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Georgia’s Rachel Baumann leaps in the air during her floor routine. The University of Georgia GymDogs hosted Iowa State and won with a final score of 197.325 - 196.625 on Jan. 20, 2020, in Athens, Georgia. (Photo/Kathryn Skeean, kskeean@randb.com)

The GymDogs earned a 196.75 — their best away score of the 2020 season — in their Friday night loss to Arkansas.

“This really was a great meet for us,” head coach Courtney Kupets Carter said. “The team faced some adversity and pushed through to get a great away score.”

Georgia gymnastics started out strong in its first event of the night, earning an overall score of 49.025 on bars and surpassing Arkansas’s 48.85 on vault. Junior Marissa Oakley led the scoreboard for Georgia with a 9.875. Georgia has used the same bars rotation since competing against Iowa State on Jan. 20, but Friday night’s steady lineup collected the lowest score since facing the Cyclones.

After defeating Arkansas three times in 2019, the GymDogs were beaten by the Razorbacks after Arkansas took a lead in the second rotation.

The Razorbacks earned a higher score after their turn on bars, which pushed them into the lead that carried them through the end of the meet. The GymDogs took home a score of 48.975 on vault with all-around sophomore Rachael Lukacs leading the event with a 9.85.

In the third event, Georgia tried to close the score gap on floor, its highest-scoring event this season. Going into Friday’s meet, the GymDogs were ranked No. 4 on floor in the NCAA. Sabrina Vega led the event, scoring the best between both teams with a 9.95, her fourth of the season.

Despite tying scores in the final event, Arkansas’ lead taken after their turn on bars was enough to clinch the win against the GymDogs. Each team took home a score of 49.4 in its final event, with Georgia completing the meet on beam and Arkansas on floor. Vega and freshman Haley De Jong earned the highest scores for the GymDogs on beam with a pair of 9.925s.

“Starting on bars, we found a lot of our dismounts and landings, so now we just have to combine that with our handstands,” Kupets Carter said. “Vault, we had a completely new lineup today for unforeseen injuries here and there so we have to make sure those athletes rest. Megan Roberts went from competing one to three events tonight. What this team showed was that they are a great team. The adversity is going to pay off later.”

Georgia will return home to Stegeman Coliseum on Feb. 14 to host Ball State and Eastern Michigan for a Valentine’s Day meet.

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