Georgia opens 2008 campaign with loss to Utah

The top-ranked Georgia Gym Dogs lost their season-opener to third-ranked Utah at the University of Utah Friday night.

Georgia's Grace TaylorBut not by much. The final score was 196.3-196.2, Utah was at home, and Georgia was mostly without sophomore Grace Taylor, who competed uneven bars only, and senior Megan Dowlen. It’s likely that those two, particularly Taylor, would have made the difference in the meet.

Utah senior Ashley Postell, who clinched Utah’s win during her floor exercise in the final rotation (9.9), won the all-around, balance beam and floor. Ute standout Kristina Baskett was second and Georgia junior Tiffany Tolnay third, leaving Olympic silver and bronze medalist Courtney Kupets fourth.

Kupets had the high score of the night on vault (9.875) and bars (9.95), but like Tolnay, appeared to have suffered a fall on balance beam (9.3) and problems on floor exercise (9.7).


Ute coach Greg Marsden was pleased with the victory, which snapped an eight-meet losing streak to the SEC rival that dated back to the first round of the 2003 NCAA Championships. “It wasn’t pretty, but it was a win. We did a lot of nice things and I thought it was a good first meet. That’s not to say that we don’t have a lot to work on, because we do. We had execution errors, most notably steps on dismounts and after difficult elements on the balance beam. I think the win will make the team excited to get back in the gym and work on correcting those problems.”

Georgia sophomore Courtney McCool was second on floor exercise with a 9.9. Full Results from the meet can be found here.

Florida coach Rhonda Faehn is a new mom.Elsewhere, the no. 2-ranked University of Florida trounced Illinois-Chicago to start their season with a 197.125 in the bank, even without coach (and former Karolyi standout) Rhonda Faehn, who gave birth to a son Tuesday evening. The University of Michigan swept Arkansas and West Virginia, the Penn State Nittany Lions bested Pittsburgh and Kent State and Arizona beat North Carolina State.

On the men’s side of things, Stanford was the top team at the Windy City Invitational this weekend, beating Illinois, Michigan, Ohio State and Minnesota. By a lot — Stanford scored 354.45 to Illinois’ 347.35. Stanford’s David Sender took the all-around over University of Illinois-Chicago’s Neal Thompson and Anthony May.

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