Coach Kupets Carter’s young GymDogs continue their slog through a tough slog through a murderer’s row of elite opponents this evening when they take on LSU in Stegeman Coliseum. They’ll be looking to build on some positive momentum created last Friday when they put a serious scare in a top ten Florida program.
Last week the #21 ‘‘Dawgs notched season high scores on both vault and bars, but ultimately fell short against the #8 ranked Gators, 197.425 to 197.300.
It was the Red and Black’s highest score this season, and once again they were led by newcomers. Freshman Lily Smith competed at home in the all-around for the first time in her collegiate career, and captured her first ever all-around title. The Pennsylvania native totaled a 39.600.
That was is highest all-round score from a Georgia freshman since……Courtney Kupets in 2006. Smith’s looking more and more confident and consistent, and having solid scores from her across the scoresheet could be a huge help as the season progresses. For her efforts she was once again named SEC freshman of the week.
UGA’s bars total of 49.500 against the Swingin’ Gators was the highest for the team since the 2019 NCAA Athens Regional. That effort was highlighted by a 9.875 from sophomore Naya Howard, making her first appearance this season after being injured in the early going.
This meet was a serious statement for a GymDog team that struggled on the road last week at Kentucky. A total of five GymDogs notched season-high scores and four more season-high scores were tied. Georgia was in serious contention up to the last gymnast in the last rotation against a potential top five opponent. They accomplished it all while leaning on five freshmen in the rotation. That’s an incredible sign for the rest of this season, and the future.
The ‘Dawgs moved up two slots in the rankings to #19, and now set their sights on #3 LSU. These teams met during the 2023 regular season, when LSU defeated Georgia in Baton Rouge by a score of 197.700 to 196.925. That night LSU’s Aleah Finnegan scored her first career perfect 10 on floor to key the winning effort.
While the Tigers lost some contributors from that squad, they return a fantastic all-around team and will likely be in the national title hunt. Success tonight isn’t beating this LSU team (though admittedly that would be phenomenal), but continuing to score in the mid-197s. If the GymDogs can do that we may be seeing a real step back into SEC and national contention for the Red and Black.
Tonight’s meet begins at 5:45 EST and will be televised on the SEC Network.