The University of Georgia gymnastics team was solid in vault and bars, but could not steady themselves on beam, counting two falls and smashing their total down to 196.500 in the second semifinal session of the NCAA Gymnastics Championships last night.
The Gym Dogs (18-9) battled at The Arena at Gwinnett Center on Friday, but only managed a fifth-place finish, behind Alabama (197.675), Florida (196.650), Arkansas (197.150) and Ohio State (196.525). The finished ahead of Oregon State (196.475.)
Alabama, Florida and Arkansas will now compete in the NCAA Super Six Saturday today, April 21, at 4 p.m.
"I'm disappointed, but I'm proud of the way they fought on the final two events,” UGA head gymnastics coach Jay Clark said on www.georgiadogs.com. “They fought with a tremendous amount of pride and executed those two events. They understand what Georgia is supposed to be and they want to carry that mantle so bad. I think they are just hurting right now and I think we are just all disappointed."
The most devastating aspect of the meet may well have been the fact that the Gym Dogs did not have a fall on any event for 13 straight meets, only to count two falls when it mattered most.
“Tonight, it didn't go for us on balance beam,” Coach Clark said. “We won vault and we were second bars. Beam has been our highest ranked event for the bulk of the year. It has been a consistent event for us.”
The team also counted a fall on uneven bars, although they did post a season-best 49.4, with senior Kat Ding tied for first in the event, and Chelsea Davis tied for third. Both will compete in individual event finals on bars on Sunday at 1 p.m.
Georgia posted its best score since 2009 on vault, with a 49.600. Again, Ding tied for first, and Lindsey Cheek tied for third, and will compete in the individual vault finals on Sunday.
The Gym Dogs struggled to a 48.275 on the balance beam, with two falls. Shayla Worley had the UGA high score, with a 9.925.
The floor rounded out the UGA score, with a 49.225, a total 196.500 and fifth place overall.
Despite the rough night, eight Gym Dogs earned All-American honors on Friday night:
- Kat Ding: First Team on vault, bars, floor and all-around
- Lindsey Cheek: First Team on vault
- Chelsea Davis: First Team on bars; Second Team on floor and vault
- Noel Couch: Second Team on vault
- Gina Nuccio: Second Team on bars
- Shayla Worley: Second Team on beam
- Laura Moffatt: Second Team on beam
- Sarah Persinger: Second Team on floor
Team results on the night were as follows:
- Alabama: 197.675 (Vault - 49.4, Bars - 49.400, Beam - 49.600, Floor - 49.275)
- Florida: 197.650 (Vault - 49.575, Bars - 49.45, Beam - 49.35, Floor - 49.275)
- Arkansas: 197.250 (Vault - 49.275, Bars - 49.275, Beam - 49.45, Floor - 49.15)
- Ohio State: 196.525 (Vault - 49.175, Bars - 48.975, Beam - 49.225, Floor - 49.15)
- Georgia: 196.500 (Vault - 49.600, Bars - 49.400, Beam - 48.275, Floor - 49.225)
- Oregon State: 196.475 (Vault - 49.05, Bars - 49.15, Beam - x, Floor - 48.975)
Individual Results for UGA on the night were as follows:
- Vault (49.600): Chelsea Davis, 9.9; Noel Couch, 9.9; Sarah Persinger, 9.8; Lindsey Cheek, 9.95; Cat Hires, 9.875; Kat Ding, 9.975
- Bars (49.400): Christa Tanella, 8.6; Noel Couch, 9.825; Shayla Worley, 9.8; Chelsea Davis, 9.925; Gina Nuccio, 9.9; Kat Ding, 9.95
- Beam (48.275): Noel Couch, 9.25; Laura Moffatt, 9.9; Kat Ding, 9.85; Kaylan Earls, 9.35; Sarah Persinger, 9.175; Shayla Worley, 9.925
- Floor (49.225): Kaylan Earls, 9.825; Sarah Persinger, 9.85; Kat Ding, 9.875; Chelsea Davis, 9.85; Gina Nuccio, 8.95; Noel Couch, 9.825