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Georgia gymnasts erupt in cheers as Marissa Oakley sticks the landing to her bar 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 Georgia gymnastics team took home its first home win of its 2020 campaign Monday afternoon in Stegeman Coliseum, beating Iowa State 197.325 to 196.625. The Martin Luther King Jr. Day meet marked the 13th-straight triumph for the GymDogs over the Cyclones and the season’s first score over 197.

The GymDogs saw a quick turnaround from their last meet against LSU. On Jan. 10, Georgia’s bars lineup suffered two falls and was forced to count one in their final score, ultimately contributing to Georgia’s loss to the Tigers.

Monday’s meet saw a different story unfold as Georgia’s bars score increased 1.225 from the matchup against LSU. Marissa Oakley and Megan Roberts led the way, each scoring a 9.925. Roberts’ score recorded a new career high in the event.

“I think our bars really was a big turning point — I think we proved that we could do it,” Roberts said. “It was a little iffy at the beginning [of the season] but we worked really hard this week, hitting routines, doing mental sets, and I think that it’s really shown.”

Oakley closed out the rotation, and the relief on her face was evident as she stuck her dismount and heard Stegeman erupt in cheers.

The junior’s routine was tainted by an uncharacteristic fall in the GymDogs’ last meet. Georgia took a collective deep breath in their huddle following the event.

“It was that moment of excitement that we were all so happy we did [well on bars] … But beam is an event where you have to be very calm,” Oakley said. “It was like, ‘We’re excited but let’s make sure we’re refocusing, calming ourselves down a little bit before going to beam.’”

Georgia’s scores continue to increase on beam as the season develops, contributing to the team’s first score exceeding 197 points. Rachel Baumann took home a season high of 9.925 and senior Sabrina Vega scored her second 9.9 in the event at Stegeman this year.

Vega’s high scores continued on floor as she closed out the lineup with a 9.95, followed closely by sophomore Rachael Lukacs’ 9.9.

The GymDogs will travel to Fort Worth, Texas, for the Metroplex Challenge on Jan. 25 to compete against Oklahoma, Alabama and Denver before returning to Stegeman take on Auburn on Feb. 2.

“This meet definitely builds confidence,” head coach Courtney Kupets Carter said. “They are a strong team. They need to stay within themselves, take it one event at a time, one routine at a time. They’re really taking that to heart, and you can see the difference in this team. I’m proud of them and now we have to carry this momentum into this weekend.”

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