I was in Athens on Friday for a continuing legal education seminar, and, throughout the afternoon, I received calls and text messages from my wife letting me know what the weather looked like at our house. Snow fell constantly throughout my drive home, growing steadily heavier as I went, yet still the show went on in Stegeman Coliseum, where the Gym Dogs performed well in a victory over Arkansas.
The Razorbacks edged the Red and Black in the vault by a 49.25-49 margin after two Natural State gymnasts received 9.925s in an event in which no Georgia athlete earned better than a 9.85. The home team overcame the deficit on the bars, where a 9.875 from Courtney McCool and a 9.9 from Kat Ding paced a 49.275 effort. When coupled with the Arkansas bars score of 48.65, that gave the Bulldogs a 98.275-97.9 advantage at the midpoint of the meet.
Thanks to a 9.9 by Grace Taylor, Georgia finished out in front on the beam with a cumulative 49.1 to the Hogs’ 48.975 and the Gym Dogs finished off the opposition in the manner to which we became accustomed during the Suzanne Yoculan era.
On the floor exercise in the fourth rotation, the Red and Black led off by putting up 9.8s from Noel Couch, Hilary Mauro, and Cassidy McComb, followed that up with 9.9s from Grace Taylor and Shayla Worley, and capped it all off with a 9.95 from Courtney McCool. The resulting 49.35 gave the Red and Black their best score of the night, outpacing the Razorbacks’ 48.95 in the same event to give Georgia a 196.725-195.825 triumph over Arkansas.
By tallying combined marks of 49 or better in all four rotations and saving the best for last, the Gym Dogs looked at least somewhat like the squad that captured five straight national championships. While a sixth NCAA crown is highly unlikely, Jay Clark’s Georgia team appears to be performing at or near its usual lofty level once again. Reports of the program’s demise, both here and elsewhere, appear suddenly to have been exaggerated greatly.