Head coach Courtney Kupets Carter speaks to a gymnast during a meet on Friday, Feb. 29, 2020, at Stegeman Coliseum in Athens, Georgia. Georgia lost to Florida. (Photo/Julian Alexander, jalexander@randb.com)

Top-ranked Florida defeated Georgia 197.25-196.075 on Friday night in Gainesville, Florida, handing the GymDogs their first loss of the season. 

The Gators have now triumphed in this rivalry meeting for two consecutive seasons. Head coach Courtney Kupets Carter still noted positive and promising factors despite the loss. 

“I can not be more proud of this team for their resilience throughout the whole meet,” Kupets Carter said.

Georgia began the evening on bars and notched a 49.05 overall. The GymDogs reached a 49.325 in their last meet against Missouri. Megan Roberts stepped up to perform all-around against Florida and led the way with Marissa Oakley in the event with a 9.85 each. Haley de Jong and Victoria Nguyen followed with 9.8. Amanda Cashman posted a 9.75. 

Georgia’s second rotation on vault scored a 49.175 overall and improved from its 48.875 against Missouri. De Jong also competed all-around and earned a career-high of a 9.825 on the event. Rachel Baumann recorded the highest score of a 9.875. Rachael Lukacs made an appearance after missing the meet against Missouri and posted a 9.825. Abbey Ward followed with a 9.850 and freshman Ngyuen posted a 9.8. Mikayla Magee, who scored 9.95 on vault against Missouri, did not compete the event due to an injury suffered in warmups. 

The GymDogs posted the meet’s highest score on floor for their third rotation with a 49.35, which also improved from their 49.075 score against Missouri. Baumann led the way with a 9.925 on floor. Soraya Hawthorne and Roberts both posted 9.875 on the event while de Jong followed with a 9.85. Cashman earned a 9.825. 

Kupets Carter believed the GymDogs responded and navigated around unforeseen difficulties that surfaced regarding lineups.

“Many lineup changes were needed in the middle of competition and they answered well,” Kupets Carter said. “We saw improvements in our vault scores and even bigger ones on floor.”

Georgia finished the evening on beam and notched 48.5 overall, which fell below its 48.875 against Missouri and paled in comparison to Florida’s 49.375. Georgia’s difficulties on beam allowed Florida to lock down a victory. 

Georgia competed on beam without its two highest scoring athletes from the Missouri meet, Magee and Nguyen. The highest beam score was Baumann’s 9.825. Roberts posted a 9.725 and de Jong recorded a 9.7.

In addition to the highly anticipated Georgia-Florida rivalry, this meeting featured a sibling rivalry between Baumann and her Gator sister, Alyssa Baumann, who scored a 9.85 on the beam and 9.925 on floor. 

“This is always a big meet for Rachel Baumann and she kept her head in the game and improved on every event from last week,” Kupets Carter said. “A meet like this is what is going to take us from being a good team to a great team as we continue to grow and improve on the little things. We will get back to the gym and keep working, but overall I’m really proud of this team.”

The GymDogs will travel to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to face another tough SEC opponent in No. 5 LSU on Jan. 22.