Your intrepid gymnastics blogger must apologize for completely missing the recap of last week's meet versus the Arkansas Razorbacks. I have to be honest; I just didn't have the energy to report that same old story over and over again.
You've heard it ad nauseam in virtually every meet from the second half of the season: The Gym Dogs have a great meet in 3 events, and then collapse on a fourth, and that disastrous fourth event keeps them from having a good score. Sometimes, it's been floor. More often, it's been beam. Last Saturday, it was beam, where we once again had to count a fall. If we hadn't had to count that fall, we'd have had a very high score, since we managed to card a stellar floor score of 49.550... the highest floor score we've ever seen under Danna Durante's tutelage. As it was, though, the collapse on beam meant that we once again fell into our standard range, only managing a 196.775 mark.
Of course, the "official" spin was that Mary Beth Box's heroic anchor leg on the floor allowed us to claw our way back and still defeat the Razorbacks, at least... and technically, that is true. But Arkansas is not a good team. They're ranked 16th in the latest rankings. Beating Arkansas at the Steg should be a no-brainer... a given. The fact that we had to claw back just to register a score higher than theirs is not something to celebrate. (Though I will admit that the performances displayed by the Gym Dogs on floor were truly impressive. Very well done, especially on the parts of Mary Beth Box, Gigi Marino, and Sarah Persinger.)
And on top of everything else, Brandie Jay was injured in the pre-meet warmups, so we didn't have one of our two best multi-event gymnasts out there. No word on whether Brandie will be back for the postseason.
And so, the Gym Dogs will limp into their final regular season meet of the year tomorrow night at the Steg at 4:00 PM. The meet will be streamed live on the SEC Network+, which is available (as usual) via the WatchESPN website/app. This will be Senior Day, and four ladies will be recognized: Sarah Persinger, Chelsea Davis, Demetria Hunte, and Whitney Kirby. (Kirby is listed in the media guide as a 4th-year junior, but she must have decided to go ahead and exit stage right, since she hasn't been able to break into the lineup.) Hunte and Kirby have both only seen competitive action once in their careers (in 2013 for both), so I'd expect both of them to get at least an exhibition routine this meet. Persinger and Davis were both expected to be rocks in our lineup this year, and though they both started off very slowly, both of them have come on strongly as the season has drawn to a close. We'll need continued leadership from Persinger and Davis if we expect to make any noise at all at the NCAA's.
I'll be back with a wrap-up after Saturday's meet. We have to have realistic expectations, though... Utah is ranked 4th in the country, and is coming off of a 198.250 performance in their last meet. If would take a minor miracle to beat them. What we have to hope for is that we can finally break through that 197 glass ceiling and build some momentum going into the postseason. That's what I'll be looking for. Until then...