Georgia has been looking to put together a complete meet all season.
The Gym Dogs closed out every event with downhill momentum as they scored a season-high to beat Stanford 197.0-195.4 on Monday at Stegeman Coliseum.
“This feels fantastic,” Georgia junior Lindsey Cheek said. “It feels good to finally get over that hump. It’s not that it was a terrible hump, but we finally put a meet together like we wanted to. We still left some tenths out there on beam. So, there’s some places to improve. We don’t stop here. We keep going and keep improving.”
Georgia hit 197 points for the first time this season, and the fifth-highest single-meet total so far in the nation. It was also the first time in Danna Durante’s head coaching career that her team hit the 197-point plateau.
“This feels awesome,” Georgia junior Kaylan Earls said. Earls broke her career high with 9.9 on floor and tied a career high with 9.9 on beam. “We’ve been working so hard all fall to get where we are today. To finally get that kind of meet under our belt just feels good.”
All four of Georgia’s anchors hit 9.9 and the Gym Dogs had eight scores of at least 9.9.
Freshman Brandie Jay closed vault with a 9.9, Chelsea Davis followed up her 9.95 on Friday with a 9.9 to anchor uneven parallel bars against Stanford. Earls closed down balance beam with a 9.9 and Shayla Worley polished off the meet with a 9.9 to anchor floor exercise.
“This is amazing,” Jay said. “We’ve been working so hard and it just shows. It felt great to finally hit 9.9. Going into vault, I’ve just been nailing them in practice and I’ve been waiting for it to show in the meet and it finally did.”
Georgia started strong with 49.4 points on vault, including a season-high 9.925 by Cheek, a 9.9 by Brittany Rogers and Jay’s 9.9 to anchor.
“It felt great to get that 9.925 for my team and help us get a 49.4 on vault,” Cheek said. “It felt pretty good. It felt pretty much like last meet (9.9 against Auburn). It felt good. I just do what I can and it’s up to the judges to interpret it.”
Georgia hit 49.4 on bars as Jay and Davis both hit 9.9. Georgia closed the meet with 49.375 on floor highlighted by 9.9 each from Earls and Worley.
“This is huge,” Durante said. “(Sunday) we talked about what this team is capable of and to come out and do this today, just shows that they truly believe. They hear what we’re saying and they’re starting to believe in themselves.”
The only real disappointment of the night came on balance beam, where the Gym Dogs had three mistakes and scored 48.825. On consecutive passes, Christa Tanella fell, Sarah Persinger fought through a near-fall and scored 9.625 and Rogers had a continuity deduction and scored 9.955. But Worley scored 9.875 to stabilize the situation and Earls anchored with a 9.9 to restore momentum.
“To get a 9.9 on floor and then end beam with kind of a clutch performance feels awesome,” Earls said. “I just thought about myself. I knew my teammates needed me and need me and they trusted me to hit for them. I just went out there and did what I practiced.”
After hitting 9.9 on beam, Earls led off the next event, floor exercise, and scored 9.9. Worley anchored floor with a 9.9 to give Georgia 49.375 points in the event.
“Cheek and Kaylan stood out,” Durante said. “But Shayla had a 9.9 on two events and a 9.875. But even more than that, just to see her on top of the mental aspect was encouraging. The gymnastics for her is not hard, it’s more about her staying in the moment on everything she does. That’s even more gratifying than seeing those great scores and those scores are just outstanding. It’s hard to pick just one.”
Notes: Six Gym Dogs set career highs on Monday. Rogers (9.9) and Jay (9.9) on vault, Jay (9.9) on bars, Cheek (9.875) on beam and Cat Hires (9.875 on floor. … The new national rankings came out prior to Monday’s meet. Georgia dropped from No. 8 to No. 9. Chelsea Davis began the day ranked No. 4 on bars with a 9.892 average. Shayla Worley is ranked No. 10 on beam with a 9.883 average.