clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Gym Dogs Land in 2017 With A 193.600 Thud

Worst score posted by the team in 18 years


We made history. But it wasn’t the good kind of history.

Welp. What can you say?

Sometimes, you get your hopes up, and then your team shits the bed so hard that you have no choice but to shrug, settle in for the long haul of the season, and hope that your team will somehow eventually scrape out some semblance of a respectable finish by the time the season is over. Most of y’all are also football fans, so y’all know what I’m talking about.

Let’s go ahead and start this meet recap, so it can be over more quickly.
The format I’m using for recaps this year is to list the team’s rotation score at the top. Then, I’ll list each gymnast’s individual score in the order they performed in the rotation, with the dropped score crossed out. And as usual, I’ll highlight any scores that are 9.90 or higher, since those are particularly great scores. (Of course, we won’t have to worry about that today.)

Rotation 1: Uneven Bars - 48.700

Hayley Sanders - 8.70
Morgan Reynolds - 9.775
Lauren Johnson - 9.65
Rachel Dickson - 9.7
Rachel Schick - 9.7
Sydney Snead - 9.875

On our first routine of the first meet of the season, everything was going well until the tiniest thing went wrong, and then it all fell apart in horrifying fashion. Let’s hope Hayley Sanders’ competitive debut for the Gym Dogs won’t be prophetic regarding the team’s entire season. It was, unfortunately, quite predictive of how this meet went.

I would be remiss, however, if I didn’t also point out that most of our better performers received shockingly low scores on a significant number of their routines. Morgan Reynolds, for example, deserved at least a 9.80, if not a 9.85 for her bars routine. She missed getting completely vertical on a handstand or two, and she didn’t quite stick her landing, but it was definitely in the 9.8 range, to my eyes.

The issue of Gym Dog gymnasts being lowballed by the judges was a recurring one all night in Baton Rouge. And while it would not have come anywhere close to changing the result of the meet (LSU was just flat-out in a different league than us), it’s still very troubling to see judges blatantly view your routines through “fog-covered glasses.”

Gymnastics, unfortunately, has a reputation for judges consistently giving better scores for equivalent routines to teams that are supposed to be the “better teams.” And equally as unfortunate as the reputation is the fact that it’s not exactly just a reputation. We’ve seen clearly over the past couple of seasons that Georgia is no longer one of the “better teams” in judges’ minds, so we’re going to get screwed more often than not on judging numbers for a routine that’s equally as difficult as a middling-difficulty routine from Alabama, Florida, LSU, or another elite team. And, really, there’s nothing we can do about this. We just have to build ourselves back up to the level where we’re just flat-out better than these teams. Proving that we’re better is the only way to get back into the judges’ good graces. Until then, we’re going to have meets like this where we get screwed on scores that should be in the 9.8-9.9 range.

Rotation 2: Vault - 48.85

Ashlyn Broussard - 9.775
Morgan Reynolds - 9.725
Beth Roberts - 8.425
Lauren Johnson - 9.725
Rachel Dickson - 9.75
Sydney Snead - 9.875

We got screwed on a half-tenth several times in this rotation, as well. But we still didn’t stick landings or fly as high and with as much power as we need to. And Beth Roberts, regrettably, looked like she just forgot how to vault. To me, it looked like her run-up was a little awkward, and she just couldn’t find her feet on the landing, so she landed on her rear end. We’re probably fortunate she didn’t get injured, to be honest.

Rotation 3: Floor - 48.825

Morgan Reynolds - 9.80
Beth Roberts - 9.75
Vivi Babalis - 9.425
Sabrina Vega - 9.775
Gigi Marino - 9.825
Sydney Snead - 9.675

This rotation was where the short-handed scores given to us by the judges were most egregious. Sabrina Vega looked mesmerizing in her first competitive routine as a Gym Dog. And somehow, the judges saw enough deductions to mark her down to a 9.775? Insane. Not to mention Gigi Marino’s excellent initial effort which should have at least been a 9.85, if not a 9.9. And I’ll give the judges the benefit of the doubt and say that I just straight-up missed something in Sydney Snead’s routine. I didn’t see any deductions that came close to deserving a 9.675.

Rotation 4: Balance Beam - 47.225

Sabrina Vega - 9.625
Rachel Dickson - 9.15
Sydney Snead - 9.80
Ashlyn Broussard - 9.15
Vivi Babalis - 9.50
Rachel Schick - 9.125

Three falls and two almost-falls. So, if you’re keeping track at home, that’s exactly 1 routine out of 6 that didn’t have some kind of major error. Coach Durante told me that the team’s confidence level was a key to consistency on the beam, and they were going to try to pick up where they left off at the end of last season. They did not accomplish this goal.


Final score: LSU 197.825, Georgia 193.600

If my research is correct, the 193.600 final score is the lowest score posted by the Gym Dogs in the 21st century. I believe the last time we had a score that low was in the season-opening meet of the 1999 season against the Washington Huskies in Seattle. The Gym Dogs won that meet, 193.375-190.950, and went on to win the national championship that year. You’ll forgive me, however, if I don’t see any parallels between the 1999 Gym Dogs squad and the current edition. I mean, it does serve as a data point to argue that all is not lost, and we can just “start the season over” in our next meet and pretend like Baton Rouge never happened, and that’s technically true.

But with a team this young and inexperienced, confidence is always going to be key. Last night’s performance can’t be good for our team confidence, and once things start spiraling downhill, they can be damn near impossible to stop. But that is Danna Durante’s primary job right now: stop the bleeding, at any cost.

I heard rumors on Twitter during the meet about injuries, and Natalie Vaculik’s absence was probably the most noticable. Apparently, Gracie Cherrey was also walking in a boot at the meet. So we might be dealing with injuries to a couple of ladies who should be solid contributors. Nothing excuses this level of poor performance, though.

The one really positive note of the night was Sydney Snead’s very solid performance in her new all-around role. I don’t see what she did to earn the judges’ ire on floor, but she was the team’s leading scorer on the other 3 events. Snead has looked like she would be in line to be one of the team’s stars since the moment she set foot on campus last year, and it looks like she’s settling into that role pretty well in the early stages of the season.

The other notable positive performances that are worthy of mention (and all of which were criminally under-scored by the judges) were Gigi Marino’s floor routine, Sabrina Vega’s floor routine, and Morgan Reynolds’ performances on floor, vault, and bars.

Georgia’s next meet is next Friday, January 13, against the Auburn Tigers in Auburn. The meet starts at 7:00 PM Eastern, and will be televised live on the SEC Network.

Until then,

Go Dawgs!