Gym Dogs take fourth at SECs as Johnson shines on vault

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. | The No. 6 Georgia gymnastics team placed fourth with a 197.150 at the Southeastern Conference championships fans Saturday night at the BJCC Arena.

Alabama claimed the title with a 197.850 followed by Florida (197.700), LSU (197.325), Georgia (197.150), Auburn (195.550), Kentucky (195.075), Arkansas (194.900) and Missouri (194.650).

The Gym Dogs were only .250 out of first place entering the final rotation after a 49.425 on vault and a 49.7 on bars. Georgia closed the meet with a 49.050 on beam. Alabama trailed Florida entering the last rotation but used a 49.625 on bars to win the title.

“It’s a little bittersweet,” Georgia coach Danna Durante said in a release. “I feel like this team is better than fourth in the SEC, but we faced some amazing competition tonight and saw some great things for the second week in a row. Even though some events were stronger than others, I’m proud of the way this team continues to fight and battle and get better and better each week. No question we have some things to work on as we go into regionals, but I’m excited about the great things that came out of tonight.”

Freshman Lauren Johnson claimed a share of the SEC vault title with a 9.975 in the anchor position. The Atlanta native was a late addition to the vault lineup on Saturday and had competed on vault just one time this season. She is the 21st SEC vault champion in Georgia history, and her 9.975 is the highest vault score in an SEC championship since Courtney Kupets won vault with a 9.975 in 2007.

“It’s awesome,” Johnson said. “I was so excited. I have the best team and coaches to support me. I was ready and the coaches have so much confidence in me. I knew that the team had my back and I knew what I had to.”

Sophomore all-arounder Brittany Rogers sustained an injury during warmups and was scratched from the vault and floor lineups, so Johnson moved into the No. 6 position on vault. Johnson tied for first with Alabama’s Diandra Milliner.

“Since Lauren had exhibitioned all year, we slid her in right behind Brandie,” Durante said. “She really doesn’t realize how great she is, and she starting to believe it. I don’t know what to say. A kid from Gwinnett who walked on and is now an SEC champion — it’s amazing. I’m so proud of her.”

The Gym Dogs (10-8) opened the meet with a 48.900 on floor, but rebounded with a 49.45 on vault in the second rotation. In addition to Johnson’s 9.975 in the anchor, Lindsey Cheek and Brandie Jay turned in back-to-back 9.9s.

Georgia then went to bars in the third rotation and set an SEC Championship record with a 49.7, tying the sixth-highest bars score in program history and the highest since 1999. Jay and Cat Hires opened with a pair of 9.925s, followed by 9.95s by Kiera Brown and Cheek, a 9.9 by Rogers and a 9.95 by Chelsea Davis. Brown, Cheek and Davis finished in a tie for second.

Entering the meet, the SEC Championship bars record was a 49.600 set by Georgia in 1998. Florida broke the record with a 49.625 in the first rotation before the Gym Dogs’ reclaimed the record in the third rotation.

Florida’s Bridget Sloan won the all-around with a 39.700.

Georgia hosts the NCAA Regional at 4 p.m. April5. The regional field will be announced on Monday during the NCAA gymnastics selection show at 3 p.m. on NCAA.com. The other five hosts are Arkansas, Minnesota, LSU, Penn State and Washington.

 

Team Results

1. Alabama – 197.850 (VT – 49.525, UB – 49.625, BB – 49.275, FX – 49.425)

2. Florida Р(VT – 49.375, UB – 49.625, BB – 49.35, FX – 49.350)

3. LSU – 197.325 (VT – 49.525, UB – 49.350, BB – 49.100, FX – 49.350)

4. Georgia – 197.150 (VT – 49.450, UB – 49.7, BB Р, FX – 48.950)

5. Auburn – 195.550 (VT – 48.975, UB – 48.974, VT – 48.850, FX – 48.750)

6. Kentucky – 195.075 (VT – 49.175, UB – 49.050, BB – 48.825, FX – 48.025)

7. Arkansas – 194.900 (VT – 48.925, UB – 48.125, BB – 49.000, FX – 48.850)

8. Missouri – 194.650 (VT – 48.850, UB – 49.000, BB – 48.625, FX – 49.350)

Georgia’s Individual Results

Vault

Morgan Reynolds – 9.8, Chelsea Davis – 9.875, Cat Hires – 9.7, Lindsey Cheek – 9.9, Brandie Jay – 9.9, Lauren Johnson – 9.975

Bars

Brandie Jay – 9.925, Cat Hires – 9.925, Kiera Brown – 9.95, Lindsey Cheek – 9.95, Brittany Rogers – 9.9, Chelsea Davis – 9.95

Beam

Mary Beth Box – 9.825, Morgan Reynolds – 9.8, Brittany Rogers – 9.3, Kiera Brown – 9.825, Lindsey Cheek – 9.775 , Kaylan Earls – 9.825

Floor

Morgan Reynolds – 9.8, Cat Hires – 9.75, Mary Beth Box – 9.8, Kaylan Earls – 9.775, Brandie Jay – 9.825, Ashlyn Broussard – 9.4

Career Highs

Lauren Johnson – 9.975 vault

Brandie Jay – 9.925 bars

Kiera Brown – 9.95*

*tie

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