’t think we would see her here after the meet notes.. but here we are! back handspring to the beam mount, onodi to side aerial, slow on connection, L (Memmel) turn, I love the difficulty she is bringing here, beat jump to ring, gorgeous, bhs 1.5, small hop. She’s going to be huge for Georgia. 9.85
Marshall (Miz): front tuck through to back double pike, ring leap to switch half, bad camera angle to see split, back 1.5. to front punch I think for that second pass, teammates were in the way there, ends with a double tuck, chest slightly low. 9.8
De Jong (Georgia): full turn, beautiful on her leaps, front aerial to beat jump, bhs loso, solid, split half, under rotated, side aerial to full, squats down low and takes a hop back. 9.7
McCrary (Miz): Front lay to 1.5, form issues in the twist, also only doing 2 passes here tonight, Double pike, sticks the landing, good straddle jumps. That felt like a quick routine. 9.85
Baumann (Georgia): Side Aerial loso, wobbles has to turn her hips, but stays on, beat jump to switch side, gorgeous, RO 1.5. dismount, has to swing the arms but doesn’t move her feet. 9.65
Missouri is scratching their final competitor on Floor.
Missouri’s underclassman showed up tonight on the Floor and are an indication of the bright future for this team. They do seem to be short on depth during this meet though. Nguyen had a good career start on the BB. Baumann had an unexpected wobble, but Georgia had it’s best Week 1 BB & UB performance in years.
AFTER THREE: Georgia 147.075, Missouri 146.150
Rotation 4: Missouri BB, Georgia FX
Alright, Georgia seems to be running away with this meet. Beam is where the absence of Helen Hu will play the biggest role for Mizzou. Likewise, Vega’s standout routine for the gym dogs and the absence of Rachel Lukacs will be missed.
Speaking of Sabrina Vega, she is here in attendance.
McCrary (Miz): Front toss to beat jump, good Bhs loso, nice height and good landing, Full turn, Split jump to double stag jump, nice, Gainer Pike dismount, stuck. One, if not the, best beam routine of the night so far. 9.725, okay maybe I missed something there.
Magee (Georgia): Piked Full-In, good, nice leap pass, 1.5. to front lay to stag, beautiful, double pike, good. Great leadoff on Floor.
Christensen (Miz): Nothing like watching a senior making their debut on a lineup, Bhs loso, good, falls off the beam on her jump, cat leap to side aerial to back full, small hop back. 9.050
Austin(Georgia): Tuck Full-in, chest low on landing, these camera’s keep getting in the way during the leap passes, front full to front lay, Love the unique jumps, double tuck, short, lands with chest down and stumbles forward.
Patrick (Miz): another first career performance here, bhs loso, good, cat leap to side aerial, full turn, looks like she twisted her ankle when she went to go for her leap and she’s also off the beam. RO 1.5 twist, small step. 8.975
Hawthorne (Georgia): She’s dealing with an eye issue. Has a prince routine. double pike, step back, front lay to Rudi to split jump. Love the energy she brings to her dance, Double tuck, short of rotation and does takes a step forward.
Gottula (Miz): Bhs bhs loso, good, full turn, nice, good on her jumps, cartwheel gainer full, small step back.
Nguyen (Georgia): Completing her debut In the AA here. Also only doing 2 passes. Front double to front tuck, nicely done, Memmel turn, stumbles out of it, stunning ring leap, Double pike, great landing. 9.85
Schaffer (Miz): good full turn, Bhs loso loso, fights to stay on, front aerial to beat jump, nice, short on leaps, the nerves are there, RO 1.5, stuck. 9.65
Perez-Lugones (Georgia): Double Pike, she’s one of my favorite performers in NCAA Gym, Back half to front lay. Could improve on her leaps, double tuck and takes a hop OOB.
Schreiber (Miz): Full turn, good, Bhs loso loso, solid, switch leap 1/2 to split jump. Gainer full, stuck. 9.9
Baumann (Georgia): Triple wolf turn, well done, Double Arabian, step forward, Back 1.5 to Front full to shushunova. gorgeous leap pass. 9.875
Missouri put up many newcomers to the beam lineup tonight. There’s a lot of room to grow and they will look to increase confidence in their athletes as the season goes on. Georgia had one of their best debut’s in a long time and will look to continue to expand on that as the season continues.
FINAL: Georgia 196.150 , Missouri 194.250
Well first competition is out of the gate for these teams and COVID-19 arguments aside, it was nice to watch some gymnastics. Both teams showcased their potential, even without top athletes Rachel Lukacs and Helen Hu. Nguyen was the star of the night and will be the AA winner. It’ll be interesting to see how lineups evolve over the next few weeks and if will eventually see Baumann in the AA.
Georgia will be at the No. 1 Florida Gators next week at 6:15 p.m. Missouri will be hosting their home opener against the No. 6 Alabama Crimson Tide at 8 p.m.
Team Title: Georgia: 196.150
VT Winner: Mikayla Magee (Georgia) 9.925
UB Winner: Victoria Nguyen (Georgia) 9.95
BB Winner: Sienna Schreiber (Miz) 9.9
FX Winner: Rachel Baumann (Georgia) 9.875
AA Winner: Victoria Nguyen (Georgia) 39.400
Live blog by Katie Walsh
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