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Gym Dawgs during raise their hands during the final event at Stegeman Coliseum in Athens, Georgia, on Friday, Feb. 17, 2023. The University of Georgia gymnastics team falls to the University of Alabama with the final score: Georgia - 197.325 Alabama - 197.525 (Photo/Laney Martin: @laneymartinphotography)

The No. 18 Georgia gymnastics team concluded its regular season this past Friday with a loss against No.2 Michigan. The team completed its regular season with a final record of 6-11 and 1-6 against conference opponents. Georgia now looks to the Southeastern Conference Championship to begin the postseason.

The SEC championship will be held March 18 at Gas South Arena in Duluth, Georgia. The Bulldogs compete in the first session at 3:30 pm where they will face Auburn, Missouri, and Arkansas. The schools competing in the later session will be Florida, LSU, Kentucky and Alabama.

They have plenty of experience in this arena, having competed their last two meets there due to construction in Stegeman Coliseum.

While there will be two sessions, all eight SEC teams will compete against each other for the highest score. Due to both the lack of equipment in each arena alongside an effort to keep the athletes warm in between events, the events will be split in two.

Georgia’s highest score of the season, a 197.325, happened roughly a month ago against in-conference opponent Alabama. Many athletes, including freshman Naya Howard and junior Katie Finnegan, either tied or beat their career high scores on individual events in this meet. Georgia scored its season highs on beam and floor.

An impressive combined score of 49.400 on beam was due to three separate scores of 9.925 from graduate Josie Angeny, senior Haley de Jong and senior Vanessa Deniz. Georgia then posted an even more impressive 49.500 on the floor led by a moonwalkin’ senior Soraya Hawthorne, who tied her season-best 9.950.

De Jong has also recently been nominated for the AAI award, better known as the “Heisman of gymnastics”. De Jong will be up against at least 37 other gymnasts with nine, including herself, from the SEC.

The Bulldogs continued to create new season-high scores throughout their season with their most recent coming on vault at Auburn on February 24. The Bulldogs posted a combined score of 49.375, with Howard leading the way with a 9.925.

Howard, who was named co-freshman of the week the week of March 7, is the first freshman to compete all-around since 2017. She also has competed the most all-around since head coach Courtney Kupets Carter was a Bulldog in 2006.

Georgia most recently matched its season high score on bars of a 49.475 when they faced Arkansas on March 5. Freshman JaFree Scott and Finnegan both set career high scores of 9.950 on this event during the meet.

The Bulldogs look to combine all of the individual successes together Saturday, March 18 to secure their first conference title since 2008.