No. 4 Georgia vaults by Kentucky
Ding wins second all-around meet title of year to lead Bulldogs
ATHENS, Ga. -- Fourth-ranked Georgia defeated Kentucky with a score of 197.225-193.125 in the annual Pink Out meet on Saturday afternoon at Stegeman Coliseum.
The Gym Dogs improve to 5-2 on the season, including 4-1 in the SEC. Georgia was paced by season-high team scores on vault, bars and floor to down the Wildcats (3-6, 0-5 in the SEC).
"It's good to see the growth that we can go into a meet that we know we should win and be able to execute as well as we did," Georgia head coach Jay Clark said. "Not to take away anything from Kentucky, because I know those are some new coaches over there. I know they're better than what they did tonight. I was just proud that we were able to stay focused no matter what the opponent was doing."
Kat Ding won the all-around for the second time this season, tying her career-high of 39.550 that she scored Feb. 10 against Arkansas. Led by two 9.9s, including a season-high score on floor, Ding, who was sparked by tying her season-high vault score of 9.925, also scored two 9.9s, one on bars and another season-high 9.9 on floor.
Three Gym Dogs saw action for the first time this season. Kati Breazeal, who competed for the first time as a Gym Dog, scored a 9.75 on vault and 9.775 on beam. Laura Moffat received a season-high 9.825 on beam for her first time in competition this season. Mariel Box, who competed on floor in place of Christa Tanella, performed for the first time this season to earn a 9.825.
"It was encouraging to see the girls step up to the plate," Clark said. "I'm pleased all the way around. Mariel went out at the last minute on floor for Christa. Moffat was just solid. Three in a row that she's been solid on beam. I'm excited for those kids and that they were able to get it in and get it done tonight."
Georgia got off to a great start with a season-high 49.375 team score, highlighted by back-to-back 9.925s by Cat Hires and Kat Ding, also a career-high for Hires.
The Gym Dogs extended their lead after another season-high team score of 49.375 on bars led by a pair of 9.9s by Chelsea Davis, a career-high, and Kat Ding.
Georgia was paced by two 9.8s by Noel Couch and Sarah Persinger and two 9.825s by Laura Moffatt and Kat Ding for an overall beam score of 49.025.
On the final rotation, the Gym Dogs solidified the win with a season-high team floor score of 49.450 led by season high routines by Mariel Box with a 9.825, Kat Ding with a 9.9, Gina Nuccio with a career-high 9.925. The team floor score was the highest since the N.C. State meet in 2010.