The long-time rivalry between Alabama and Georgia did not disappoint, as the two met in Athens for  one of the most highly-anticipate dual meets of the season so far. The crowd in Georgia was completely sold out, making for a extremely exciting atmosphere.

The home Georgia squad started out on vault with freshman Mikayla Magee leading them off with a 9.775 for her FTY. Junior Sabrina Vega followed with a 9.8 for a FTY of her own, while Abbey Ward changed it up for a unique vault that scored a 9.85 in the third spot. Rachel Dickson and Rachel Lukacs both followed up with 9.8s, and senior Sydney Snead anchored with a 9.9 for a Yurchenko 1.5 that made the crowd go wild! Georgia’s score after rotation 1 was a 49.15, just edging out Alabama, who scored a 49.125 on bars! Freshman Emily Gaskins anchored for the Crimson Tide, scoring a 9.875. Sophomore Kylie Dickson nailed her dismount for a 9.85, while Jensie Givens, Ari Guerra, and Shea Mahoney all scored a 9.8 to leave Alabama trailing by just .025 after 1, scoring a 49.125 on UB.

The meet remained extremely close throughout the second rotation, with Georgia moving to the uneven bars while Alabama rotated to vault. Georgia was led by Alexa-Al Hameed on bars, who scored a huge 9.925 in the third spot. Al-Hameed revealed after the meet that she changed her dismount just this week, and said “she did not expect the score”, but she was very excited. Georgia had a fall in the fifth spot, but was able to overcome it with hit routines from the rest of the lineup to total a 49.275 on bars. Freshman Shallon Olsen led the way for Alabama on vault, sticking her huge DTY for a 9.9. Lexi Graber also had a great vault, scoring a 9.875 for her Yurchenko 1.5. No member of the Alabama vault team scored below a 9.8, and the Tide totaled a 49.275 on vault to stay just .025 behind Georgia at the halfway point of the meet.

Georgia had to overcome another fall in the fourth rotation, but did so confidently with a leadoff 9.925 from Snead leading the way and scores above 9.8 from freshman Rachel Baumann, Dickson, and Vega. Alabama stepped up on floor in the third rotation, scoring a 49.3 led by senior Ariana Guerra’s 9.925. In a very intense environment, all six gymnasts competing hit their routines and Alabama took a .15 lead heading into the final rotation!

Lexi Graber on floor Photo: Alabama Gymnastics

In the final rotation of the night, the crowd was incredibly loud. Georgia Head Coach Courtney Kupets-Carter even staring at times it was hard to, “actually speak to the (gymnasts).” Georgia again had to overcome a fall, this time in the leadoff position, and did so, with Dickson, Lukacs, and Snead the standouts. Lukacs scored a 9.9 for her routine featuring a huge double layout, while Snead and Dickson both notched 9.925s. Snead’s all-around total of 39.6 is a career best, which Snead credits to the crowd, saying “I think the energy in the crowd really helped me and the rest of the lineup.” Coach Kupets-Carter also commented on Snead’s impressive day, saying Snead “put her heart out there for the team today, and (the score) just shows what happens when you do that.”

Sydney Snead on floor
Photo: Kayla Renie

Alabama finished off their day on the balance beam, and it all came down to Emily Gaskins and Lexi Graber in the final two spots. Both gymnasts really stepped up their game, scoring a 9.875 and a 9.925, respectively, and their high scores at the end of the lineup were just enough to push Alabama ahead of Georgia, with the final score being Alabama 196.9, Georgia 196.875.

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