Two teams with 16 gymnastics national championships between them met in the Classic City on Friday night for a showdown between a pair of top four squads in which the Gym Dogs claimed their latest victim.
Suzanne Yoculan clearly had her gymnasts ready to compete, as the Red and Black posted a 49.45 score in the vault during the first rotation, led by 9.925s from Katie Heenan and Courtney Kupets. Solid performances by the Utes' Nicolle Ford (9.875) and Ashley Postell (9.9) kept Utah in the thick of things with a 49.025 team tally on the uneven bars.
The gap narrowed during the meet's second stanza, when Kristina Baskett's 9.9 helped to guide the visiting squad to a 49.25 mark in the vault, barely trailing the 49.3 earned by the Gym Dogs on the bars. Kupets's 9.95 score gave Georgia the narrow advantage in the rotation.
No, not that kind of basket.
Heenan and Kupets once again came through for the Red and Black in the third rotation, when each of them earned a 9.9 on the balance beam to garner a second straight 49.3 team total. This extended the home team's lead, as Utah managed just a 48.3 mark in the floor exercise, despite Baskett's 9.9.
The Utes got the better of their hosts in the final rotation, but not by anything like a margin large enough to matter. Utah outpointed Georgia, 48.9-48.8, thanks to Ford's 9.85 mark on the beam, but Kupets's and Courtney McCool's 9.9 scores in the floor exercise kept the Gym Dogs out in front.
This latest meet victory adds to Georgia's resume, as the second-ranked Red and Black now are able to claim wins over No. 22 Kentucky, No. 21 Ohio State, No. 15 Arkansas, No. 12 L.S.U., No. 5 Alabama, No. 4 Utah, and No. 3 Stanford and a tie with No. 1 Florida.
The Gym Dogs have meets remaining against No. 11 Auburn on February 23, No. 7 U.C.L.A. on March 4, and No. 9 Michigan on March 9 before traveling to Little Rock, Ark., for the S.E.C. championships beginning on March 31.