Gym Dogs Power Past Kentucky
ATHENS, Ga. - The No. 6 Gym Dogs continued their impressive home form this season with a 197.300-190.950 over the Kentucky Wildcats. Georgia recorded the top score on all four rotations with Lindsey Cheek’s vault (9.95), bars (9.95) and beam (9.875) and Brandie Jay capping the meet with a 9.95 on floor led the way for the Gym Dogs.
Senior Lindsey Cheek was again the catalyst for the home team as she continued her outstanding start to the season as she stretched her season opening streak of receiving a 9.9 on higher on both vault and bars to six meets.
The Gym Dogs recorded a 49.425 on vault behind Cheek’s 9.95 which set her season high and also tied her career high on the event. Cat Hires also recorded a 9.9 to propel Georgia. The Gym Dogs came out of the first rotation having opened a significant lead over the Wildcats who recorded a 47.325 on bars.
Ranked No. 1 in the country on bars, Georgia put forth another strong effort as it recorded a 49.450 on the event. The Gym Dogs were led by the gymnasts ranked second and third in the nation respectively on the event as second ranked Cheek recorded a 9.95 and third ranked Chelsea Davis notched a 9.925. Brandie Jay was the third Gym Dog receiving a bouquet as she scored a 9.9. Georgia stretched its lead at the half way point of the meet 98.875-96.175 as Kentucky scored a 48.800 on vault.
Cheek said the fact she performed as she did at home was an exciting experience.
“You can’t really describe competing in Stegeman Coliseum, it’s like no other,” she said. “It’s always exciting for us to get back in here and to put up 9.95’s on vault and bars makes me really excited that I can continue to contribute to the team on those two events.”
The Gym Dogs recorded a 49.150 on beam in the third rotation. More important than the score for the home team was the return of junior
Sarah Persinger to the line-up after she missed the first five meets of the season after a niggling injury suffered in the preseason. Persinger recorded a respectable 9.775 in her return to the line-up. Georgia was led on the third rotation by Cheek who recorded a 9.875. Georgia continued to assert their dominance overall as the lead continued to grow to 148.025-145.225.
"Sarah I think added a nice boost. She's been working incredibly hard. I think it was important for us to make sure she was confident and she was ready. She showed that she was today,” Durante said. “I think that that line up is strong. Really we are very strong and deep on beam. I like what I saw today."
The Gym Dogs finished the meet with a 49.275 on floor with Jay producing the high score of the rotation on the final routine. Kaylan Earls sparked the event with a lead off 9.9 score that featured all the Illinois native’s usual energy and enthusiasm. It also was a season high for Earls while simultaneously tying her career high.
Brittany Rogers produced a 39.175 score for the all-around. This was a season low for sophomore.
Georgia will return to action on Friday night at 8:30 PM ET when it visits the Florida Gators. No.7 Alabama will be the fifth top-10 opponent Georgia has faced this season. The Gym Dogs return home on Feb. 14 as they welcome Missouri to Stegeman Coliseum. The meet will serve as the annual ‘Pink Meet’ for the Gym Dogs. For ticket information, visit Georgiadogs.com or call the UGA Ticket Office at 1-877-541-1231.
Missouri's Kappler and Updike Post Strong Performances at N.C. State
RALEIGH, N.C. - Behind juniors Laura Kappler and Rachel Updike's exceptional all-around performances, the Tigers produced a solid team effort Saturday night in Raleigh, N.C. After a late push on the team's third and fourth rotations, Missouri was neck and neck with the NC State Wolfpack, but would end up falling just short. The Wolfpack claimed the meet with a 194.675 to 194.525 score.
On the first rotation for Missouri, the Tigers started out well with a team total of 48.775 on bars. The bars lineup showed incredible consistency, as four-of-six Tigers gymnasts finished with an exact score of 9.775. Juniors Briana Conkle, Rebecca Johnson, Laura Kappler, and Rachel Updike all ended with the before mentioned score and the team headed to vault for their second rotation.
The Tigers were led on vault by Updike's score of 9.900, and finished with a team total of 48.700. Freshman Alyson Heimsath continued her impressive first year at Missouri, with a new career-high of 9.750. Kappler and freshman Angie Kern concluded the solid second rotation after producing a 9.800 and 9.700 respectively. Halfway through the meet in Raleigh, the NC State Wolfpack led 97.850 to 97.475.
Missouri then moved their way to floor for their third rotation of the evening. Heimsath, as she has consistently done all season, kicked things off in a positive way with a 9.725 score. Kappler continued her solid all-around effort with a 9.750 and it marked a new career-high for the junior. Conkle was up next for the visiting team, and finished with a 9.775 score.
Up fourth in the Tigers floor lineup was Kern, and she came away with a new personal best score of 9.825. After being limited on the event in the beginning of the season, Updike made her floor debut and tallied a 9.825. Freshman Anna Bowers, fresh off a team-leading floor score from last week's contest against Kentucky, once again delivered with a score of 9.750. After three rotations at the Reynolds Coliseum, the Tigers barely trailed the Wolfpack with a score of 146.750 to 146.400.
Saturday evening in Raleigh concluded on beam for Missouri, and Kappler would finish off her tremendous individual night. The junior's 9.800 on beam tied her previous best, and her 39.125 all-around score established a new career-high. After a pair of down scores for the Tigers, senior Mackenzie McGill matched her teammate with a 9.800 of her own.
After the Wolfpack slipped as a team on their fourth and final rotation, the Tigers had an opening to steal the meet victory. It came down to the last few gymnasts for both Missouri and NC State, and the Wolfpack's late push on floor would prove to be enough. The final team scores at Reynolds Coliseum showed NC State's 194.675 to Missouri's 194.525.
Updike's score of 9.900 on vault proved to be good enough for the event title, and marked her fourth event championship of the 2014 season.
The Tigers return home to Columbia, Mo. next Friday for the popular Beauty and the Beast meet coinciding with the Missouri Wrestling team. Missouri Gymnastics will host SEMO, while the wrestling program takes on Buffalo. The event will begin at 6:30 p.m. CT.
For the latest information on all things Mizzou Gymnastics, check-in to MUTigers.com. You can also follow the Tigers on social media, by liking us on Facebook and following us on Twitter and Instagram.