I-75 diverges with yellow lines. And the University of Georgia Women’s Gymnastics team must take that road Friday**. Unfortunately it will end up in Gainesville, Florida. And that’s where they will meet with the #3 ranked Florida Gators for one of the biggest gymnastics meets of the weekend (the other being #2 UCLA vs. #4 Utah Saturday on the PAC12 network).
But the road will make all the difference. Because that is the only slight on the Gym Dogs season curriculum vitae. Right now the team is #7 in the national rankings, and while competing in the SEC Championships appears first on the schedule, the RQS rankings that determine regionals and national competition schedules will be coming out soon. And the UGA road scores are a good half-point or more lower than the home scores. Apparently this matters to those who make the decisions.
Florida is a great program this year. They’ve beaten Missouri, LSU, Kentucky, Auburn, and Alabama so far this season. The lone loss being to far-and-away #1 Oklahoma (but scored 198.000 in the process. Which is tremendous). They are probably a lock for hosting a regional and making it to nationals. But hey... they don’t moonwalk on a paper balance beam, do they?
Junior Sabrina Vega comes into the match hot, having a 9.925 on beam last week versus Kentucky, then clinching the match with a 9.975 on floor. For her efforts, Vega was named the SEC Specialist of the Week.
UGA freshman Rachel Baumann might be motivated as well. For the first time in her collegiate career, she will face her sister Alyssa, a sophomore on the Gator squad.
The event is broadcast on the SEC Network Friday at 7:00 pm ET. Bart Connor and Kathy Johnson-Clarke will be on the mic for this big late season matchup of rivals and top 10 programs. The Gym Dogs could really benefit from a big road win, so catch the coverage if you can. And as always...
**Unless they take a helicopter or plane.