The 10th-ranked Georgia gymnastics team scored season-highs on all four events in a 196.975-194.225 win over No. 14 Kentucky in front of 9,957 fans Saturday at Stegeman Coliseum.
[break] [break] Georgia gymnasts also placed first on all four events, including a career-high 9.975 on bars by Brittany Rogers and a 9.925 on floor by Brandie Jay, who also tied for first on vault. Ashlyn Broussard set a career-high with a 9.9 on vault and tied her career-high on floor with a 9.85.
[break] [break] “We were significantly improved from the last three meets,” Georgia coach Danna Durante said. “We told the team all week, what happened the last three meets doesn’t matter. We’ve got nine meets ahead of us and it’s a clean slate starting on Saturday. Everyday we talked about battling, fighting, having courage, because this team trains well but they had not competed well. And today was significantly better in that respect. There’s still more to do, we still left things out there, but it was just good to see them have courage and fight out there today.”
[break] The gallery was not found! [break] Georgia (2-2, 2-0 SEC) opened with a season-high 49.25 on vault behind Broussard and Jay, who shared top honors with a pair of 9.9s. Kentucky (2-2, 0-2 SEC) scored a 48.9 on bars to start the meet.
[break] [break] The Gymdogs then turned in a season-best 49.35 behind a career-high 9.975 by Rogers to place first. Kentucky registered a 48.775 on vault, and at the halfway point Georgia led 98.600-97.675.
[break] [break] Another season-high on beam in the third rotation helped Georgia take a 147.700-146.500 lead. Mary Beth Box moved to the anchor position and led the way with a 9.875 for her second beam title of the season.
[break] [break] Georgia closed the meet with a 49.275 on floor led by Jay’s 9.925 in the anchor position. Kiera Brown, Broussard and Vivi Babalis each added 9.85s.
[break] [break] Georgia will return to action Friday when it travels to two-time defending national champion Florida for a 6:45 p.m. ET meet. It will be the first of three straight road trips for the Gymdogs.
[break] [break] Added Durante: “The upcoming tougher meets will be fantastic tests for this team. There is no environment like the one we have here at Georgia. Florida and LSU will be similar. We’ve been in it, so for this team it should not be new. We just need to continue to compete aggressive. We already talked about what that’s going to look like going on the road, it doesn’t matter who they have on their roster or what they’ve done up to this point in the season. What matters is who is better on that night and really it’s any man’s game.”
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[break] [break] Additional quotes
Head Coach Danna Durante
On the improvement on beam and floor…
“They’re still things we need to do better. Switching lineups a little bit and having Brittany back was a huge plus. And I think having some depth out there they felt, “Okay I can’t get complacent. If I’m in the top six, that doesn’t mean that No. 7 isn’t going to push and take my spot if I don’t keep working and getting better”.
On the crowd and the significance of the pink meet…
“The pink meet is near and dear to everybody’s heart in the community. Dating back to Talya Vexler, one of Georgia’s own fighting that battle and winning it, she’s healthy and strong and doing great. It certainly touches the community’s heart. A lot of our loved ones have had breast cancer or cancer in some form so it’s just always such a soft spot for us. And we are always happy to show awareness, support, and to just celebrate those lives that have lost that battle and the fight they gave. It can be an emotional meet. We have a great supporter, who makes scrapbooks for the team, who is fighting that battle right now. We talked about how there’s this awesome lady and she’s fighting for her life, so lets honor her. She made those beautiful pins that the girls had on.”
[break] [break] Junior Brittany Rogers
“Obviously I’ve been working really hard in the gym and unfortunately I had a little bit of a set back last week, but I was able to stay in the gym and work through some mental things which I think obviously paid off this week in competition. It’s just unreal to me to see a 10 go up there. It’s a dream come true and knowing that hard work has gone into it and my team has my back no matter what is awesome.”
On sticking her landing on bars…
“When I stick it I like to hold it a little bit so I can make sure everybody knows I stuck it. But after I stick it I turn around and see my whole team running towards me and it’s just crazy how much care we have for each other and how much of a sisterhood we’ve formed and knowing they’re a part of my performance. I have a lot to thank for them too for sticking that landing and getting me through this.”
Georgia – 196.975 (VT – 49.25 , UB – 49.35, BB – 49.100, FX – 49.275)
Kentucky – 194.225 (VT – 48.775, UB – 48.9, BB – 47.725, FX – 48.775)
Sarah Persinger – 9.8; Natalie Vaculik – 9.8; GiGi Marino – 9.775; Ashlyn Broussard – 9.9; Brittany Rogers – 9.85; Brandie Jay – 9.9
Rachel Schick – 9.825; Natalie Vaculik – 9.825; Brandie Jay – 9.8; Kiera Brown – 9.875; Brittany Rogers – 9.975; Chelsea Davis – 9.85
Sarah Persinger – 9.35; Natalie Vaculik – 9.85; Brittany Rogers – 9.7; Ashlyn Broussard – 9.85; Vivi Babalis – 9.825; Mary Beth Box – 9.875
Kiera Brown – 9.85; Sarah Persinger – 9.2; Mary Beth Box – 9.8 ; Ashlyn Broussard – 9.85; Vivi Babalis – 9.85; Brandie Jay – 9.925