It was senior night for the five senior gymnasts for No. 7 Georgia (7-6, 4-3 SEC) who defeated the visiting No. 5 Utah Red Rocks (10-2, 5-1 Pac-12) 197.250-196.650 yesterday afternoon. Over 9,000 roaring fans were in the stands of Stegeman Coliseum cheering on the Gymdogs. This marks only the second time Utah has been defeated in the 2017 season.
Utah freshman MyKayla Skinner failed to win a single event for the first time all season. She came into the meet perfect on the season in vault and the all-around. After the coaches decided to rest senior Baely Rowe on the leg events, vault and floor, sophomore All-American Kari Lee made her return to the all-around this season, completing her comeback from a season-ending Achilles injury suffered last season. Prior to this meet, Lee was competing on bars and beam. Lee’s 39.450 in the all-around was good enough to give her the win over teammate Skinner, who scored a 39.425. Lee also won beam with a 9.900.
"With resting Baely on the leg events, it was great to have Kari come in on floor and hit a fantastic set," said Ute co-head coach Tom Farden.
Utah did not get off to a good start to the meet with sophomore MaKenna Merrell falling to open Utah’s bars set. Utah would finish with a 49.025, while Georgia scored a 49.375 on vault and would not trail in the meet. The Red Rocks scored a 49.125 on vault and a 49.250 on floor. Heading into the final event, the Red Rocks only trailed by 0.250, but Georgia would finish strong with a 49.600 on floor to secure the win. Utah closed with a 49.250 beam set.
The Red Rocks were not able to generate big scores all meet. Only Skinner on floor (9.925) and Lee on beam (9.900) scored at least a 9.900 in the meet for Utah, while Georgia raked in the 9.900+ scores, especially on vault and floor.
"We started a little slow on bars, but I thought the kids handled the hostile environment well. We executed three 10.0 valued vaults cleanly and continue to prepare the vault team with an eye on the postseason. We also had some nice floor routines and we're so proud that our team finished on beam on such a strong note," said Farden.
The Red Rocks will compete again at the Pac-12 Championship on March 18 in Stanford, Calif.