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Gym Dogs Crash Out of Nationals in Last Place with a 195.800

Being a Georgia fan IS pain, highness. Anyone who says otherwise is selling something.

Yeah, I know, Rachel Dickson. I’m pretty pissed, too.
John Paul van Wert/UGA Sports Communications

Frankly, I don’t want to talk about it.

Rotation 1: Balance Beam - 48.500

Sabrina Vega - 9.65
Hayley Sanders - 9.7375
Morgan Reynolds - 9.65
Ashlyn Broussard - 9.6375
Vivi Babalis - 9.825
Rachel Schick - 9.0125

You see scores out to 4 decimal points in the national meet because there are 6 judges for this meet. The highest and lowest score are dropped, and then the remaining 4 scores are averaged. (This is as opposed to every other meet, where only two scores end up being averaged, regardless of how many total judges there are.)

After the first 3 ladies went, it was clear our night was already over. But wait, it doesn’t get better. (Well, it does, but only for 1 event.)

Rotation 2: Bye

Rotation 3: Floor - 49.225

Morgan Reynolds - 9.85
Beth Roberts - 9.825
Vivi Babalis - 9.8125
Rachel Dickson - 9.1275
Sydney Snead - 9.85
Gigi Marino - 9.8875

Rotation 4: Vault - 48.9125

Morgan Reynolds - 9.7875
Gigi Marino - 9.75
Beth Roberts - 9.7625
Ashlyn Broussard - 9.825
Lauren Johnson - 9.7375
Sydney Snead - 9.7875

Rotation 5: Bye

Rotation 6: Bars - 49.1625

Morgan Reynolds - 9.80
Hayley Sanders - 9.80
Lauren Johnson - 9.3125
Sydney Snead - 9.7625
Rachel Dickson - 9.90
Rachel Schick - 9.90

Conclusion: Georgia Gym Dogs - 195.800 (6th out of 6 in Session II, 12th out of 12 in the entire national semifinals)

There are only two words for this meet: unmitigated disaster. This was a complete failure at every level, from the coaches to the gymnasts to the damn student managers helping to set up the damn apparatus for each event.

Most specifically, these seniors failed to lead this team tonight. We had a slow start on beam in our first two performances, but senior Morgan Reynolds had a chance to pull it back in the 3rd performance slot. Instead, she balance-checked her way to a 9.65. Same for Ashlyn Broussard and Rachel Schick, who actually fell in the anchor position. There’s no way to sugarcoat it after a performance like this, and I’m not going to try: these seniors failed to step it up on the biggest stage, and in fact wilted under the pressure.

That might seem harsh, but we’re the Georgia Damn Gym Dogs, dammit. We should never be putting up a friggin’ score in the 195’s, let alone at the goddamn national championship meet for a chance to make the Super Six. This is the worst score we’ve put up at nationals since the Jay Clark era (2011), and the first time we’ve ever finished in 12th place at nationals.

I don’t want to hear excuses for a poor performance like this, because there are no excuses for this stinker. We did have some mitigating circumstances, however, that were always going to hamper us. Most notably, the injuries to our best performers.

Sydney Snead has a chronic back injury that might keep her out of all-around for the rest of her career. And Rachel Dickson rolled her ankle at the exact worst time (the first postseason meet), so she wasn’t able to perform in all-around for us, either. And one of our best bars performers, Natalie Vaculik, was out for virtually the entire year with an injury. And finally, I don’t know why Sabrina Vega didn’t perform on floor today, but I suspect there was an injury there, as well. (There’s no way Beth Roberts gets the start instead of Vega any other way.)

In spite of this terrible, horrible, no good day, however, there is hope for the future. Freshman Rachel Dickson toughed it out on bars and floor (though she had a nasty-looking fall on floor), and her 9.90 on bars earned her second-team All America status. (Senior Rachel Schick also earned second-team All America recognition for her 9.90 on bars.) And we’ve seen our underclassmen consistently outperform their upperclassmen this year... Snead, Dickson, and Vega have all been bright spots for us this season. With another year of experience under their belts, hopefully they can continue to improve and take this team higher next year.

Not only that, but we have a fantastic freshman class coming to Athens in 2017. I’ll have another post in the next week or so reviewing that class, but I think it’ll be a big step up in talent from the departing senior class, which should help us in a big way on pretty much every event.

So, that’s pretty much all there is to say. Georgia had a Jay Clark-ian night (a Jay Clark-ian season, really), and we’re going home with our tail between our legs. There’s absolutely nothing we can do about it now, so the choice for our ladies is either to fold like a Tech defense against Todd Gurley, or remember this pain and use it as motivation to get better in the offseason. The choice is up to our team.

Like I said, I’ll be back later to look at the future and the incoming freshmen, but for now, I’m just gonna sit back and pour myself a little more Lagavulin, thanks.

Go Dawgs!