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The Daily Tar Heel

UNC gymnastics closes out the regular season with narrow defeat to No. 24 Georgia

Junior Elizabeth Culton First-year competes on uneven bars during UNC gymnastics' home meet at Carmichael Arena on Friday, Jan. 28, 2022. Culton scored a 9.850, tying her for first on bars.

UNC gymnastics (10-7) suffered a 197.175-196.475 loss at No. 24 Georgia (4-10) in its final regular season match on Saturday.

What happened?

The Tar Heels travelled to Athens, Georgia for their final match of the regular season.

UNC began on bars, where it put up 49.150 points. This was the team’s fourth consecutive meet with a 49.025 or better on bars. Junior Elizabeth Culton had the highest score for North Carolina in the rotation with a 9.875. Georgia gained an early lead in UNC's first rotation at vault, scoring a 49.275.

The second rotation for the Tar Heels was vault, which served as their worst rotation of the meet. The team accumulated 48.800 points, and no UNC gymnast scored above a 9.775, though three of them met this mark. This rotation allowed the Bulldogs to widen their lead to .525 points.

North Carolina then advanced to floor, which was its best rotation and accumulated 49.350 total points for the team. This was also UNC’s season-high score in this rotation. Senior Shailyn St. Brice, junior Bri Greenlow, Culton, first-year Julia Knower and junior Jay Weil all matched their career-bests on floor. However, Georgia was still leading on the scoreboard after the third rotation.

UNC entered the final rotation of beam behind by .500. Beam was the team's second-best rotation with a score of 49.175. Junior Hannah Nam matched her career best of 9.875 on beam. Culton and Knower led the rotation for the Tar Heels, both scoring a 9.900. 

Their stand-out performances in the final two rotations weren’t enough to give North Carolina the lead, and it lost to Georgia 196.475-197.175.

Who stood out? 

Culton had a podium finish in all three of her events. She matched her career best of 9.900 on floor, and the score serves as her season-high in this event. Culton also recorded her third-consecutive score of 9.900 or higher on beam.

Knower also earned her place on the podium in both beam and floor. Her 9.900 on beam was her fourth 9.900 or better in the event this season. Knower posted a 9.900 on floor, matching her career-best. She took home her third straight all-around title on Saturday.

When was it decided?

The Bulldogs led for the entirety of the match. However, they never led by an entire point. This close match always made a North Carolina comeback possible, and it looked as though it may happen when UNC thrived in its final two rotations. However, Georgia ended up taking home the win.

Why does it matter?

This match ends UNC’s regular season with a loss, but the admirable performance provides hope for the postseason. The team put up a season-best score on floor and had its fourth-consecutive mark of 49.025 or better on bars. Several gymnasts matched their career-best scores in different events. Despite the loss, North Carolina’s strong performance set the team up for a successful post season.

When do they play next?

With their regular season now over, the Tar Heels will travel to Washington, D.C. on Saturday for the EAGL Championship.

@dthsports |

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