The Georgia gymnastics team (15-10) punched its ticket to St. Louis, Missouri for the NCAA Gymnastics Championship with a second-place finish in the Gainesville regional on Saturday afternoon.
The 10th-ranked Gymdogs finished with a 196.775, trailing only No. 3 Florida (197.125). Georgia raced out to an early lead and held the upper hand at the halfway point of the meet but could not fend off their Southeastern Conference foes.
Georgia defeated 15th-ranked Missouri (196.100) as well as Penn State (195.325), North Carolina (194.425) and New Hampshire (194.175) in the six-team meet. Sydney Snead claimed an event title with her fourth 9.95 on vault this season, and the Gymdogs also got big performances from freshman Rachel Dickson (9.9 – bars) and senior Ashlyn Broussard (9.9 – beam) on the day.
“We’re obviously really excited to be moving on to the championship,” said Georgia head coach Danna Durante. “I’m really proud of our team. We started strong on vault and just kept that momentum going. I’m proud of the way we fought hard on beam, especially with Florida on floor we knew that it was going to be really loud. I’m excited that we just kept clicking and excited for this team. It’s been a long year for us with injuries and illness, and we just keep coming back and keep bouncing back. We’ve got two more weeks of training and we’ll get to St. Louis.”
The Gymdogs grabbed the lead out of the gate while posting their best road vault score this season with a 49.325. All six gymnasts claimed a 9.8 or better, with Snead leading the way with a 9.95, her fourth of the season in the event. Georgia got a trio of 9.85s from Gigi Marino, Broussard and Lauren Johnson and also counted a 9.825 from Morgan Reynolds.
After a bye, Georgia maintained the lead with a strong 49.200 on bars as a team. Dickson claimed the high score for Georgia with a 9.9 in her NCAA postseason debut, and she was followed by 9.85s from Snead and Rachel Schick. Reynolds and Hayley Sanders opened the set with a pair of 9.8s to get the momentum going in the second rotation.
Broussard paced the Gymdogs on beam with her second-consecutive 9.9 in the event. Sabrina Vega got the rotation started with a 9.8 of her own and Georgia turned in a team effort of 49.075, relinquishing the top spot to Florida by the narrow margin of 0.05 with one event remaining for each team – the Gators going to vault and the Gymdogs still awaiting floor.
Georgia scored a 49.175 on floor as a team in the final rotation, finishing with a meet score of 196.775. The Gymdogs were led on floor by Vega’s 9.875, with Vivi Babalis and Marino following closely behind with a pair of 9.85s. Reynolds and Beth Roberts also contributed 9.8s in the event.
Georgia will return to action in St. Louis, Missouri for NCAA Semifinals on Friday, April 14. The team is looking for its fourth Super Six berth in its fifth season under Durante’s direction.
1. Florida – 197.125
2. Georgia – 196.775
3. Mizzou – 196.100
4. Penn State – 195.325
5. North Carolina – 194.425
6. New Hampshire – 194.175
Vault – 49.325
Morgan Reynolds – 9.825, Gigi Marino – 9.85, Beth Roberts – 9.8, Ashlyn Broussard – 9.85, Lauren Johnson – 9.85, Sydney Snead – 9.95
Bars – 49.200
Morgan Reynolds – 9.8, Hayley Sanders – 9.8, Lauren Johnson – 9.125, Sydney Snead – 9.85, Rachel Dickson – 9.9, Rachel Schick – 9.85
Beam – 49.075
Sabrina Vega – 9.8, Hayley Sanders – 9.775, Morgan Reynolds – 9.775, Ashlyn Broussard – 9.9, Vivi Babalis – 9.625, Rachel Schick – 9.825
Floor – 49.175
Morgan Reynolds – 9.8, Beth Roberts – 9.8, Vivi Babalis – 9.85, Sabrina Vega – 9.875, Sydney Snead – 9.65, Gigi Marino – 9.85