The rivalry continues as the Gym Dogs take on the Crimson Tide for a match up between two storied programs. It’s the third meeting in a week’s time for these schools as Georgia’s men’s basketball team took the W last weekend while Alabama football defeated the Bulldogs in the national championship Monday.
But most importantly, the meet marks the return of storied coach Suzanne Yoculan to Tuscaloosa. Wait—she’s just, like, a volunteer or something, but we all know it’s the Suzanne show or bust. But that’s not to overshadow Courtney Kupets Carter, who will be making her debut as head coach of her former team.
It will be the second meet of the season for the Tide, who are coming off a rather rough performance in Ann Arbor, losing to Michigan and only managing a team score in the 195s. Endurance was a big factor in the loss, so look for that to be improved, or even changes to the lineups, throughout the meet. Georgia, on the other hand, will kick off its 2018 season. However, the team is severely depleted. Junior Gracie Cherrey medically retired this week while the freshman class of four is in various stages of hurt—Madison McPhearson is out for the season, Ashley Foss is working her way back from an Achilles tear, Emily Schild sufferred a preseason knee injury and Marissa Oakley, the closest to 100 percent, is battling shoulder pain. And that’s not to mention the other bumps and bruises the veterans are feeling, such as Jordyn Pedersen’s recently separated shoulder and Sydney Snead’s ongoing back issues.
But enough about broken things. Let’s get things started.
Alabama in its pretty ombre leos—one of my faves—and Georgia in its ones with the gigantic bulldog on the back, which…aren’t my faves.
Rotation One: Alabama vault, Georgia bars
Wynter Childers: FTY with a hop back, some form in the air, 9.775
Maddie Desch: FTY, comes in short, looked like she was trying to stick and hopped forward, something’s weird and one of the judges didn’t see her vault….. like that’s your job?
Maddie Desch… again: FTY, nice form in the air, just a hop better, much better, but apparently there will be a deduction for going again, 9.250 (got a five-tenth deduction)
#NCAAGym should just be canceled tonight. Too many weird things happening.
— Kali K. (@goingbacktokali) January 13, 2018
Abby Armbrecht: Y1.5, a bit short so she takes a step back and to the side, slight knees in the air, 9.825
Shea Mahoney: FTY hop back but clean in the air, a tad crunched on the table, 9.800
Lexi Graber: Y1.5, lands lock-legged and falls, and she’s hurt, hobbling off, 9.300
Nickie Guerrero: Y1.5, her normal form in the air but sticks the landing, not a ton of excitement from the team or crowd, where are you this is Alabama vs. Georgia—wake up! 9.900
Lauren Johnson: missed first handstand, gienger with some leg form, hit a nice shoot over and a stuck double lay, Georgia only putting up five on bars tonight, 9.750
Marissa Oakley: toe-on shaposh to pak, half pirouette directly on the bar, toe-on to immediate double tuck with a small hop back but a really nice routine from the freshman, she will be a star on the event in the future for Georgia, 9.800
Vaculik: THAT GEINGER THO, slight leg sep, small things here and there but she’s a Vaculik so who cares? normal crazy legs on the dismount, 9.825
Snead: clear hip hand to Tkatchev nice, shoot over with very slight form, double layout a bit short and piked and has to take a couple of steps, 9.850 still
Dickson: Ray huge and nice, clean shoot over, misses the last handstand, nice double layout with a small hop back but a good routine and Georgia will be happy, Alicia I attempted those in my… days of trying to do bars… 9.875, Georgia goes up 0.025 with each routine which is kind of cool? Almost makes you want them to put up a sixth just for kicks
Georgia 49.125, Alabama: 48.600
So that was fun? Apparently we forgot how to gymnastics tonight, but I’m here for the drama. Alabama obviously rough, even without the weird Desch disutation. Georgia put up five and did well with it, building scores throughout the lineup.
I high key hope Georgia's beam is just Courtney doing six routines
— Lauren Hopkins (@LaurenHopkins96) January 13, 2018
Rotation Two: Georgia Vault, Alabama Bars
Sabrina Vega: FTY, some form in the air and a biggish hop back but solid, 9.775
Marissa Oakley: really nice FTY, small hop and not a TON of dismount but clean in the air, 9.725
GiGi Marino: FTY, hop back and a bit of form in the air, she’ll want to bring out the Y1.5 soon, 9.750
Lauren Johnson: why is vault such a mess tonight? but Johnson isn’t fazed because her vault was beautiful, FTY, nice form and a stick, 9.850
Rachel Dickson: FTY but gets lost in the air or something and lands like on her side? It’s a miracle she’s not hurt… 8.850
Sydney Snead: FTY, but clean form, hop back, is capable of the 1.5 and a double, 9.850
Wynter Childers: toe-on, toe-on shaposh some leg sep, maybe a tad short on her final handstand, blind to double front with a half stuck, some legs on the dismount but a nice starting routine, 9.825
Oh gosh, Alabama has the “Dynamic Diva Belt” for sticks…………
Ari Guerra: blind to straddle jaeger nice, shoot over with some leg sep, missed last handstand, double layout with a mostly stick just some heel movement, 9.900
Jennie Loeb: toe-on, toe-on shaposh, some leg sep and no back swing really, short on her shoot over, short final handstand, double lay and a hop forward, 9.725
Kylie Dickson: nice first handstand, but a tad short on shootover, toe-on, HUGE tkatchev, unusual to do so late in her routine, full-in dismount with a step back, 9.850
Kiana Winston: beautiful first handstand, toe-on to tone-on shaposh, nice pak, typical Kiana routine, and a stuck cold double layout, 9.925
Mackenzie Brannan: toe-on blind, staddle jaeger, nice shoot over, perfect last handstand, double layout slightly buckled on the landing but technically sticks it, 9.900
Georgia 48.950, Alabama 49.400
Totals: Georgia 98.075, Alabama 98.200
Kupets tells us Dickson was off on her steps, went anyway and that’s why she had the weird landing. Alabama nearly comes back from the fall on vault to pull within 0.075 of Georgia. Now the excitement happens as Alabama moves to beam and Georgia to floor and Suzanne to watching over everyone with hawk eyes.
Rotation Three: Alabama Beam, Georgia Floor
Peyton Ernst: solid bhs loso, switch to sheep fine, a little wobble on the next, ro double full with a stick, a good routine back for her, 9.825
Maddie Desch: front aerial to beat, bhs loso, full turn, switch leap split jump, bhs bhs 1.5 stuck, a nice routine just needs a tad more polish to really get those big scores, 9.875
Abby Armbrecht: totally zoned out during this routine but the important thing is she hit after being brought in last minute to replace Graber, 9.850
Wynter Childers: bhs loso slight wobble, split jump to sheep wobble, and more of a college sheep, front toss to scale, ro double full leg sep in the air and a stick, 9.875
Kiana Winston: a fave of Sacramone’s, front aerial to bhs, looked like she wanted to wobble in between but doesn’t, nice full turn, ro double tuck with a small hop-step back, 9.900
Nickie Guerrero: bhs loso loso perfect landing, switch to straddle, full turn to wobble cover up choreo, side aerial solid, ro 1.5 hop/college salute, 9.850
Jasmine Arnold: first competitive routine! double pike a tad short and a step forward, double tuck with a similar landing issue, switch ring, switch half, ro 1.5 front lay solid, a good first routine for her! 9.800
Vivi Babalis: ro whip double back, good landing, ro whip half front full, Georgia football player Sony Michel actually helped mix her floor music, ro double pike, another solid landing, better than Vivi typically does, 9.825
Rachel Dickson: big double pike to open, can do a double arabian, ro 1.5 front lay nice, really precise leap combo, really tight double tuck, ever so slightly short and steps forward, 9.825
Sydney Snead: ro whip bhs bhs back tuck solid opening, she can upgrade as well, fhs rudi to shush a la Kupets, gets her leap series around well, closes with a double pike, lands short, falls and might have gone out of bounds? 9.200
Sabrina Vega: literally busting down doors in her choreo, really solid double pike to open, ro 1.5 to front lay nice, switch ring to tour jete half, tour jete full, finishes with a double tuck, maybe slightly short but a good rebound from Snead’s fall, 9.800 seems just a tad low
GiGi Marino: was originally in the middle of the lineup but moved to the end, double pike and moves her front foot a bit, ro 1.5 front lay, tour jete half to popa, ends with a double back, crashes and her ankle is hurt but the trainers are IMMEDIATELY there so good on them, 9.0
The last thing Georgia needed was another injury. They have like 2.5 gymnasts as is.
— Hydrick Harden (@hharden85) January 13, 2018
Georgia 48.450, Alabama 49.350
Totals: Georgia 146.450, Alabama 147.350
Alabama pulls ahead after Georgia is forced to count a fall on floor. But Alabama’s beam rotation was strong in its own right, highlighted by Winston and Desch. It’s likely Alabama has this one in the bag, but we’ll wait to see if the Tide’s endurance problems have been fixed since last weekend. I’ve also noticed a lack of excitement from the crowd, which is odd for Tuscaloosa.
Rotation Four: Georgia Beam, Alabama Floor
Sydney Snead: bhs loso bhs solid, leap series spot on, front tuck with a medium wobble, ro double full with a hop forward, good enough routine to start but not great, 9.700
Marissa Oakley: wolf turn that’s actually pretty, Suzanne looks on so that’s no intimidating, switch leap to ring jump slight shoulder srop, bhs loso loso kind of undercut and fall but it looked super pretty, cartwheel gainer full, 9.175
Natalie Vaculik: weird cat leap to side aerial to fall, bhs loso solid, switch straddle quarter good, full turn, ro 1.5 with a hop forward, now Suzanne is talking to her uh oh, 9.225
You know what Georgia beam 2018 reminds me of? Georgia beam 2017.
— BalanceBeamSituation (@TheBBSituation) January 13, 2018
THEY NEED TO BRING BACK SUZANNE! oh wait… pic.twitter.com/1z2TXcasmU
— Gymtertainment (@Gymtertainment) January 13, 2018
Vivi Babalis: front aerial to loso, switch to split balance check, full turn, piked front toss to beat jump solid, front full dismount with a stick, 9.800
Rachel Dickson: showing GiGi with crutches and a wrapped ankle, but onto Dickson, front aerial switch leap sissone, solid, bhs loso and she’s off, I thought it was 2018 not 2017? bhs 1.5 stuck, nice way to end it, I would be afraid of the talk this team is getting after the meet, 9.400
Sabrina Vega: split jump mount, switch ring, wobble, bhs loso solid, full turn, cat leap front aerial beat jump nice, switch leap split quarter, moonwalk, side aerial full dismount with a small slide back and that’s a great way to end it for Georgia, 9.875
Wynter Childers: tucked full-in with chest low, double full clean, tour jete half to split full a bit wonky, fhs rudi loso SUPER low but makes it, 9.850
Maddie Desch: double pike and out of bounds, ro 1.5 front half split jump front tuck solid, switch ring to tour jete half, double tuck chest slightly full but a nice landing, 9.675
Shea Mahoney: big double pike looked like she stepped out but no flag mentioned or anything, fhs front full front lay, nice form on her leap connection, double tuck with no issues, 9.800
Abby Armbrecht: double pike with a big step back but don’t think it was out, switch side, popa, ro 1.5 front lay a bit pikey, fhs rudi, 9.825
Nickie Guerrero: nearly stuck double pike to open, siwtch side popa maybe a hair shy of all the way around, ro 1.5 front full nice, again, where is the crowd??? fhs rudi a bit of a weird landings but a nice routine overall for her, 9.800
Kiana Winston: double pike nearly stuck, rounds it out with a nearly stuck double tuck too, a nice routine for her and a great return to floor, 9.900
Georgia 48.000, Alabama, 49.175
Totals: Georgia 194.525, Alabama 196.525
So Alabama wins it despite counting a fall on vault and that weird Desch situation where Suzanne managed to distract the judge or something. Georgia wasn’t as lucky, counting three falls—two on beam, one on floor—but still rather impressively managed a mid-194. The Gym Dogs will actually have another opportunity to come out and not do what they did tonight ever again as they take on Oklahoma in their home opener Monday.
(See a pattern there?)
Live blog by Elizabeth Grimsley