The 2021 Women’s Gymnastics season is filled with both good news and bad news.
The good news is that Georgia has only lost to the now #1 and #2 gymnastics teams in the country; LSU having moved up thanks to their home performance against our beloved Gym Dogs last Friday. They, and Florida, are cooking. Florida is an absolute juggernaut and looks to be comfortable putting up 197.200+ every time they walk out to loud music.
The bad news is that our only victory is over a Missouri team that has fallen to the bottom of the top 25. More bad news is our upcoming opponent, Arkansas, has suddenly found life and is averaging a half point higher than UGA (196.742 - 196.200) and they hit a season (and several seasons) high of 197.250 against UF. Currently ranked #6, they started the season at the 15 spot. The good news is that we hit our own season high against LSU last weekend of 196.375. That’s also kinda the bad news... 3 meets in and we haven’t scared 197 yet. But we’re climbing!
More bad news. Gym Dog stalwarts Marissa Oakley, Victoria Nguyen, and Mikayla Magee were all out last week with injuries. (Seriously, does someone have Coach Kupets-Carter’s weekly injury report? I seem to be kept in the dark. I don’t want to file a FOIA request, but this is really cramping my style.) But maybe that’s good news?!? The fact we hit a season high missing a senior, a junior, and a very talented freshman means the team is deep and ready to compete every week.
The weak rotation for the Gym Dogs seems to be... wait for it... beam. The devil’s apparatus has proven to once again befuddle these young ladies. Whereas the season averages on bars, vault, and floor are all over 49.000, the 48.833 average on beam is a glaring red flag. After averaging 9.775 per gymnast at home versus Mizzou, the Gym Dogs fell to a 9.671 on beam at Florida. There was a bounceback in Baton Rouge where a 9.808 shows signs of life. Yet Coach Kupets-Carter has used three different lineups on beam, and 11 different gymnasts total. Injuries are a major part of this - our 2nd highest scores in this event are Mikayla Magee and Victoria Nguyen and they haven’t been able to get back in the lineup since the opening meet.
UGA has been on the road the last two weeks, and facing two top 5 times in a row can certainly wear on a person. Now we get the chance to use the Stegeman Coliseum advantage - except, well, a pandemic is out and about. Still and yet, having no travel, little to any commute, access to team doctors and your own locker will count for something. Will it count for some much needed juice in the scoring? We will have to wait and see. The Gym Dogs certainly haven’t wilted - they just haven’t found the groove and had the right ladies in the right lineup with the right routines at the right time. And that could be this Friday night, in the Steg, with TV coverage starting at 8:30 pm ET on SEC Network.
And as always...