Georgia coach Courtney Kupets Carter is not expecting a perfect meet from the GymDogs when they visit Alabama tonight.
After all, she said, that’s for later in the season. Instead, she’s looking at how they respond to little distractions.
“I do want to see them really be able to move on,” Kupets Carter said. “If it’s stopped somewhere, I want to see that next person pick it up and I really want to see who is willing to do that and who’s capable of it and where I need to instill more mental qualities.”
Here’s what to watch as the GymDogs open the 2018 season at Alabama (0-1) at 8:30 tonight in Tuscaloosa. The meet will air on the SEC Network.
Junior Gracie Cherrey has retired, the University of Georgia said in a release Wednesday.
Cherrey missed her sophomore season due to an ankle injury and said in an Instagram post announcing her retirement that she has had two “extensive reconstructive ankle surgeries.”
She also wrote that she will have shoulder surgery. As a freshman, Cherrey competed 13 times on bars for Georgia and four times on beam.
“She was on bars and had really given it everything and was doing a great job,” Kupets Carter said. “It’s just not, it was that as difficult as it is, this is what is meant for her. It’s very difficult as a gymnast, this is something she has done her entire life and a very difficult decision for her. We’re here for for her and excited to help her into her future but also she is still part of this team and I made that very clear to her.”
Filling out the lineup
At Georgia’s First Look event in December, the GymDogs had just five athletes compete on bars and vault, though the plan at the time was to have a full lineup of six gymnasts on each event by the opener. That could still happen, Kupets Carter said.
Lauren Johnson was held out of the vault lineup due to soreness for First Look, but is expected to be back in the lineup against Alabama. Freshman Marissa Oakley has landed the final spot on bars, but she has what Kupets Carter described as a “base routine,” and noted that more will be added throughout the season.
Sophomore Rachel Dickson and junior Sydney Snead are each expected to compete a full on vault against Alabama, with the potential to attempt a different vault later in the season. Snead said she could compete a double full as early as the home opener against Oklahoma Monday.
“We really want to see them get out there and be confident and really see them explode off the vault table instead of thinking too much internally and really get out there, especially with two back-to-back meets, just do the same thing,” Kupets Carter said. “Keep it simple is really the phrase I’ve been giving them this week.”
Vega to continue moonwalk
Sophomore Sabrina Vega will continue Georgia’s tradition of having a gymnast do the moonwalk on beam. Senior Morgan Reynolds had the honor last season.
“Getting passed down the moonwalk, it’s special because it’s part of Georgia tradition,” Vega said.
Vega competed on beam, where she averaged a score of 9.802 with a career high of 9.9, and floor, where she averaged a 9.833 and had a career high of 9.925, as a freshman. She was in the vault lineup for First Look.