Georgia had no shortage of production from its underclassmen on Monday as the Gym Dogs defeated Iowa to earn their second victory of the season.
Georgia (2-2) had impactful performances from its freshmen and sophomores all day, which combined with the Gym Dogs’ senior leadership to result in a 197.400-194.675 win over the Hawkeyes.
“It’s huge. They’ve been stepping up all season long and I’m really proud of them and proud of what they’ve been doing,” senior Lindsey Cheek said. “They put in the work during the fall like we all did and I’m just excited to see that it’s paying off for them.”
Georgia’s sole all-around competitor, sophomore Brittany Rogers stood out during the entirety of Monday’s meet, notching a 9.95 on the Gym Dogs’ second routine, the uneven bars.
“We really fed off each other’s energy which helped a lot,” Rogers said. “I’m really proud of myself, kind of improving every week and getting adjusted again. It’s not easy jumping into the season like that with four meets.”
Freshman Kiera Brown and Cheek also scored a 9.95 on the bars, while sophomore Brandie Jay chipped in a 9.90 to give Georgia a 98.700-97.125 lead heading into the third rotation. Head coach Danna Durante said this team works together in unison to provide performances like the one it delivered on Monday.
“That comes from the leadership in this senior and junior class for sure, and even some in the sophomore class,” Durante said. “I think those three classes, they all just embrace those freshmen and it’s something we do talk a lot about. They feel very strongly about investing in each other.”
The beam, which was crucial for Georgia on Monday, gave the Lady Dogs a 148.125-146.125 lead over visiting Iowa as both teams advanced to the final stage of the competition. Impactful performances on the beam from the likes of Rogers, sophomore Mary Beth Box, Cheek and fellow senior Kaylan Earls helped Georgia out to its late lead.
Rogers even made a few last-minute changes to her beam routine, and they paid off as she notched a 9.90.
“She had the courage to come in and make those changes on what could be one of the toughest events mentally, and she just knocked it out,” Durante said.
Three of the four gymnasts managed to come away from their routines with a score of 9.90 or above. Earls scored a 9.925, while Cheek’s routine accompanied by the Michael Jackson classic “Billie Jean” earned her a 9.925 as well.
“This is probably my fourth year doing it. I just change pieces here and there, and I definitely added in the moonwalk,” Cheek said. “I always like doing that. I always like hearing the crowd cheer. Other than that, that’s the only time I ever hear the crowd cheer is for the moonwalk, so it’s pretty exciting. It pumps me up to finish the last part of my routine.”
With a small score differential, the only competition standing between Georgia and its second win of the season was the floor routine. Earls was determined to get the Gym Dogs out to a hot start, and she did with a 9.875 to ignite Georgia’s performances on the floor routine. With an accompanying effort from Jay who added a 9.90 on the floor for Georgia, the Gym Dogs sealed their second consecutive victory.
“I’m just excited that we could finish with that high of a score after four meets in two weekends,” Cheek said.
The Gym Dogs will travel to Gainesville, Fla. next where they are set to take on Florida at 7 p.m. on Friday.
1. Georgia 197.400 (VT – 49.175, UB – 49.525, BB – 49.425, FX – 49.275)
2. Iowa 194.675 (VT – 48.350, UB – 48.775, BB – 48.550, FX – 49.000)
Georgia’s Individual Results
Chelsea Davis – 9.8, Ashlyn Broussard – 9.775, Cat Hires – 9.8, Brandie Jay – 9.8, Lindsey Cheek – 9.9, Brittany Rogers – 9.8
Brandie Jay – 9.9, Cat Hires – 9.1, Kiera Brown – 9.95, Lindsey Cheek – 9.95, Brittany Rogers – 9.95, Chelsea Davis – 9.775
Ashlyn Broussard – 9.8, Morgan Reynolds – 9.17, Mary Beth Box – 9.875, Brittany Rogers – 9.9, Lindsey Cheek – 9.925, Kaylan Earls – 9.925
Kaylan Earls – 9.875, Cat Hires – 9.75, Morgan Reynolds – 9.825, Mary Beth Box – 9.8, Brittany Rogers – 9.875, Brandie Jay – 9.9