ATHENS, Ga. — Georgia qualified for its 20th straight NCAA gymnastics championships Saturday night, but there were some frowns along the way.
Georgia easily won the Southeast Regional before a Stegeman Coliseum crowd of 5,623 — giving the five-time national champions its 16th regional victory.
Before the fourth-ranked Gym Dogs finished strong on the uneven bars and balance beam, however, Coach Suzanne Yoculan was concerned about what she perceived to be low scores.
Florida, ranked No. 9 in the nation, avoided an upset bid by unranked North Carolina to earn the second automatic bid from the regional to the NCAA championships.
Georgia topped its season average by winning the meet with a 197.125. Florida was a distant second at 194.950, edging third-place North Carolina's 194.900. North Carolina is not ranked.
Another unranked team, Maryland, scored a 193.825 to finish ahead of two ranked teams — No. 16 Ohio State (193.65) and No. 24 North Carolina State (193.575).
Marie Fjordholm's season-low 9.275 on the floor opened the competition for Georgia with what proved to be a pace-setting score.
The Gym Dogs' 49.150 on the floor was their low mark on the even since the first meet of the season, and they followed with their second-lowest vault total — a 49.275.
After watching what she felt were consistently low marks on the floor, Yoculan walked past press row and in an apparent reference to the judges said "They should be fired. All of them.''
Yoculan felt the scoring was low for all teams, but she worried her team's seeding could be hurt for the April 24-26 NCAA championships in Lincoln, Neb.
Yoculan took her complaints to a head judge after Kinsey Rowe was awarded only a 9.850 on her vault.
On its third of four events, Georgia scored a 39.275 on the uneven bars — topping its season average on an apparatus for the first time on the night.
Through three events, Georgia had only six scores of 9.90 or better, but it finished strong with three 9.90s on the balance beam. Cory Fritzinger scored a fourth 9.90, but earned a deduction of .30 because her routine lasted too long.
Georgia's Chelsea Byrd posted the top all-around score at 39.625. Fritzinger's score for the four events was second in the all-around standings at 39.225.
Despite the low scoring early in the meet, Georgia's total was a full point better than its qualifying score in last year's regional.