Friday Night Lights gymnastics is back and better than ever! Coming off of a historic fifth-place finish last season, all eyes are on the Missouri Tigers’ home debut. The Tigers’ success in the 2022 season, along with the Georgia Gymdogs’ disappointing 30th place meltdown, will make this meet one to watch as both teams attempt to rise to the top of the conference. This meet signifies what could end up being one of the closest and most glaring examples of the old powers of the SEC versus the new broads.
Perhaps the main storyline of the night will be the injury watchlist, with both teams having gymnasts worth keeping an eye on. For Missouri, 2022 breakout-star Amari Celestine has been suspiciously absent from preseason training, along with the first meet against Illinois. For the Gymdogs, all eyes will be on senior Soraya Hawthorne, who went down on vault during the Super 16 meet. While she was able to walk off the podium, it is still an injury worth keeping an eye on as it could majorly impact Georgia if it ends up being a larger issue.
In terms of the people we are confident will appear, Jocelyn Moore picked up where she left off last season, scoring a 9.900 on vault and a controversially low 9.875 on floor against Illinois. Perhaps the most impressive part of Missouri’s 2023 debut, however, was the program-high beam score of 49.525, headlined by 9.950s from Helen Hu and Sienna Schreiber. Georgia will be hoping to use all-arounders to capture success in the form of Haley de Jong and Naya Howard, a luxury that the Gymdogs’ haven’t been able to take advantage of over the last few seasons. Also keep an eye out for super-senior transfer Josie Angeny, who scored a 9.900 during the Super 16 meet.
Let’s make our way over to Tiger town and get started!
Rotation 1: Missouri Vault, Georgia Bars
Lawrence (Mizzou) VT: Yurchenko full to start off. A bit of leg form in the air and a small-ish hop back. 9.575
Cashman (UGA) UB: Nice tkatchev, perhaps a little flat. Almost goes over on a toe on and then is short on her bail. Bit rushed on her last handstand but gets the stick on her double layout dismount. 9.75
Schaffer (Mizzou) VT: Similar full to Lawrence, definite leg form but a bit bigger in the air than Lawrence. 9.675
Angeny (UGA) UB: Short on her first handstand. Jeager to overshoot is very nice. Double layout is a little bit whippy with a small hop back. 9.85
McCrary (Mizzou) VT: More height on her Y-full than the first two vaults but a rather severe pike down. Tiny step forward on the landing.
Howard (UGA) UB: Church to bail is HUGE. Gets the final handstand. Flings out her double tuck after her giant full with a large hop back. 9.875
Schreiber (Mizzou) VT: Another Y-full, this one is stuck! A bit of a pike but the best form of anyone so far. 9.825
Scott (UGA) UB: Maloney to Pak is beautiful, lots of amplitude. Giant half is right over the low bar. Gets the stick on her double layout. W-o-w! 9.925
Davis (Mizzou) VT: Yurchenko 1.5. Off center after a bit of a wonky block and a large pace forward but nice amplitude. 9.75
Finnegan (UGA) UB: HUGE Ray, as usual. Toe on to Pak is okay, leg separation in the Pak. Gets her final handstand. Large hop back on her full in dismount. 9.9
Moore (Mizzou) VT: Total college stick on her Y 1.5. HUGE in the air as expected, flairs it out. Absolutely beautiful vault in the air.
De Jong (UGA) UB: Toe on to Maloney to bail, bit of leg separation in the Maloney. Sticks her double layout, bit of leg separation on that as well. 9.925
AFTER ONE: Missouri 48.85 Georgia 49.475
Live scores are down right now (dies inside) but I’ll get back to you with scores soon. Amazing bars rotation for Georgia, something they haven’t had in a while. Missouri vault was a little disappointing, a little rough form-wise around the edges. Georgia will be leading by a lot after one rotation.
Rotation 2: Missouri Uneven Bars, Georgia Vault
Aaaaand my stream is lagging, evidently it couldn’t handle that Georgia bars rotation either.
De Jong (UGA) VT: Yurchenko full to start out. Small hop on the landing. Already more sound form in the air, small pike at the end though. 9.65
Schreiber (Mizzou) UB: Keeps her legs together on her Maloney to bail. Double layout is very nice, gets a stick on that. Big redemption for her after a mistake last week. 9.85
King (UGA) VT: Good amplitude, but a little diagonal off of the table and on the landing. 9.65
Patrick (Mizzou) UB: Bit over on the blind change but big amplitude on her jeager. Some leg separation on the bail. Almost a stick on the double layout, hop back. 9.775
Elsadek (UGA) VT: Even more amplitude on her full than her teammates, and she gets a stick! Great work. 9.775
Lawrence (Mizzou) UB: Maloney is full of leg separation, comes back with a nice Pak. BIG step forward out of her double front off of the mat. 9.775
Cashman (UGA) VT: Another stick for Georgia, things are heating up! More of a pike in the air and less distance than Elsadek. 9.8
Sheremeta (Mizzou) UB: Hits her first handstand. Bit flat in the jeager, connects to a bail. Small hop in place on her rudi dismount. 9.875
Howard (UGA) VT: Another Yurchenko full, huge amplitude right off the table. Small slide back but form in the air makes up for it. 9.85
Moore (Mizzou) UB: Toe on to huge tkachev to overshoot. Just giant amplitude throughout. A bit crooked on her full in dismount but a stick.
Hawthorne (UGA) VT: Just a full for her today after a scary fall last week. Huge amplitude as expected, she’s vaulting on to a very high mat. Large hop back. 9.6
Hu (Mizzou) UB: Church to Pak is beautiful, keeps her legs together. Gets the last handstand right over the bar. Small hop back on her double tuck.
AFTER TWO: Missouri 98.175 Georgia 98.2
Things get a lot closer after the second rotation. The lack of 10.0 start value vaults is an issue for Georgia, especially considering the less than lenient judging here. However, the fulls that are being performed are very nice in the air. Missouri gave a rather average performance on bars, highlighted by Helen Hu. Still no scores for me, unfortunately.
Rotation 3: Missouri Balance Beam, Georgia Floor
Lawrence (Mizzou) BB: Switch leap to split jump, I’m at a terrible angle to judge splits. Full turn. Side aerial to back handspring is nice in the air. Front aerial. Roundoff to back 3/2 dismount, stuck, if not a little squatty. Impressive lead-off work from the freshman. 9.85
Elsadek (UGA) FX: Wrong music playing, great start! Courtney got her heel stuck in the floor, wonderful. Double pike, big hop back but keeps it in bounds. Switch ring to wolf hop full is mostly rotated. Front layout to front full is nice in the air and well controlled. Similar landing to her last pass to her first, keeps it in bounds. 9.65
Mollie Korth shoutout!
Schaffer (Mizzou) BB: Full turn. Bhs to bhs to loso, a bit of a lean but nothing major. Similar lean on her front aerial. Switch to split leap, a bit slow to connect but not bad positions. Stuck layout 1.5 dismount. 9.75
Williams (UGA) FX: Big double pike, tiny front foot slide. Switch side to Popa is nicely rotated but a little short of full straddle position. Front full to front layout is a tad short but keeps the deductions to a minimum. Keeps the foot planted on her double tuck. A whole lot of fun! 9.825
Davis (Mizzou) BB: Coming off of a big score last week. Full turn. Bhs to loso, pretty with a little lean. Front toss has a bit of a balance check with an arm wave. Beat jump to sheep jump is solid. Switch leap (pause) to bhs to gainer full with a step forward. 9.825
Cashman (UGA) FX: Back 3/2 to front 1/1, there was someone standing right in front of the camera but landing looked nice to me. The commentators are pro two-pass routine and you know what, so am I! Switch side to Popa is nice, gets it around. Double tuck, nails the landing. Another week of great work for Cashman! 9.925
Sheremeta (Mizzou) BB: Beat jump, okay! Bhs to loso with an arm wave correction. Full turn. Front aerial to split to Sushunova is what dreams are made of, she does incredibly original work on every apparatus. Tiny hop back on her gainer tuck 1/1. 9.85
Howard (UGA) FX: Front through to double tuck, a bit of a slide back. Switch half to wolf full to wolf full with a small hop back. Those triple jump connections are always questionable. Double pike is a bit short with a hop forward. 9.675
Hu (Mizzou) BB: Korbut mount, just amazing. Shows off unmatched flexibility. Y-turn is also nice, no wobble there. Front aerial to front aerial to scale, a bit of an arm wave on the latter. Beat to split 3/4, very nice. Bhs to gainer full, a tiny foot shuffle on the landing. 9.925
De Jong (UGA) FX: Hannah Montana music, do with that what you will. Rudi to loso is very floaty, good height on the loso. Dances out of her switch side to wolf full. Back 3/1 is a bit underrotated, but very nice landing, once again kind of dances out of it. Much better than last week! 9.875
Schreiber (Mizzou) BB: Bhs loso loso, goes surfing on the landing, I too would love to be at the beach right now. Switch half to split to standing loso is authoritative. Beat to gainer full is stuck, won’t be her best number but good work overall. 9.925
Hawthorne (UGA) FX: Already a ton of fun in her choreo. Goes flying backwards on her double pike, no flag goes up. Switch half to split full is very nice, very quickly around. Bridget is LIVING for this routine. Front layout to rudi to split is well controlled, small hop.
AFTER THREE: Missouri 147.55, Georgia 147.
Some of those beam scores for Missouri were a little… suspect but the quality of gymnastics is obviously there. A bit tentative for Georgia, and there will be a score counted in the 9.6s, but they were able to keep everything in bounds after a jumpy performance last week in Vegas.
Rotation 4: Missouri Floor, Georgia Beam
Howard (UGA) BB: Joining in for this dismount, my WIFI decided to get its act together. Stuck gainer full. Bridget sounds excited for what it’s worth. 9.725
Schreiber (Mizzou) FX: Rudi to back layout to split to choreographic leap to the floor. Front full to front layout to stag, jogs out of it. Switch half ish to split full is (side eye). Not a bad job at all. 9.9
Hawthorne (UGA) BB: Bhs to loso, leg up check. Sigh. Switch split jump to switch splity jump is powerful. Front toss to wolf jump is solid. Moonwalk! Full turn with a wobble. Sticks her layout 1.5. Good finish but the middle was meh. 9.8? I’m confused but it’s okay.
Poddig (Mizzou) FX: Rudi to a mostly tucked loso. Keeps the front foot planted on her double pike. Switch half to Popa to Shushunova, switch half is fairly short. Very efficient routine design for Mizzou. 9.825
Deniz (UGA) BB: Full turn. Side aerial to bhs is solid, no wobbles to be found. Front aerial to beat is a bit tentative but no real wobble. Switch to split is okay, a tad bit short. Gainer tuck 1/1, a bit of a hop. Gets Georgia back on track. 9.9 Okay..?
Schreiber 39.5 AA.
Kratzer (Mizzou) FX: Double tuck, beautiful. Switch side to Popa a bit awkward but around. Back 3/2 to front layout is nice, a bit of a large lunge forward. She is serving, your honor. Double pike, large step but keeps the front foot planted. She is HYPED for that, and rightfully so. 9.85
Scott (UGA) BB: Fhs to bhs to loso is nice and solid. Split to switch to Korbut is very dynamic and poised as per Bridget. Questionable remix of Heart Attack by Demi Lovato going on. Fhs to front full dismount a little short with a slide back. 9.875. Would’ve been huge without the dismount.
Sheremeta (Mizzou) FX: Front 2/1 is mostly around, as is switch side to Popa. Rudi to loso is very floaty. Struts out of her Back 3/2 to front loso, covers up her actual landing, smart choice for whoever choreographed if not a bit of a cop out. 9.925
Angeny (UGA) BB: Bhs to loso to loso she’s fully off and her hair has gone loose! Tragic. Front aerial to beat is solid. Full turn. Switch to beat is also solid, a little safe. Small hop back on her layout 3/2 and she is NOT HAPPY. 9.15
McCrary (Mizzou) FX: Front layout to rudi is well controlled. Switch side to Popa considered being rotated, will check back in a few weeks. Double pike, pretend stick and then about a four foot lunge out of it.
De Jong (UGA) BB: Full turn. Switch to straddle 1/4, AGGRESSIVE arm wave but no wobble. Front aerial to beat jump. Bhs to loso is fully crooked but only a small adjustment. College stick on her layout 1.5. 9.85
Moore (Mizzou) FX: Double layout, two steps back on that. Switch half to Popa to Popa. Front tuck to crunchy double pike. Not her best after delivering a stickfest last week.
Final: Missouri 196.975 Georgia 196.475
So a good performance for both teams! Missouri was able to deliver a clean performance after mistakes last week, and will be in great shape once Amari Celestine is back. This meet also felt like a win for Georgia, despite the numbers. It took the Gymdogs a while to score this high last season. Vault is still a question mark, but there was potential all around and a lights out bars performance.
READ THIS NEXT: From Five in a Row to a Scoring Plateau, the Degradation of the Georgia Beam Lineup
Live blog by Ian LeWarn
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