How does one measure greatness? One might use championships to decide. And in that case, the two best programs in NCAA Women’s Gymnastics will face off Saturday. Utah, the program with 9 national championships, will visit Athens to take on the University of Georgia Gym Dogs, the program with 10. Does that mean we are the Ute’s plus one?? I don’t understand kids these days.
The #6 Utah team will be hosted by the #8 Gym Dogs in Stegeman Coliseum Saturday afternoon at 4:00 pm. This will close out the regular season, and is one of the best match-ups going this weekend (the other being #11 Alabama going to face the #1 juggernaut Oklahoma - I hope they get run).
The meet has serious implications for both teams. Each is looking to position itself for the national qualifying, and with the recent change to a new post-season format. Instead of the “Super Six”, there are 4 meets as a play-in for each of the 4 regionals, which are also split into sessions. The winners advance to a Super Regional, with the eventual goal of two four-team semi-finals to produce a “Final Four”. Yep, couldn’t leave well enough alone. But with Georgia at #8 - that’s the last spot for a semi-final. And Utah is at #4. Plus there’s all kind of history between these programs. And Georgia will apparently be without the services of Sophomore Emily Schild, who has been very solid on bars. This definitely takes away an advantage for UGA Saturday afternoon.
These ladies are coming off a first place finish at “Elevate The Stage” in Birmingham last week, where they dispatched Michigan State, #20 Arkansas, and #10 Minnesota. The Gym Dogs won Vault, Balance Beam, and Floor, with a 0.100 2nd place in Uneven Bars. Scoring was good to the Georgia team, and several season-highs were set or matched - mostly on an individual basis, which summed to a great team score of 197.325.
There were two 9.900s or greater on beam by the Red & Black, one in Vault, and one in Uneven Bars. And four scores of 9.900 or greater on floor. Senior Sydney Snead won event titles in vault, beam, and scored another title in All-Around. The four time All-American is going out in style, and adding hardware to her collection. Though her perfect 10 last season on floor, against Florida, is going to be hard to beat as a career highlight.
Speaking of Snead, she will be honored before Saturday’s meet. The Macon Telegraph has a nice piece on the lone competing senior, and is fitting for a Damn Good ‘Dawg.
The event will be broadcast at 4:00 pm Eastern on the SEC+ network.