No. 6 Georgia flies by No. 3 Arkansas
Ding posts career-high 39.550 in all-around to lead Bulldogs
ATHENS, Ga. -- Kat Ding posted a career-high 39.550 in the all-around to lead No. 6 Georgia (4-2, 3-1) past No. 3 Arkansas (9-3, 3-2) 196.825-195.875 on Friday night.
"I'm just proud of Kat and the progress she's shown over the past four years," Georgia head coach Jay Clark said. "To have grown from a two-event specialist when she started into a situation where she is a bonified all-arounder, I'm very proud of her. I'm proud of the growth and the mental toughness that she has. She and Gina [Nuccio] provide us with a little bit of an edge in terms of competitive nature."
Ding's all-around title is the first of her career. Noel Couch also competed in the all-around and posted a 39.300 to place second.
"This meet says that we are resilient and that we are able to absorb our self-inflicted blows, like we did tonight," Clark added. "I told our team that while we're happy with a victory, I'm not happy with how they let circumstances dictate their mindset a little too much. That's something that we've been harping on. That's something we've been working on. I'm very proud of the fact that when we make mistakes, we continue to show the ability to right the ship and plow right through that. At some point, we're going to have to grow into a team that can compete for a championship. We've got to eliminate the mistakes and not have to dig ourselves out of the hole.
"I thought scoring was tighter than both teams had seen, either at home or away, to this point this year. I think that effected both teams in terms of their performance. But a mentally strong team won't allow circumstances to change the way they compete. That's something that we talk about and address; that we're not going to allow environment, scoring, the other teams gymnastics, we're going to stay with our attitude and the things that we're trying to do."
The Gym Dogs started the night on the vault and were led by a 9.900 from Ding. Kaylan Earls and Sarah Persinger scored 9.875 and 9.850, respectively, which are season best scores for both gymnasts on the vault. The Razorbacks started the night on bars and after the first rotation, Georgia led 49.275-48.900.
Next up for Georgia was the bars, where it was once again led by Ding, who scored a 9.950. Gina Nuccio notched a 9.875 and Couch and Chelsea Davis recorded a pair of 9.800s. The Gym Dogs put up a 49.175 on bars and Arkansas moved to the vault and posted a 49.300. At the halfway point the Gym Dogs were still leading, 98.450-98.200.
Moving on to the third rotation, Shayla Worley anchored the Gym Dogs on beam and led with a 9.900. Ding tied her season best 9.850, Couch scored a 9.825 and Earls and Persinger each posted a 9.800. Collectively, Georgia scored a 49.175 on the beam, while the Razorbacks recorded a 48.850 on the floor. Moving into the final rotation, the Gym Dogs increased their lead 147.625-147.050.
On floor, Georgia was led by Couch with a 9.875 and Earls, Ding and Nuccio recorded a trio of 9.850s. Ding and Persinger competed on the floor for the first time this season, while Earls set a new season best with her performance. The Gym Dogs posted a 49.200 on floor and Arkansas out up a 48.825 on beam.