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Gym Dogs Fall to Gators in Closely-Contested Meet in Gainesville

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The resurgent Gym Dogs traveled to Gainesville on Friday night to tangle with Florida at the O’Connell Center in a true test of their staying power in the post-Suzanne Yoculan era. In a clash of gymnastics titans, seventh-ranked Georgia fell to the fourth-ranked Orange and Blue.

The Gators got the better of the Gym Dogs in the vault, carding a 49.4 on the strength of Ashanee Dickerson’s 9.95 while the Red and Black had to settle for a 49.25 in that event despite Kat Ding’s 9.925. Florida also edged Georgia on the bars by a 49.2-49.175 margin, even though five visiting gymnasts earned a 9.8 or better.

The third rotation saw a nip-and-tuck battle between the Red and Black in the floor exercise and the Orange and Blue on the balance beam. A fall by Florida’s Randy Stageberg opened the door a crack and Courtney McCool took partial advantage with a 9.9 but could not overcome Dickerson’s 9.95. Although the Gym Dogs won the rotation 49.275-49.2, the Gators continued to cling to an overall 147.8-147.7 advantage.

The competing squads swapped spots for the final round and Ding’s fall from the beam gave the Gators their opportunity on the floor and the home team responded with a 9.875 from Stageberg, a 9.9 from Maranda Smith, and a 9.925 from Dickerson. Georgia’s scores of 9.875 from Grace Taylor, 9.9 from Shayla Worley, and 9.975 from McCool enabled the visitors to forge a 49.45-all tie for the rotation but could not stave off a 197.25-197.15 Gator victory.

While the loss was disheartening, the way the Gym Dogs lost was not. The Red and Black earned a 49.175 or better in each rotation and topped 197 for the meet. Those sorts of scores will win more often than not. Unfortunately, when facing Florida, it wasn’t enough.

Go ‘Dawgs!