Photo by Brian Fox | ChompTalk

It’s time to bring out one of the best rivalries in the SEC again, as Florida heads to Athens to face the Georgia Gymdogs tonight!

If you’ve read the title of this blog, you can probably guess how tonight is going to go. Georgia’s not looking so hot this year – they have a few key gymnasts injured, and as a whole, the team does not look as well-prepared as it has in the past. To be fair, the Gymdogs have only had one meet so far, as last week’s matchups were canceled for COVID protocols, but the team’s only 9.9+ score so far this season belongs to Megan Roberts on vault.

In contrast… well, if you’re here, you probably know exactly how well the Gators are doing. Last week, Nya Reed and Trinity Thomas notched back-to-back 10s on floor in a come-from-behind win against Alabama, which also featured a third 10, this one from Thomas on vault, and several 9.9+ scores from other athletes, like Megan Skaggs, Leanne Wong, and Sloane Blakely. And that was just in a single meet. Thomas won SEC Specialist of the Week and Wong won SEC Co-Freshman of the Week, and that was all after just barely beating Alabama after having off bars and beam rotations.

In short, it’s highly unlikely that this meet ends with anything other than a Gator W, but never say never. Georgia does lead the all-time series 93-60-1, and there are a few key stories to watch. Roberts is certainly one of their top athletes and should be putting up solid scores, and then there’s the Battle of the Baumanns.

What we once expected to be only a one- or two-time occurrence is now on its fourth occasion: sisters Alyssa and Rachel Baumann committed to rival teams and now compete against each other at least twice a year, once in a dual like tonight and once at SEC Championships. This year’s will be the last, as this is absolutely Alyssa’s final season of eligibility, and it has the potential to be quite interesting. Last season, Alyssa made her all-around debut when the Gators were in a pinch, down several athletes due to COVID protocols. Rachel, meanwhile, has also been training all four and competed AA twice last year. They’ve both been in and out of some lineups, especially bars, but would tonight’s final sisterly competition be worth it to the coaches to let them have a shot?

It all starts at 6pm on SEC Network, but if you can’t watch or don’t have access, we’ll be here providing moment-by-moment breakdowns of the meet as we go.

Full disclosure: I will be on my way home from work for the first rotation. My husband has graciously agreed to pick me up so I’m not watching and driving, but I won’t have the ability to switch back and forth to watch and blog at the same time. I’ll type up a quick rotation summary as soon as I get home, and hopefully we should be good to go for the second rotation as normal.

6:14pm: Hey guys, updating from the road. SECN is BOOKING through these rotations tonight even though the 2nd of their 3 planned meets tonight got postponed indefinitely, but here’s a summary from rotation one.

Georgia is a little sloppy on vault but definitely looks better than Week One. I wish I could give you concrete scores, but unfortunately, the live scoring link is not working and it’s not being shown on screen right now. I do recall that Roberts went 9.925 and Rachel Baumann 9.725, so that should give you some idea.

Florida, on the other hand, had all 9.8s or higher and looked much cleaner on bars than last week overall. McCusker again had some trouble with her dismount, but Thomas and Wong cleaned up in the final two spots with a pair of 9.975s.

AFTER ONE: Gators lead by 0.25!

6:31pm: Made it home! Just in time for the end of rotation 2.

Thomas, VT: Yurchenko 1.5, ooh, came in a little short and had to squat deep to save it. Probably the score they’ll drop.

Roberts, UB: Easily the best routine for Georgia by far. Let’s recap!

Georgia started out alright on bars, some knees and leg separations in places, but then Haley de Jong’s feet slipped off the bar and she had to cover with a kip, and she ended up with a 9.625. However, with hits from Schild and Roberts, they were able to drop that score, but there were some in the 9.7 range they did have to count.

Vault went pretty well for Florida – they started off with Chloi Clark (not Bri Edwards, as the commentators kept repeating) and Skaggs with their lovely fulls. Savannah Schoenherr got another opportunity to try her return to vault post-injury and it went much better, fully upright and well-controlled, and she earned a 9.875 for her efforts. Reed had another excellent vault this week, earning a 9.95, and Wong stuck her Podkopayeva, though some form errors caused her only to score a 9.825. Thomas, unfortunately, had that wonky landing at the end, so the Gators won’t be quite as far ahead of Georgia as they might’ve hoped.

AFTER TWO: UF 98.725, UGA 98.325

6:40pm: Magee, BB: Bhs loso loso, little lean to the side but she covers with a smile. Full turn, fine. Roundoff 1.5, little step. I must’ve missed her dance series because I don’t remember seeing one?

Clapper, FX: Rudi to double stag, kinda bouncy on that landing, traveled a bit in the air. 1.5 to front lay to stag, all lovely and well controlled through there. Switch side to straddle full, nice positions in the air there. Double pike, kinda skids back a little, but she kept it in bounds it looked like?

6:43pm: Cohen, BB: Bhs loso and she’s off, that’s unfortunate. Vivir Mi Vida for beam music though, that’s a fun choice. Switch leap to straddle jump, nice flexibility. Full turn to some choreo, looking confident there. Side aerial to split jump, shaky connection there. Roundoff double full stuck! Good for her, nice recovery.

Hearing Lazzari did travel and she was injured in warmup? That’s not a good sign, considering we didn’t see her at introductions. I wonder if Roethlisberger is misinformed.

Skaggs, FX: Rudi to stag, more in control than Clapper but still a little bouncy. Roundoff 1.5 front lay, so clean. Little wink in the finishing choreo on the floor, it’s so sassy and precise through the whole thing, I’m obsessed.

6:47pm: Schild, BB: Front aerial bhs bhs, and she’s off too. Georgia now counting a fall. Finishes the rest of her routine, but the damage is unfortunately done.

Blakely, FX: Double arabian, step forward, no flag so I think she kept in bounds – commentators disagree with me. Positions on her dance series are lovely! Double tuck, good control there. 1.5 to front lay, nice and clean to finish it out.

6:50pm: Hawthorne, BB: goes for series and falls. Welp. This team is having a beam meltdown. Front toss to wolf jump, that’s nice. Moonwalk, that’s a Georgia tradition for anyone who didn’t know. Roundoff 1.5, stuck the landing.

A Baumann, FX: 1.5 to front full, straight into her choreo, doesn’t give a moment to doubt her. Gorgeous leap series. Double pike to finish, much nicer than last week, good control and plenty of stamina.

6:54pm: de Jong, BB: Switch to split, lovely extension in those. Front aerial to straddle jump, steady. Bhs loso, totally off from the get go and she’s on the floor. Commentator Alicia Sacramone Quinn making a good point that Georgia’s lack of reps in the gym due to COVID could be affecting their stamina.

Reed, FX: DLO is gorgeous, jumps out to a lunge. Rudi to loso, little slide on that front foot there. Double pike, just steps her foot back to the lunge real quick but it looked like she was a little bit leaned forward and underrotated there too. Not as good as last week, but still a great score.

6:58pm: R Baumann, BB: Bhs loso, misses her foot and ends up straddling the beam, which unfortunately still counts as a fall. Full turn from standing, that technique is so bizarre to me but she makes it work. Finishes it out and fights for the stick, but UGA is just in a HOLE now.

Taylor, FX: Goes for her first pass, lands funny on her ankle and she has to stop. Assistant coach Owen Field has to carry her off. God, I hope she’s okay. If it’s true that Lazzari is injured, that’s two in a day. The Gators are deep, but that’s a blow regardless, and you never want to see athletes hurt like that.

AFTER THREE: UF 147.95, UGA 144.95

7:08pm: Skaggs, BB: Single wolf turn, solid. Switch to split, nice and floaty, lovely toes. Bhs loso, so steady. Front aerial, little bobble. Cat leap to switch side, gorgeous. Side aerial to back full, little bounce on the landing. Good start for them. Hopefully everyone else can keep their heads in that game.

Perez-Lugones, FX: Love this floor routine from her. Double pike to open, nice control. So much fire in her choreography. Front half to front full, little stutter step to keep her feet under her. Double tuck, sticks it… almost? Puts her foot out in front of her afterward, like she was a little short, but she doesn’t act like it – finishes strong!

7:12pm: Blakely, BB: Front aerial to bhs, solid. Switch to switch half, looked like she broke the connection there, she may not get credit for that. Side somi, one of her good ones. Side aerial back full stuck! We’ll see if she gets a deduction for not meeting her routine requirements or not.

Magee, FX: Devil Went Down to Georgia routine, here we go. Piked full in to start, nice! Good positions in her dance series. 1.5 to front lay, reeeeally had to pull it around but kept it on her feet. Double pike to finish, another good one. Georgia recovering.

7:15pm: A Baumann, BB: Bhs loso, snaps those arms back, she is not moving. Switch to split, lovely positions in the air. Side aerial, keeps it steady. Full turn, great. Switch half and she FALLS?? This does not happen to Alyssa. Roundoff 1.5, big hop forward. She’s upset.

Roberts, FX: I missed her actual routine construction but it was a big hit, finished with a nice high double pike. She easily looks the best of anyone at Georgia right now.

7:19pm: Wong, BB: Bhs loso, steady. Full turn is fine. Front aerial, little leg up bobble but saves it. Side aerial and side somi are both fine, still not sure why she’s doing both of those? Roundoff double full, swims for the stick but dropped her chest to do so, that’ll still be a deduction.

Lukacs, FX: Double pike to open, gorgeous and high. I miss her double lay. 1.5 to front layout, barely uses half the diagonal for that. Dance series in the corner is tight, I don’t buy that second element in the wolf position. Double tuck to finish, great control and power. That’ll be a great score for them.

7:23pm: Thomas, BB: Split leap to start, lovely. One arm bhs to loso, gorgeous. Front aerial to beat jump to bhs swingdown (korbut), so effortless. Side aerial back full, little bounce in place. I love seeing her back on this event! She looks a little rattled still, though.

R Baumann, FX: A classic rock routine for her this year! Love it. Combo pass to start is nice. Gorgeous straddle positions in the air, such great amplitude. Double pike to finish, followed by a final big air guitar swing. What a comeback for Georgia! Won’t have a chance to catch Florida, but it’s still good to see the fight in them.

7:27pm: Clapper, BB: Bhs loso loso, little balance check. And another one, bend at the hips. But takes it back, just like last week, she has to repeat her switch leap, but this time she connects it just fine. Dismounts, and that’ll erase the fall from A Baumann, but definitely some things to work on for the Gators there.

Hawthorne, FX: Double pike to open, good power and control. Oh, this is FUN! She is grooving out there on the floor and the whole crowd is in it with her. Dance elements are nice, a little late on the second split but she makes it to 180. Rudi to split jump to finish. Not sure what they’re going to give her since R Baumann just got a 10, so we’ll see…

FINAL UF 196.975, UGA 194.475

Florida comes up just shy of the 197 mark, although I definitely think some of its floor routines were lowballed, especially compared to Georgia’s, but here we are. Props to Rachel Baumann on her perfect 10.0, and to Skaggs on her second consecutive AA win with a fantastic score – 39.525! Wish I had the full scores, but alas, Georgia’s live scoring left much to be desired.

That’s all for this week, friends! Looking forward to next week’s Link to Pink against Arkansas – see you then!

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