Today marked the first day following the 227th anniversary of the chartering of the University of Georgia by the General Assembly, and it also was a day on which several student-athletes were engaged in intercollegiate competition on behalf of the nation’s oldest state-created university. Here is how a few of them fared ere the sun set over the Classic City:
In a battle between top-20 teams, the No. 7 Gym Dogs posted their season-high score in a 197.25-195.75 win over No. 17 LSU. Before more than 10,000 fans in sold-out Stegeman Coliseum, Georgia matched or established 13 bests for the 2012 campaign, recording a half-dozen individual marks of 9.9 or better for the first time this year and claiming season highs on each apparatus.
The Red and Black opened the afternoon on the vault, where Noel Couch’s 9.9 and Kat Ding’s 9.925 paced a 49.325 effort. The Athenians equaled that tally on the bars, recording three 9.825s, together with a 9.9 from Gina Nuccio and a 9.95 from Ding. Shayla Worley’s 9.925 marked the high score of a cumulative 49.35 on the beam, and the Georgia gymnasts closed the deal with a combined 49.25 in the floor exercise bolstered by Nuccio’s 9.9 and a pair of 9.875s.
The Gym Dogs were impressive in their best meet of the year, but they will need to maintain that level of performance on the next two weekends, when they will face No. 3 Utah and No. 1 Arkansas, respectively.
In the season’s final dual meet, the Georgia swimming and diving team swept Alabama in Tuscaloosa. The tenth-ranked Red and Black men rode wins by Martin Grodzki in the 500 freestyle, the 1,000 freestyle, and the 400 individual medley to the 152-148 triumph that ran their record to 3-1-1 in the conference and 6-2-1 overall.
Melanie Margalis matched Grodzki’s feat for the women, carding victories in the 1,000 freestyle, the 200 backstroke, and the 100 butterfly. The fifth-ranked ladies notched their 26th consecutive SEC meet win in a 173-121 victory to improve to 8-1 for the season. Next up for the Georgia swimmers and divers are the Southeastern Conference Championships, where the Red and Black women will be seeking their third straight league title. The SEC meet gets underway in Knoxville on February 15.
This weekend, the Georgia track and field teams split into two squads, the first of which was bound for the Razorback Invitational in Fayetteville, Ark., where two Bulldog heptathletes combined for five collegiate personal bests on Friday. Freshman Garrett Scantling carded a trio of those on the way to a seventh-place first-day finish, while senior Cory Holman’s career marks in the long jump and shot put saw him in second place following the first four events.
The Red and Black’s second day in the Natural State saw Holman break the school record with 5,809 points in the heptathlon, as the upperclassman outdid his previous collegiate best in the pole vault and registered his second-best time in the 60 hurdles. Holman finished third in the heptathlon, earning an invitation to the NCAA Indoor Championships in the process.
Meanwhile, at the inaugural Mark Colligan Memorial in Lincoln, Nebr., the Georgia track and field athletes finished fourth in both the men’s and women’s standings. Among the few standout performances for the Bulldogs were wins by Hilenn James in the women’s shot put, Saniel Atkinson in the women’s high jump, Justin Welch in the men’s weight throw, Waymon Storey in the men’s 200-meter dash, and Torrin Lawrence in the men’s 400-meter dash, as well as the Athenians’ victory in the men’s 4x400-meter relay.