As you probably could tell from my recent postings (or the lack thereof), it was a long weekend, largely because the Luella High School Mock Trial team, despite performing well enough in the first round to be seeded against the defending region champion as one of the top two teams in the second round, fell slightly short of making the finals, which put me into a sufficiently severe funk that I was unable to be cheered up even by the Gym Dogs' road victory over Auburn on Friday. (I hate Auburn.)
The first rotation did not begin well for the Red and Black, as Nikki Childs fell during the middle of her meet-opening routine on the parallel bars, carding a 9.275. Fortunately, the next five Georgia gymnasts all earned marks of 9.8 or better, capped off by Katie Heenan's 9.9 to give the visitors a cumulative 49.275 score. The host squad, in the meantime, trailed only narrowly, collectively putting up a 49.175 when four Auburn gymnasts (Julie Dwyer, A.J. Mills, Lindsey Puckett, and Krissy Voss) all received 9.85s in the vault.
The foregoing mention of Julie Dwyer obligates me to include a reference to "Clerks." (Yes, I know that shot is from "Clerks II," but I needed a picture that was in color to give this posting some visual contrast.)
Heenan again led the Gym Dogs in the second rotation, posting a 9.925 to pace a 49.325 team effort on the vault, but the Tigers struggled mightily on the bars, where a combination of form problems, inelegant landings, and a Dwyer fall conspired to hold the host squad to a 47.925 mark.
Georgia started strong in the third rotation but faded down the stretch, as an Abby Stack fall and a pair of out-of-bounds passes by Cassidy McComb and Courtney McCool earned the Gym Dogs a 49.025 score in the floor exercise. Auburn proved only barely able to capitalize upon this show of weakness, as Puckett's 9.9 on the balance beam guided the Tigers to a 49.075 tally.
Contrary to popular belief, Courtney McCool is not a cartoon character created to encourage youngsters to smoke in "Thank You For Smoking." (Yes, I know that Orson used the exact same photograph earlier today, but I assure you that this was purely coincidental.)
The Red and Black saved their best for last, posting a 49.5 on the beam in the fourth rotation. Childs led the visiting team with a 9.95 mark, which was trailed narrowly by the 9.925s credited to Heenan and Grace Taylor. Dwyer's 9.925 and Puckett's 9.9 in the floor exercise led Auburn to a 49.3 tally which, while constituting the Tigers' best rotation of the meet, still fell far short of sufficiency.
The Gym Dogs remain the nation's No. 1 team following yet another impressive road effort by the Red and Black.