Soraya Hawthorne dances on floor

LIVE BLOG: Georgia First Look

Welcome to our first glimpse at arguably the 2022 offseason’s most intriguing team. With a massive freshman class, a high-profile, in-conference coach poaching, and a handful of flashy transfers, there’s a lot we don’t know about the Gymdogs right now.

What we do know is that 2022 was really, really bad, and it wasn’t due to lack of talent. (From the athletes, anyway.) Georgia has been underperforming the contents of its roster for some time, so can packing the roster really fix the fundamental issues? On the other hand, it won’t take perfection to improve from last year’s devastating 30th place finish.

Our impressions from training are that bars already looks better under the care of Ryan Roberts, formerly of Alabama, but that vault hasn’t shown many 10.0 SV options. Expect the transfers, especially Josie Angeny, to show LOTS of routines today. The only injury we’re aware of right now is freshman Ariel Posen, who appeared in a knee brace a few weeks back, but don’t be surprised (or overly pessimistic) if we discover a few more tonight.

We’re split into two teams, Red and Black, who will be alternating events just like they were

Rotation 1: Red VT, Black UB

Finnegan (VT): Nice FTY, straight body, medium hop back. Scores on the stream initially displaying 9.0…. Okay, 9.775. We’re in business.

King (UB): Shy on her first handstand, toe on to Maloney to overshoot, soft feet throughout. Double layout with great position, slightly overcooked and a hop back. Not sure if that was up to level. 9.575. guess not.

De Jong (VT): Great FTY, not the amplitude of Finnegan’s but very tidy and controlled. Small hop in place. 9.85

Cashman (UB): Tkachev, a little bit of feet, has to reach to get the cast handstand after that but makes it. Crumples onto the bar on her bail but somehow casts out and keeps the routine going. Nice double layout with a small hop back, but that major break on her bail should keep her down in the 9.5 range. 9.525, there we go.

Hawthorne (VT): Substantially overpowers her Yurchenko one and a half but it was great in the air, major bound forward. 9.75

Deniz (UB): Maloney to bail… doesn’t make it over the bar and falls. Full turn to double back is great, stick.

Howard (VT): Church to overshoot, full turn to double tuck, emphatically stuck. THAT is a bars routine. Thank you. 9.85, will go higher this year.

Angeny (UB): Blind to Jaeger, very flexed feet, to overshoot. Missed a handstand, pretty double layout with a little hop back that was almost delicate. 9.75

After 1: Red

… Yeah, comparing scores between teams isn’t really going to happen, is it? The scoring was a little on the tight side but good for figuring out which routines are legit and which ones aren’t. I’m willing to believe Deniz’ fall was a fluke for now, though this is still Georgia we’re talking about. Interested to see what happens in the next vault rotation: Hawthorne may be our only 10.0 SV of the day, since training has been a lot of FTYs lately, but plenty of these gymnasts are capable of the upgrade so who knows?

Rotation 2: Black VT, Red UB

Angeny (VT): Great FTY, essentially stuck. She got confetti for that! Thoughts and prayers for the custodian. 9.75 BOOOOO.

Hahn (UB): Maloney to Pak, a little shapey but kept the legs together. Fumbles through her half turn on the low bar, a sole circle that did not look strictly intentional, solid double layout. I’m going to call that a save. 9.7

King (VT): Solid FTY, a little hip angle and travels sideways enough that she lands close to the lines. I LOVE the direction lines. Not one of the best FTYs but it gets the job done. 9.725

Fitzgerald (UB): Nice Tkachev, some of the better feet we’ve seen on bars today. Leg flicker on her bail, double layout whippy and a step back. 9.725

Howard (VT): Houston, we have amplitude. Nice punchy FTY, very straight, hop back. 9.825

Hattaway (UB): Decent Gienger, overshoot, flings her double layout SO far out but manages just a little adjustment. 9.55

Cashman (VT): Piked down her FTY and hopped back because her weight was behind her feet. Pretty much her normal. 9.8 is a smidge generous.

Scott (UB): Maloney to Pak, I almost thought I saw a flicker of knees as she caught the Maloney, she’s so TALL. Has that intangible bars girl movement quality. Not wearing a knee brace which I think is a recent development on this event. Double layout comes in deep, squats and takes a step forward. 9.675 shut up she’s perfect.

Finnegan (UB): Pretty Ray. Toe on to Pak, nice lines. Full out dismount is LOVELY and stuck. Potentially the best bars routine of the day. 9.9

De Jong (UB): Toe on to Maloney to bail is a little loose-legged, not making all these handstands, double layout with a tiny bounce in place. 9.85

After 2: Vault 49.000, Bars 49.075

The scores in the broadcast have just given up. I’ll add them in when I see them. I also actually don’t care which team is winning so I’ll be ignoring that henceforth.

Rotation 3: Red BB, Black FX

Fitzgerald (BB): Straddle to straddle 3/4, splits pretty iffy. BHS LOSO with oddly worse form on the BHS but neither was special. Kickover front nice and steady, one and a half twist with a step forward. Not a masterpiece but check-free and for a walk on in December of her freshman year I’m not going to undersell that. 9.675

Cohen (FX): Double layout heavily spotted but pretty in the air. Don’t know if it’s viable without the spot. Switch full actually rotated, a unicorn, switch half wolf full a little bit shuffly. Front lay front full a little bit scrappy but landed clean. 9.675

Williams (BB): BHS. Okay. Good start. (She balked but it was pretty so we’re rolling with it.) BHS LOSO, check. Front aerial a little shaky, switch back tuck and definitely didn’t make that split. One and a half twist deep with a step back. 9.375

Deniz (FX): She’s still got a little bit of Oklahoma style. Whip to 1.5 twist, awkward step out. Y turn! Tour jete half to split full was NOT great. Rudi to split, huge airtime and traveling backward, keeps it in bounds. There’s potential there. Want a little more presence. 9.775

Scott (BB): Front handspring, doesn’t make the connection today, resets and BHS LOSO is LOVELY but has a check. Split to switch to Korbut, beautiful. Front aerial lovely, full turn absolutely immaculate. Front handspring front full dismount, step. 9.725

King (FX): Front double full front tuck, serious airtime. Straddle leap series is solid, front full front lay fine. 9.775

Hawthorne (BB): BHS LOSO, adjusts. Standing switch standing switch series is as great as always. Nice kickover front to wolf, gets a huge cheer for the moonwalk. One and a half twist, scoot back into salute. Good vibes. 9.75

Howard (FX): Front through double back, a little overcooked but in bounds. Nice solid rotation on her leaps, always appreciated. Clean double pike to close. 9.8

De Jong (BB): Full turn, switch split very steady, front aerial to beat. BHS LOSO with a check, side split 1/2 weirdly aligned. One and a half twist, hop. 9.725

Cashman (FX): One and a half front full CLEAN. The kind of landing that you can tell she could have stuck. Extremely wacky wolf 3/2 jump, double tuck with a hop to the side. First floor routine with real energy, to me. 9.6

After 3: Honestly, who knows?

I have to say, there’s a lot of scrappiness going on today but there has only been one fall and that’s not nothing! Watch me curse it now.

Rotation 4:

Crow (BB): She’s just walking around up there. What? I think the PA got confused and announced it too soon. Here we go. Full turn, BHS LOSO lovely! Great extension. Front aerial to beat a little low but I’m being picky. Great switch switch, hit both leaps. Side aerial back layout… okay. How did that get a 9.825? Isn’t there a SV issue? I don’t know. 9.825

Hattaway (FX): Rudi, stumbles out of bounds and caught by coach. Switch side half… okay. Front full front lay and misses the punch, just about gets it around. Hannah Montana music, that counts for something.

Cohen (BB): Pretty pretty BHS LOSO. Black team has style. Switch to straddle, tidy. Side aerial to split was great. Double full, little hop back. Nice routine! 9.775

Fitzgerald (FX): Double pike, spotted but not super heavily. One and a half front lay is solid, switch side Popa pretty underrotated. Rudi and balks on the jump, bless her heart.

Howard (BB): BHS LOSO, little adjustment. Switch half, side aerial, taking care of business. Gainer full off the side with a hop. 9.825

Hahn (FX): Front double full to arabesque, nice. The dance has potential. One and a half front lay is really nice, double wolf turn, switch to tour jete half. Rudi, hop to the side. 9.7

Deniz (BB): Full turn, side aerial BHS clean. Front aerial lovely and long to beat jump. This is the event where Georgia needs her right away. Switch to split, precise splits. Gainer tuck full, chest way down which we’re going to ignore because the rest rocked.

Williams (FX): Great double pike, plants the front foot, easy as you like. Solid leaps, nice front full front lay, double tuck to close a smidge overcooked but nothing bad.

Angeny (BB): BHS LOSO LOSO, rock solid. Front aerial with soft knees, full turn, switch to straddle quarter, BHS one and a half with a little hop forward. STEADY. Black team beam is popping off. 9.85

De Jong (FX): Rudi LOSO nice and steady, switch side wolf full underrotated. Are there two different Hannah Montana routines on this team? GREAT triple twist. Awesome day for her.

Hawthorne (FX): Overcooked her double pike but it’s fine she’s the best. Tour jete half split full, weird, think she just mistimed it a bit. Rudi to split, hop.


Honestly there was a lot of mess that people will make light of from this meet and they won’t be wrong, but there’s a lot to love as well. This Georgia team looked deep and tough, both of which are big improvements over the last few years. Still a few routines I’d like to see added (Jacquie Moran on beam where are youuuu) but there’s reason to be optimistic, too.

I’ll try to add some scores later on when they’re posted online.

UB: Katie Finnegan 9.9
AA: Haley De Jong, Naya Howard 39.300

Live blog by Rebecca Scally

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  1. Naya Howard and Haley also had the top vault scores. I think it was a 9.85. I think Naya and Haley are going to be two of the top players in UGA’s all-around spots this year!

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