Sunday, March 20, 2011
For the past several weeks, I've been saying that it looks like the Crimson Tide is peaking. It wound up being their night, even with an alleged boost in scoring for the Tide. They were the only team to score a 49+ on every event and they dominated vault with a 49.500. It was not a perfect meet for the Tide, which means they have room to grow for the National Championships. Momentum is certainly on their side at this point.
Kayla Hoffman had the top score of the night with a 9.950 on vault. She captured SEC Gymnast of the Year honors for her tremendous senior campaign. Hoffman also recorded a 9.875 on bars, but only scored a 9.750 on beam and a 9.775 on floor. At her best, Hoffman is one of the top All Arounders in the country.
Geralen Stack Eaton only recorded a 9.600 on bars, but the junior made up for it with a 9.9 on vault and a pair of 9.925s on beam and floor.
Freshman Sarah DeMeo proved to be a key performer with a 9.8 on vault, 9.850 on bars and a 9.900 on beam. Fellow freshman Kim Jacob went 9.900 on beam and 9.875 on floor.
Sophomore Ashley Sledge was also key with a 9.875 on vault, 9.850 on bars and a 9.9 on floor.
Marissa Gutierrez recorded a 9.900 on vault and a 9.875 on floor, but only tallied a 9.500 for her effort on beam.
Diandra Milliner had a strong 9.875 vault, but was mired in the 9.7-range on the other three events.
One could only imagine how unstoppable this team with be with Ashley Priess and Jordan Moore.
It wasn't Florida's night at the 2011 SEC Championships. It seems that Florida hit their stride about a month ago and have been struggling ever since. Macko rolled her ankle during Monday's conditioning session and was only available on bars (9.875). Ashanee Dickerson was feeling the onset of the flu and didn't have her best meet. Errors on beam really hindered the Gators' quest for another conference title. Beam has been their weakest event this season, thus the errors they made are not all that unexpected. They simply need to execute at a higher level. Marissa's routine has far too many difficult skills for her to be consistent with and Alaina's 9.725 is characteristic of her work at times. Ashanee's bend at the waist was also not unexpected.
As they look forward, having Macko back will certainly held the team garner a few extra tenths. More importantly, they need to rediscover the momentum that they had during the first half of the season. With a month left, it is not too late to turn it around, but they need to have a good Regional meet.
Alaina Johnson did pick up SEC Freshman of the Year honors and Rhonda Faehn was voted SEC Coach of the Year.
The University of Georgia had a mixed bag of a meet once again. Cassidy McComb has been a true leader this season and has even surpassed her freshman year form. The last two years of been a struggle for Cassidy physically and emotionally. After resting her back after her freshman year, Cassidy struggled with her fitness level for two years and her gymnastics suffered. Emotionally, she had to deal with the separation of her parents, which only compounded her struggles in the gym. Cassidy is back performing well, especially on vault and floor. Kat Ding won the bars title for the second year in a row.
Another bright spot for the Gym Dogs was Laura Moffatt who replaced Lindsey Cheek after she rolled her ankle in warmups. Moffatt rocked a much-needed 9.875 on beam.
Hilary Mauro nailed a 9.900 beam set, but only went 9.8 on vault and 9.775 on floor. Her vault just isn't the cleanest thing out there, but she definitely gave a tenth away on floor. Shayla Worley hit a 9.850 on beam, yet fell on bars.
Overall, it was a decent meet for Georgia. Tanella's 9.550 and Box's 9.600 on floor sank the team, but both routines are sluggish at best. The team looks on track to qualify for the NCAA Championships barring a disastrous Regionals.
Florida and Alabama will have a rematch at NCAAs with the national title on the line.
Note: Macko is listed on beam, but Mahlich actually competed.
Florida SEC Update (with highlights)
Georgia SEC Update (with highlights)
Individual Events Winners
All-Around: Cassidy McComb (39.400)
Vault: Kayla Hoffman (9.950)
Uneven Bars: Kat Ding (9.925)
Balance Beam: Geralen Stack-Eaton (9.925)
Floor Exercise: Ashanee Dickerson and Geralen Stack-Eaton (9.925)
Florida at SECs: