The sixth-ranked Georgia gymnastics team used a season-high score and the second-highest road mark of any team this year to defeat NC State in the regular season finale, 197.800-196.000 Sunday afternoon at Reynolds Coliseum.
The Gym Dogs (8-6-1) turned in their highest regular season road score since a 197.825 at Alabama in 2004 and a 49.625 on the balance beam, which ties the second-highest mark in program history.
“This was huge for our confidence,” said UGA coach Danna Durante. “We surpassed our goal today, and I’m really proud of them. It was an incredible team effort.
“I’ve been saying that beam could be our strongest event, and we saw today what they do in practice every day. It’s just how they train. Sarah Persinger found her rhythm to start us off, and I’m super proud of all of them. I can’t say enough about them; they did an amazing job.”
The Gym Dogs opened the meet with a 49.35 on bars, which is just .075 shy of the season-high on the road. Chelsea Davis led the team again with a 9.925, her 10th straight score of 9.9 or higher on bars. Shayla Worley and Brittany Rogers added a pair of 9.875s, while NC State turned in a 49.0 on vault in the first rotation.
Georgia then went to vault and scored its season-high on the road with a 49.4. Cat Hires tied her career-high with a 9.925, and Lindsey Cheek and Brandie Jay closed the rotation by scoring a pair of 9.9s. With the Wolfpack’s 49.1 on bars, UGA led at the halfway point, 98.750-98.100.
In the third rotation, Georgia posted its second-highest mark on floor this season with a 49.425. Jay scored a career-high 9.975 in the anchor, and Mary Beth Box turned in a 9.9 in the first floor routine of her career. After three rotations, Georgia led 148.175-146.875, which equaled its highest score through three rotations this year.
The Gym Dogs closed the meet with the highest road beam score in school history – a 49.625 – helped by five career-highs. Sarah Persinger and Noel Couch started the rotation with two 9.9s, then Lindsey Cheek went 9.925 before Shayla Worley and Kaylan Earls closed the meet with 9.95s.
“It was a great meet today,” Worley said. “If you look at the last two meets we keep improving, and it shows that we are peaking at the right time. This builds our confidence going into SECs.”
Rogers won the all-around for the third time in four meets with a 39.4. A Georgia gymnast owned or shared first on all four events: Hires on vault, davis on bars, Worley and Earls on beam, and Jay on floor.
Georgia will begin postseason competition at the SEC Championship Saturday, March 23 at 7 p.m. ET. The first session will begin at 3 p.m., and will include Auburn, Kentucky, Arkansas and Missouri. The Gym Dogs will begin the second session on beam and will compete against Florida, Alabama and LSU.
1. Georgia – 197.800 (VT – 49.4, UB – 49.35, BB – 49.625, FX – 49.425)
2. NC State – 196.000 (VT – 49.0, UB – 49.1, BB – 48.775, FX – 49.125)
Georgia’s Individual Results
Chelsea Davis – 9.775; Sarah Persinger – 9.825; Cat Hires – 9.925; Brittany Rogers – 9.85; Lindsey Cheek – 9.9; Brandie Jay – 9.9
Lindsey Cheek – 9.85; Christa Tanella – 9.825; Brandie Jay – 9.825; Shayla Worley – 9.875; Brittany Rogers – 9.875; Chelsea Davis – 9.925
Sarah Persinger – 9.9; Noel Couch – 9.9; Lindsey Cheek – 9.925; Brittany Rogers – 9.85; Shayla Worley – 9.95; Kaylan Earls – 9.95
Kaylan Earls – 9.85; Christa Tanella – 9.875; Mary Beth Box – 9.9; Sarah Persinger – 9.75; Brittany Rogers – 9.825; Brandie Jay – 9.975