Week 3 of SEC gymnastics action gets underway with a showdown between two foes slowly climbing up the rankings week by week. The Bulldogs’ roster of newcomers has it trending up after the program’s big dip over the last few years, while perennial top 10 bubble team Kentucky has snuck its way up from its preseason ranking.
As has been the case the last few years, the Wildcats are led by Raena Worley, who’s been solid but hasn’t put up quite the gaudy numbers we’ve come to expect from her. She’s been pushed in the all-around by Jillian Procasky, and Arianna Patterson’s bonus year has been beneficial for Kentucky in its two opening meets. After a close loss to Ohio State in Week 1, the Wildcats got a huge win at home over LSU last week, so they’re entering this evening with a lot of momentum. In a plot twist, beam has been Kentucky’s best event after being its most challenging a season ago—ranking eighth currently—so watch to see if that continues.
Georgia opened up 2022 with back-to-back 194s, so this year’s pair of 196s after a 195.950 is a welcomed sight. And with three meets under its belt already, it appears not to be a fluke, either. The scoring potential is there with eight gymnasts with a season-high of 9.9 on at least one event. However, most of the gymnasts’ averages are in the 9.7s and 9.8s, so consistency will be a theme moving forward. Veteran Haley De Jong has been a standout alongside highly touted freshman JaFree Scott, who both excel on bars, where Georgia ranks in the top 10.
Rotation 1: Georgia Vault, Kentucky Bars
De Jong (UGA): FTY. Good block, gets a little flair out, sizable slide back. 9.775
Davis (UK): Giant half to Jaeger, a little close, nice bail, good final handstand, dismounts DLO, step back. 9.775
Finnegan (UGA): FTY. Her vault debut, A bit piked in the air, nearly sticks but college salutes into a step forward. 9.775
Bunn (UK): Opening handstand is great, blind change to Jaeger, one leg bent in that, ok bail, dismounts DLO, hop in place, chest a bit forward. 9.625
Elsadek (UGA): FTY. Clean in the air, bouncy hop back, piked down. 9.800
Riegert (UK): Nice opening handstand, blind change to Jaeger, gorgeous, great bail, final handstand hit, dismounts DLO, piked in the air, stick but quick shuffle to salute. 9.825
Cashman (UGA): FTY. Gets a lot of height off the table, tiny hop back, clean in the air. 9.875
DeGuzman (UK): Good handstand, blind change to Jaeger to overshoot, hit, beautiful last handstand, DLO dismount, sticks! Lovely toe point throughout. 9.850
Howard (UGA): FTY. Dynamic block, clean spots the landing but takes a slide back, great distance. 9.900
Luksik (UK): Missed the opening release, good bail, nice final handstand, DLO with a slide back. 9.775
Hawthorne (UGA): Y1.5. Beautiful in the air, just a bounding step forward, doesn’t keep the back foot down. 9.875
Worley (UK): Huge Ray to open after a nice toe handstand, tiniest leg separation on the pak, judges won’t notice, good last handstand, dismounts DLO, FTDT and STICKS. 9.875
King (UGA): Exh. FTY. Huge off the table, pikes down and takes a big hop, off to the right as well.
After 1: Georgia 49.225, Kentucky 49.100
By far the best vault outing for Georgia, it’s only time breaking 49 on the event this year, so it should be very pleased with its lead heading into its best event. Even with only one 10.0 start value, the Bulldogs got the scores thanks to good height, distance, and overall form. Kentucky’s opening rotation was a bit average, hitting routines but lacking any 9.9s to bring the total closer to the mid-49s. The Wildcats are the better team overall and are still very well within reach of taking the win tonight, but will need to step it up a bit on the road.
Rotation 2: Kentucky Vault, Georgia Bars
LaClair (UK): FTY. Very close to the table, piked down a lot for the landing and takes a big hop back with little control. 9.675
Cashman (UGA): Nice handstand to Tkatchev to open, loses her back a bit in the toe on and then same in a bail, dismounts DLO and stick. 9.750
Procasky (UK): FTY. Beautiful long lines, off to the left, takes a hop on the landing. 9.750
Angeny (UGA): Hits her first handstand, blind change to Jaeger to overshoot, good rhythm, hits last handstand, dismounts DLO, slides back into the salute. 9.875
Wilson (UK): FHS pike half. Nice tight pike position, small step to the side. 9.825
Howard (UGA): Opens on the high bar with a good handstand, Church to overshoot, slightly close on the first release, giant full to double tuck, hops into the salute. 9.825
Patterson (UK): FHS pike half. Higher than Wilson’s and gets a stick! 9.875
Scott (UGA): Maloney to pak, done well from a horrible camera angle, nice final handstand, dismounts DLO, small hop back. 9.875
Magnelli (UK): FHS pike half. A little forward on the table on the block so not a ton of distance, bouncy landing back. 9.775
Finnegan (UGA): Massive Ray, pak, good last handstand, dismount FTDT and gets a clean stick. 9.900
Worley (UK): Y1.5. Comes in a bit short, takes a step back, very wide arms on the block. 9.825
De Jong (UGA): Nice toe on to Maloney, loses her legs a bit in the bail, nice final handstand, dismounts DLO, hops back. 9.850
Exhibition Y1.5 for Kentucky, big step forward and almost under-rotated in terms of the twist. Deniz exhibition on bars, falls on a Ray, wonky giant full to double tuck dismount.
Rotation 2: Kentucky 49.050, Georgia 49.325
After 2: Georgia 98.550, 98.150
Another big rotation from the Bulldogs! Not quite their season high, but more than enough for to create some separation today while only getting one 9.9 from Finnegan. Just seeing hits is promising enough when its Georgia. On the other hand, Kentucky is just a little bit tight, leaving tenths on the table with landings even though it’s hitting overall. Worley isn’t having her best night, but could still come through with some huge scores in the back half of this meet to keep it close.
Rotation 3: Georgia Beam, Kentucky Floor
Howard (UGA): Clean full turn, BHS LOSO, easy beat jump, switch half, tad shy of 180, side aerial, BHS gainer full, stuck. 9.875
Procasky (UK): Straddle full, front layout front full, switch ring to tour jete, clean, double tuck second pass, slightly chest down shuffled landing. 9.775
Hawthorne (UGA): Gets going with her BHS LOSO, wants to bobble but fights, standing switch leap switch leap, front toss to wolf jump, the famous moonwalk before a full turn, dismounts RO 1.5, tiny movement. 9.900
LaClair (UK): Mounts with a double pike, big step back but keeps the front foot down, switch side straddle full wolf full, not quite fully around, FHS front layout front full, lost her knees a bit at the end, closes with a FHS Rudi, clean landing. 9.775
Deniz (UGA): Nice handstand and flexibility work to start, smooth full turn, side aerial to BHS, flexed feet but hits, front aerial to beat jump, small leg form issues throughout the acro skills, no issues on the switch leap split jump, dismounts gainer tucked full off the front of the beam and nails the stick. 9.850
Magnelli (UK): Gets underway with a Rudi to floaty LOSO, switch side to straddle full, hits those positions easily, double pike, great control on the landing. 9.900
Moran (UGA): NCAA debut! Straddle split on the beam to mount, wolf turn double, check but stays on, switch leap to beat jump, side aerial BHS, no problems, front aerial, tiny adjustment with her arms, dismounts RO 1.5, hops forward. 9.825
Patterson (UK): Starts off with a RO 1.5 to front layout, sky high in the 1.5 and causes the front layout to be a bit whipped/low, switch ring half, switch ring to switch side, hangs in the air, closes with a double tuck, opens up way early and stumbles forward (like last week) but stays on her feet. 9.600
Scott (UGA): Opens with a FHS to BHS LOSO, split leap to switch leap to BHS swingdown, full turn, dismounts FHS front full with a slide forward. 9.725
Davis (UK): Mounts with a double pike, controls the lunge, side side to straddle full, cleanly through, exciting Rock’n’Roll medley, RO BHS 1.5 front layout, easy, good double tuck to finish. 9.850
De Jong (UGA): A lower-pressure anchor beam routine than we’re used to for Georgia. Clean full turn, switch leap to straddle side, no problems, front aerial to beat jump, moving confidently, BHS LOSO, back leg buckled a bit, takes a check but stays on, dismounts BHS 1.5, near stick but small hop. 9.800
Worley (UK): Gigantic full-in to open, no issues on the landing, switch ring to switch side, front full front layout second pass, clean per usual, ends the rotation with a double tuck, bouncy landing, front foot doesn’t quite stay down. 9.900
Rotation 3: Georgia 49.250, Kentucky 49.200
After 3: Georgia 147.800, Kentucky 147.350
Upset alert in Athens! The Bulldogs continue to hit and continue to edge the Wildcats little by little every rotation, and now lead by just under a fall. Hawthorne’s 9.9 in the second spot was important in keeping scores elevated for Georgia while also getting a key freshmen her college debut. Kentucky isn’t performing bad, but haven’t been able to build any momentum with small errors chipping away at potentially higher totals. Beam has been its best event thus far in 2023, so all hope for a win is not lost as it should be an exciting final rotation!
Rotation 4: Kentucky Beam, Georgia Floor
Luksik (UK): Gets going with a lovely Onodi, BHS LOSO with a check, cat leap to switch half, front leg needs to get higher, full turn, beat jump, dismounts gainer pike, small step. 9.725
King (UGA): Floor debut! Like a G6 music, opens with a front double full to front tuck, a ton of distance, switch side straddle full, a little short of fully rotated, RO 1.5 front layout, super clean. 9.825
Procasky (UK): Mounts and gets underway with BHS LOSO, small arm adjustment, cat leap to switch ring, another small check, front aerial, another check, double stag, check again, full turn, dismounts gainer pike and sticks. 9.675
Williams (UGA): Starts off with a double pike, lots of power, flies out of bounds with both feet, bouncy leaps, FHS front full front layout, great, closes with a short double tuck, steps forward. 9.575
Bunn (UK): Opens with BHS LOSO LOSO, big check, bend at the hips, switch leap to split jump, smooth, dismounts RO double full, small slide. 9.775
Cashman (UGA): RO 1.5 front full to open, under and takes a step back, switch side 1/2 straddle jump, double tuck dismount, great height and chest up on the landing. 9.875
Patterson (UK): Fluid full turn to start, BHS LOSO, sharp, front aerial to split jump, being precise with every movement, switch leap switch leap, dismounts gainer pike, very open and stuck! 9.950!!
Hoawrd (UGA): Mounts with a front tuck through to double tuck, issue-free, switch half to wolf full to wolf full, needs to commit to the position more in the second wolf, closes with a double pike, stuck into the lunge. 9.875
Worley (UK): Gets started with cat leap to switch side, hits, front aerial BHS LOSO, leg check, full turn, aggressive leg kick, RO 1.5 and sticks. 9.850
De Jong (UGA): Music issues to start. Finally opens her routine with a Rudi to LOSO, a little off but fights through well, switch side wolf full, bounces right out of it into choreo, triple full to close, impressive difficulty to end with. 9.925
Magnelli (UK): BHS LOSO LOSO to begin, clean, switch leap to straddle side, great leg extension, front aerial, full turn, gainer pike dismount, stuck. 9.925
Hawthorne (UGA): Gets underway with a massive double pike, great control into the lunge, switch full to split full, a bit off balance, front layout to Rudi to split jump to close, travels back but loses control a tiny bit. 9.925
Rotation 4: Kentucky 49.225, Georgia 49.425
FINAL: Georgia 197.225, Kentucky 196.575
Georgia finally had a complete meet! Anchored by that strong floor rotation, the Bulldogs had no falls and performed closer to the level of the talent across its star-studded roster. Freshman Howard came up big today as beating Worley in the all around is no easy feat, while Hawthorne also had a standout day for Georgia. The Wildcats unfortunately ran into Georgia at home on a good day, and didn’t quite give the consistent performance that we’re used to seeing from them. Worley hasn’t been the 9.9-machine she was last year, but Patterson’s beam set is a promising routine to build that lineup around moving forward while Worley gets back in top form.
VT: Howard (UGA) 9.900
UB: Finnegan (UGA) 9.900
BB: Patterson (UK) 9.950
FX: De Jong (UGA), Hawthorne (UGA) 9.925
AA: Howard (UGA) 39.475
Live blog by Brandis Heffner.
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