LIVE BLOG: No. 30 Georgia at No. 8 Alabama

In a typical year, this would be expected to be a close contest. However, Georgia’s beam woes and bar inconsistency have left the Gymdogs at No. 30 in the country. To add insult to injury, senior Rachel Lukacs was forced to medically retire after sustaining an Achilles tear at the meet against LSU. That leaves a deep hole in the floor and vault lineups. Lukacs had finally mastered the landing on her Yurchenko one and a half posting a 9.900 in her final competition in the Stegman. It should be noted that the Bulldogs did post a season high at the Kentucky quad last weekend sans Lukacs. However, that score is nearly two points lower than Alabama’s season high 197.875 posted the next day. On the bright side, Haley DeJong is finally hitting her stride in 2022 and Rachel Baumann is capable of 10.0 gymnastics. Georgia will need a serious blunder from Alabama and another season high day to stay in this one. 

Alabama finally was firing on all cylinders last week in its win over Central Michigan and North Carolina. I’m honestly still thinking about Shania Adam’s stuck Yurchenko one and a half. It was easily the best vault of her college career. The Tide has a full lineup of 10.0 SV vaults, Makarri Doggette back on floor and one of the best all around athletes in the country in Luisa Blanco. This team is coming to play this season. Alabama did a great job of withstanding the pressure to avoid counting any mistakes last week. The Tide will need to continue that this week to post another high NQS worthy score. 

Yay! We get Samantha Peszek on the commentary mic tonight!

Rotation 1: Alabama VT, Georgia UB

Olsen (ALA): Yurchenko double full. Form is so much better! Just a hop back. 9.900

Finnegan (UGA): Ray. Nice and high. Toe hand, Pak salto. Very aggressive straddle on that. Good last handstand. FTDT with a hop back. OK. Good one. 9.825

Paradise (ALA): Yurchenko 1.5 with a sizable hop forward. Decent shape in the air. 9.850

Ward (UGA): She’s back in the lineup this week. Shaposh, Overshoot handstand. Cleaner than normal. Double layout with a step back. Sam says she should milk the landing more. Maybe so. 9.850

Adams (ALA): Yurchenko 1.5… Very short and sat it down this week. Devastating. 9.300. They’ll want to drop that score.

Lily Hudson was taken out of the vault lineup for Alabama.

Cashman (UGA): Tkatchev. Pretty low in the amplitude department. Overshoot to toe up to high bar. Double layout. Medium hop back. A perfectly fine routine. Georgia needs to stick some more landings. 9.675

Doggette (ALA): VERY large step forward on the Yurchenko 1.5. 9.825

Schild (UGA): Toe hand, Ray. Nice. Overshoot handstand. Clean so far. Double layout… Knees gave some on the landing. Two small steps back to save it. 9.750

Graber (ALA): Yurchenko 1.5. Good height with a medium step forward.

Roberts (UGA): Toe hand, Maloney, overshoot handstand. Nice smooth connection. Good last handstand. Double layout. Smallest hop back. 9.875. Nice one.

Blanco (ALA): Yurchenko 1.5. Might’ve twisted the slightest bit early. Had to take a hop step to the side to save it. Could’ve had more amplitude.

Nguyen (UGA): Welcome back to the bar lineup! Toe hand, eagle grip to Jaeger. Overshoot. Double layout. Short on the landing with a hop forward. Some handstand things in there. 9.800

AFTER ONE: Alabama 49.250, Georgia 49.100

Both teams left some tenths on the table in that rotation. Georgia had some landing problems throughout and many routines had some built in form deductions that kept the scores in the 9.8s. Alabama had no stuck landings this week either, so coach Duckworth will not be entirely thrilled with that. On the bright side, it’s nice to see that Shallon Olsen has cleaned up her vault quite a bit and is finally scoring to her potential on that event. It’s still close for now… Onto the second event!

Rotation 2: Georgia VT, Alabama UB

Cashman (UGA): Yurchenko full. Short of distance, some piking in the air. Good start for the Gymdogs. 9.825

Hudson (ALA): Toe hand, Maloney, overshoot. Some waving in the air on the shoot. Blind full, double tuck. Stuck. A little late on the blind. 9.900

Magee (UGA): Yurchenko 1.5. She flips so fast. It blows my mind every time. Not a large amount of block. Small step to the side. 9.900? I guess?

Gaskins (ALA): Maloney, Pak salto. Some legs. Late on the pirouette. Double layout. Tries to throw that head back and salute but definitely took a step. 9.775

Ward (UGA): Tsuk full. She stuck it this week! Happy for her. Some pike down. 9.875

Adams (ALA): Maloney, Pak salto. Maloney half. Blind full, double tuck. The assistant coach was blocking the screen. Step back on the replay. 9.825

Hawthorne (UGA): Huge Yurchenko full! So much height, but also a big step back. I need her to bring back the double full. 9.800

Machado (ALA): Maloney, pak salto. Toe hand, Maloney half. Pretty! Toe Blind full, double tuck. Stuck. I hope that scores big! So underrated. 9.900. Thank you judges.

Baumann (UGA): Yurchenko 1.5. I thought she stalled out of it, but she pulled that around. The smallest adjustment of the feet. Way to fight for that one! 9.925

Blanco (ALA): Maloney, pak salto. Late on the pirouette. FTDT. The smallest slide back. 9.950

Roberts (UGA): Yurchenko 1.5. Soft knees throughout. A hop in place. That should be a season high for Georgia on vault. 9.900

Doggette (ALA): Tkatchev to Pak. That release was huge! Double layout. Small slide back. I love how aggressively she swings bars. 9.925

AFTER TWO: Alabama 98.750, Georgia 98.525

I honestly thought that Georgia was going to close the gap between itself and Alabama a little more in that rotation. Am I the only person who just noticed that the majority of Bama’s bar lineup has the exact same routine composition? They’re all good routines, but like… why?

Rotation 3: Alabama BB, Georgia FX

Burgess (ALA): One-handed BHS LOSO. Solid. She’s looking fluid up there. Cat leap, switch side. Switch leap, beat jump. Side Aerial, full dismount. A bounce in place. 9.825

Perez-Lugones (UGA): The dancer of this rotation! Let’s go! Double pike. Good height and control. Whip half, front full, two steps forward and an OOB. Switch side, popa. Double tuck. Good landing on that one. 9.650. The Gymdogs will look to drop that score to stay in the meet.

Olsen (ALA): Switch leap, switch half. A little less dynamics on that second leap. BHS LOSO. Good. Nice and sharp. Last minute lineup change to put her in. A front handspring? A front walkover? BHS, BHS toe feet, double pike. It’s stuck. Not very high off the beam but stuck. 9.900

Magee (UGA): Full twisting double pike. Chest pretty low on that. Strong leap pass. Back 1.5 to front layout. Just pulled it around. Double pike. The best landing of the routine. 9.800

I will not be making any more comments about floor dance this rotation. Just know I have feelings.

Graber (ALA): BHS Layout two-feet. Pretty crooked with a medium sized balance break. Switch leap, straddle 3/4. Nice. Front toss to scale. Gainer full dismount. Stuck. She really pulled that routine back after the mistake. 9.775

DeJong (UGA): Hello! Where have you been the whole meet? Triple full. Minimal loss of control. Switch side, wolf full. A little hitch in that wolf shape. Double tuck. Wasn’t quite ready for the landing with a wild hop out of it. Back 1.5, front lay. Good landing. 9.775

Machado (ALA): Triple Wolf turn, double Wolf turn. Why? They were fine, but why? BHS LOSO. A sizable check with a hip break. Beat, straddle 1/4. Side Aerial. Another check there. BHS, gainer full. Stuck. OK. 9.700

Roberts (UGA): Tuck through to double tuck. Nice one! Chest up. Switch side, popa, wolf full. Double pike. Good on that landing too. Should be a good one for UGA. 9.850

Hudson (ALA): Front Aerial BHS LOSO. Why are we talking about Blanco graduating? That’s a depressing thought. Switch leap, switch leap. A little awkward but fine. Side Aerial. Solid. RO back 1.5 dismount. Step back. 9.875

Baumann (UGA): Wolf 1.5? Double? Back 1.5, front full. Switch side, straddle jump. Double pike. Came in at an angle, but handled it well. I mean… not bad. I wouldn’t give credit for the turn, but I’m not in charge. 9.900. Like I said. Not in charge.

Blanco (ALA): Pretty mount combination. Front Aerial. Sharp. BHS LOSO. Good. Pretty scale. No one is smoother on beam than Luisa Blanco. Switch leap, switch half. How did she save that without a wobble? Magic and will power. RO double full dismount. Hop back. 9.850

Hawthorne (UGA): Double pike! Way better control than normal. She was in the clouds. Get it girl! Some loss of control on the leap landing. A worm to make everyone’s day. Front lay, Rudi, split jump. Looked a little awkward on the timing but finessed it. 9.875.

AFTER THREE: Alabama 147.975, Georgia 147.725

Okay…before the crazy scores come out on floor, let’s just appreciate how close Georgia is keeping this meet! Some goofy landings kept the Gymdogs from fully capitalizing on Alabama’s shaky beam performance, but they should be proud of how they’re performing tonight. Alabama is by no means doing horrible, but after the 197.875 from last week, this one is falling a little flat thus far. I’m looking forward to some entertaining floor routines to finish the meet strong.

Rotation 4: Georgia BB, Alabama FX 

Come on Georgia beam!

Magee (UGA): Straight jump, straddle half. A check. BHS BHS LOSO. Nice and solid. Right to the end. Soft smile. RO back 1.5 with a small step forward. A make! We’ll take it. 9.850

Victoria Nguyen is competing beam! This is not a drill!

Machado (ALA): Double pike. Good control. Back 1.5, front pike, dance out. Triple Wolf turn… Switch leap, switch half. Double tuck. Good routine for her! Way to bounce back from beam. 9.850

The floor dance feelings still exist.

Schild (UGA): Press handstand mount is solid this week. Front Aerial, BHS BHS. Wobbled a little more than I think she needed to. She just looks nervous. Switch leap, split jump. Good. Cat leap, Side Aerial full. Step forward. Landed lock-legged.

Gaskins (ALA): Double layout. Soft and separated legs in the air. Turn to jump combination. Fine. Switch leap, switch half, 1/2 sissonne. Front tuck through to double tuck. Squatty on the landing but sells it. Sweet home Alabama routine at home? Had to be done. 9.875. Here we go.

Cohen (UGA): BHS LOSO. Small check. Switch leap, straddle jump. Good extension. Did she just fall on dance? I’m sorry. Side Aerial, split jump. Good. RO double full dismount. Good come back after the fall. Can confirm she fell on a needle kick.

Doggette (ALA): Full twisting double pike. Stuck cold. A little awkward on the leap pass with some lack of split. Front tuck through to double pike. I’m worried. It looked bad. She’s hurting, landing right on her face. Please pan away from her and let her have her moment.

Nguyen (UGA): Let’s goooooo! Onodi, BHS series. Obsessed. Y turn. Wobble. Repeated the turn connected to another full turn. Side Aerial, full dismount. She stayed on. All that matters. 9.700

Hudson (ALA): Front lay, front double full. Stunning. Very lovely extension on the leap pass. Back 2.5 twist. She’s hitting the mess out of this routine! Double tuck. If that score isn’t huge, I don’t want it. 9.950, As she should.

DeJong (UGA): Switch leap, split jump. Front Aerial, straddle jump. Good position. BHS LOSO. A lean and a leg up. Side Aerial, full dismount. Small hop. 9.850

Blanco (ALA): Double pike. Good height on that. Switch ring, tour jete half, popa. Maybe a little under rotation. Double tuck. Her normal. Front full, front layout. A little too much umph but she does a scale so no deduction. This lineup is really bouncing back after Doggette’s fall. 9.900

Baumann (UGA): Side Aerial, LOSO. Small check. Beat, switch side. Nice. RO back 1.5 dismount. Held onto that stick with the tips of her toes. Georgia fought through that entire rotation. 9.925

Graber (ALA): An injury scare on floor during warm ups? I wasn’t nervous until now. FTDT. Nice height. Good control. Good extension on that popa. Switch side, wolf 1.5. Nice and around. Front tuck through to double pike. Good anchor routine for the fifth year! 9.925

Final: Alabama 197.475, Georgia 196.800

As expected, Georgia beam couldn’t quite hang with Alabama’s home floor, but the team fought for every tenth to prevent counting a fall. I should talk a little mess in every intro to a Live Blog. The Gymdogs put on a season high performance and had more room to grow.

Considering the number of tenths Alabama left on the table tonight, it will definitely be happy to walk away with a mid 197. However, considering the rest of the top teams are going 198 in the craziness that is 2022…will that be enough?

I’m crossing my fingers that Doggette’s injury on floor is not as bad as it looked. She is definitely an integral part of Alabama’s success so far this season.

AA Winner: Luisa Blanco, 39.500

VT Winner: Rachel Baumann, 9.925

UB Winner: Luisa Blanco, 9.950

BB Winner: Rachel Baumann, 9.925

FX Winner: Lily Hudson, 9.950

Live Blog by Tavia Smith

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