On the day Bulldog Nation was saddened by the death of Uga VIII, the fourth-ranked Gym Dogs took on No. 11 Arkansas in Fayetteville. A difficult day for the Red and Black faithful was not improved when Georgia fell on the road by a 195.775-195.4 final margin.
The hometown Razorbacks opened the meet on the vault, where they used a pair of 9.825s to pace a 49.0 effort. The visiting Bulldogs spent the initial rotation on the bars, where Gina Nuccio’s 9.85 and Cassidy McComb’s 9.875 were not enough to overcome the 9.4 from Kat Ding that the Red and Black were forced to count because of Noel Couch’s 9.275. The Georgia gymnasts wound up with a cumulative 48.675 score.
Couch rebounded with a 9.85 on the vault, which, when coupled with 9.8s from Mariel Box and Lindsey Cheek, earned the Gym Dogs a 48.95 in the second rotation. Arkansas carded a combined 49.025 on the bars to take a 98.025-97.625 lead at the midpoint. The Lady Hogs were forced to count a 9.55 on the beam, resulting in an overall 48.625 mark, as the Athenians proved unable to take advantage of Shayla Worley’s 9.875 in the floor exercise when a 9.075 from McComb obligated the visitors to include Laura Moffatt’s 9.2 in their 48.475 total.
The home team headed into the fourth rotation sporting a 146.65-146.1 advantage. McComb, Worley, and Christa Tanella all contributed 9.875s to Georgia’s 49.3 total on the beam, but the Arkansans held off their guests with the 49.125 team score in the floor exercise that gave the Razorbacks the victory.
Before departing for the Natural State, the Gym Dogs reportedly posted a 196.575 team score in an intrasquad scrimmage. That team certainly did not show up on Friday night, when the Georgia gymnasts earned no marks as high as 9.9 and managed almost as many scores worse than 9.5 (four) as scores above 9.85 (five). Just when the Athenians appeared to be hitting their stride, they took a step back in a big way tonight, raising anew what appear increasingly to be very valid concerns about Jay Clark’s ability to restore the program Suzanne Yoculan built after demonstrating last year that he was unable to maintain it.