Georgia 198, Alabama 196.05

A disappointing finish to Saturday's baseball game was redeemed that selfsame afternoon in the Classic City, when the second-ranked Gym Dogs beat their archrival, No. 3 Alabama, in a spectacular performance at Stegeman Coliseum.

Georgia took an early lead in the meet, putting together a cumulative 49.4 team score in the vault during the first rotation. The Red and Black were led by Katie Heenan, who posted a 9.95, although no Bulldog gymnast earned below a 9.8 in the event. In the initial rotation, Alabama registered a 49.1 on the bars, with Terin Humphrey and Cassie Martin each receiving 9.85 marks.

If Hubert Humphrey were alive today, he might have been in the Coliseum to see his granddaughter, Terin, competing in Saturday's gymnastics meet. If he had, of course, he likely would have been accosted by irate Atlanta baseball fans who blame the sports arena named after him for the Braves' loss in the 1991 World Series.

The visiting squad improved its standing in the second rotation, tallying a 49.325 team score on the strength of Morgan Dennis's 9.925 in the vault. However, the Gym Dogs' performance kept them in the lead, as Courtney Kupets completed Georgia's turn on the uneven bars by posting the first perfect 10.0 earned by a Red and Black gymnast since the 2004 S.E.C. championships. As a team, the Bulldogs captured a 49.475 in the event.

The home team did not let up during the third rotation. While Alabama again earned a 49.325 score due to Dennis's concluding 9.925 in the floor exercise, Georgia kept the pressure on during the Gym Dogs' turn on the balance beam. Three Bulldog gymnasts earned marks of 9.9 or better along the way to a 49.5 aggregation in the meet's third stanza.

The Red and Black carried a 148.375-146.725 lead into the final event of the afternoon because one of the Bulldog gymnasts was judged to be a perfect 10.

The fourth rotation was Alabama's weakest but Georgia's strongest. Courtney McCool, Grace Taylor, and Tiffany Tolnay all recorded 9.95s in the floor exercise, while three of the six gymnasts who took to the beam for 'Bama received marks of 9.375 or below. In the end, the Gym Dogs won the rotation, 49.625-48.3.

Georgia's overall score of 198.00 was the team's highest since the 2004 S.E.C. championships. In an intense rivalry meet, the Gym Dogs came through to run their record to 8-0-1 overall and 4-0-1 in conference. With another home meet upcoming against fourth-ranked Utah next Friday evening, the Red and Black are hitting their stride heading into the stretch run of what looks to be another impressive season.

Go 'Dawgs!

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