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Georgia junior Rachael Lukacs grins after landing her vault. 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 have appeared to reset during the bye week as its refocused approach triumphed on Friday in an upset over SEC opponent and No. 6 Alabama 197.275-197.

The GymDogs posted their highest overall score of the season at 197.25 and secured their second win for 2021. The GymDogs also posted season-high scores on three separate events: vault, bars and beam. 

Head coach Courtney Kupets Carter said the team stayed steady throughout and demonstrated their capability tonight. 

“This was a team effort,” Kupets Carter said. “I'm always more is more, right? So I'm like there is more to be done, and this team has so much more left in them. But to enjoy the success today, because it's really important for them to realize that they put the work in, they were intentional about what they did in the meet and so now just to enjoy that success from tonight.” 

The first rotation on vault set the meet’s tone with a 49.25 score, the highest the GymDogs have scored on the event all season. Junior Rachael Lukacs reached a season-high score of 9.875 and sophomores Amanda Cashman and Haley de Jong hit career highs with a pair of 9.85s.

“Everyone had great landings, which is something we've really been working on,” de Jong said. “Then we just carried it over through to the rest of the events.”

The second rotation on bars continued the charge with a 49.375 overall compared to a 48.85 against Arkansas. Senior Emily Schild, de Jong and senior Marissa Oakley all posted season-high scores. The GymDogs then reached a 49.35 season-high score in the third rotation on beam with junior Rachel Baumann and Oakley leading the way with season-highs of 9.925.

De Jong said the bye week grind after their loss to Arkansas allowed the GymDogs to succeed in areas they may have struggled with before. 

“We really focused in on the details and our competence,” de Jong said. “So I think the bye week was super helpful for us to refocus in and focus on those little things, and I think we really showed it off tonight.”

After the pair of 9.925s on beam from Baumann and Oakley, the GymDogs held the momentum moving to the last event on floor to seal the win and upset Alabama. 

Kupets Carter said Georgia’s progress has been tremendous and that confidence is beginning to shine. She said even when a mistake occurred, calmness washed over the GymDogs and they remained relaxed and steady. 

“Steady was pretty much our word throughout the meet today,” Kupets Carter said. “Just stay steady in your warmup, in competition. … Great scores, great routines and so the energy was really high. So we just made sure to bring it back down between each rotation before we started the next one.”

Baumann said they’ve been working on that confidence, and tonight it carried through on every event to record season-high scores and push the GymDogs to victory. 

“I think we still have a lot more to give, but the confidence really helped us and we have so much potential, we just have to be able to unlock it,” Baumann said. “It was really fun tonight to see some of that come out.”