All right, listen. I know how hard gymnasts work to prepare to compete, and how many years they have to practice to reach the level of major collegiate competition. Beyond that, they’re women, and, while I hope my chivalry is not mistaken for sexism, I simply was raised better than to speak ill of ladies. Consequently, I try not to demean opposing teams when writing post-meet recaps following a Georgia gymnastics victory.
Sometimes, however, intellectual integrity compels us to be honest in calling a butt-whipping by its proper name.
The N.C.A.A. Southeast Regional took place on Saturday afternoon, and the teams taking the floor in Raleigh, N.C.---site of one of six first-round gymnastics tournament competitions---were No. 30 North Carolina, No. 29 N.C. State, No. 21 West Virginia, No. 13 Nebraska, No. 12 Penn State, and No. 1 Georgia. The Mountaineers and the Wolfpack previously fell to the Gym Dogs in the regular season.
I could sugar-coat it, but I’d be lying. Suzanne Yoculan’s charges kicked the crap out of the competition.
The Red and Black began the meet with a bye before opening with the floor exercise in the second rotation. The Georgia gymnasts carded a 49.225 on the strength of a 9.85 from Grace Taylor and a 9.9 from Courtney Kupets. The Nittany Lions matched their score on the floor, but no one else equaled or surpassed the Gym Dogs’ mark in that event.
The third rotation saw Georgia competing in the vault, where Coach Yoculan’s squad earned a 49.525 after Cassidy McComb and Tiffany Tolnay received 9.9s and Kupets posted a perfect 10. No other team in the region matched that; in fact, the top five individual scorers in the vault all were Bulldogs.
Following a fourth rotation bye, the Red and Black mounted the uneven bars, where they notched a 49.4 thanks to Taylor’s 9.9 and Kupets’s 9.925. No other squad earned as high as a 49 and five of the top seven performers on the bars were Georgians.
In the sixth and final rotation, the Gym Dogs were stationed on the balance beam. A pair of 9.9s from Taylor and Tolnay, coupled with a perfect 10 from Courtney McCool, paved the way for Georgia to chalk up a 49.55 in an event in which no other competing team earned above a 48.925. The three best scores on the beam, and six of the top seven, were awarded to gymnasts under Coach Yoculan’s supervision.
As befits a Southeastern Regional, N.C. State proved a most hospitable host, finishing last in the meet with an overall 193.8. The in-state rival Tar Heels came in fifth with a 194.125 that barely was edged out by West Virginia’s 194.225. The Cornhuskers posted a 195.45 to take third place and the silver medal was the property of Penn State with a 195.8.
Georgia finished first with a 197.7 . . . 1.9 points ahead of the second-place team. I mean, dang.
The N.C.A.A. Championships get underway in Lincoln, Nebr., on Thursday, April 16.