The University of Georgia GymDogs bested No. 6 Alabama 197.275-197.000 on Feb. 12, 2021 in Athens, Georgia. (Photo/ Kathryn Skeean, kskeean@randb.com)

Georgia gymnastics fell to Missouri Friday night in Columbia 196.575-196.1 in a meet filled with season and career highs and lows from the GymDogs. 

Georgia’s poor performance on beam to close out the meet was enough to lose the matchup with Missouri, despite having a 0.15 lead going into the last rotation. The GymDogs met Missouri once already this season where they earned their first victory in the home season opener, but Friday night’s competition took a different turn in the final event. 

Georgia started off on shaky footing despite earning a 48.975 on its first rotation on bars. In the anchor position, Marissa Oakley suffered a fall and was taken out of the rest of the meet. The five previous scores earned before her performance were counted, highlighted by sophomore Haley de Jong’s 9.875 and freshman Victoria Nguyen’s 9.825. Megan Roberts followed with a 9.8, trailed by a 9.775 and 9.7 from Emily Schild and Katie Finnegan, respectively. 

The Tigers were able to get the edge on Georgia after the first rotation, taking a narrow lead to start the meet after scoring well on vault. 

Moving to vault for their second rotation, the GymDogs hoped to replicate their season-high score earned in their previous meet against Auburn but fell slightly short against Missouri. Roberts led the charge with a career-high 9.95, followed closely by Soraya Hawthorne’s 9.9. This was Hawthorne’s second time competing for vault this season, her first being against Auburn where she took the same score. 

Rachel Baumann earned a 9.85 on vault, followed by Abbey Ward’s 9.825 and Amanda Cashman’s 9.75. Georgia was able to take the lead over the Tigers after the second rotation with a 49.275 total. 

The GymDogs’ lead became even more commanding after the third rotation on floor that was highlighted by two scores over 9.9 and a career-high floor performance from Baumann. Roberts scored a 9.85 in the event, followed by a 9.8 and 9.775 from de Jong and Sterlyn Austin, respectively. Baumann’s 9.95 and Hawthorne’s 9.925 in the final lineup positions closed out the rotation on a high note to make the total event score 49.3. 

In their final rotation, the Bulldogs took on beam, scoring a 48.55 total after two falls. Despite scoring a career-high on floor, Baumann faltered on beam, earning a 9.15 that was forced to be counted after Nguyen’s 9.125 was dropped. De Jong was able to match her career-high score of 9.925 and Mikalya Magee earned a 9.9, but neither was enough to clinch the GymDogs’ win. Finnegan took home a 9.8 in the event. 

Oakley was anticipated to compete in the beam anchor position as well but was unable to return to the competition after her fall on bars. Fellow senior Schild took her place and scored a 9.775.

The GymDogs will meet with Kentucky to close out regular season competition in Athens on March 5 for their senior night before traveling to Huntsville, Alabama, for the SEC championship meet on March 20. 

“There has been fight and so much improvement,” said head coach Courtney Kupets Carter. “I saw it all night. All of the season-high scores tonight were wins for the team. This team has improved so much internally.  We look forward to being back in Stegeman next week to honor our seniors.”