February 2012 Archives
Exciting news from the world of the Gym Dogs today! Senior Kat Ding has been featured in the Feb. 27 Faces in the Crowd section of Sports Illustrated, which hit newsstands Wednesday.
Ding caught the attention of Sports Illustrated following her performance against No. 3 Arkansas on Feb. 10. In just her second career all-around, Ding placed first with a 39.550 in the Gym Dogs' win. She matched the highest all-around score by a Georgia gymnast since Courtney Kupets and Tiffany Tolnay in the 2009 NCAA Super Six.
A native of Sparks, Nev., Ding had her second straight 39.550 in the all-around last Saturday against Kentucky. The reigning NCAA uneven bars champion also tied for first on vault with a season-high 9.925, on bars with a 9.9 and on beam with a 9.825. She closed the meet with a 9.9 on floor to retain her No. 1 national ranking in the all-around, and is ranked No. 5 on vault, No. 8 on bars and No. 11 on floor.
Faces in the Crowd has been published every week in Sports Illustrated since 1956. The publication posts its Faces in the Crowd selections each Wednesday afternoon at http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/scorecard/faces.
Ding and the third-ranked Gym Dogs return to action Friday night against No. 1 Florida in Gainesville.
*Interesting note: other Bulldogs included in the publication in the past are:
Anne Marie Armstrong (WBB), Hunter Cole (baseball), Jennifer Dahlgren (T&F), Travis Helgeson (MTennis), Torrin Lawrence (T&F, twice), Michelle Morris (EQU), and Ashley Razey (softball).
By Steve Colquitt, Associate Sports Communications Director
After leading his Georgia swimming and diving team to another Southeastern Conference title, Coach Jack Bauerle joked that the only thing that went wrong at the meet was his part of the celebration.
Victorious teams traditionally jump into the pool together, followed by a school cheer or song. The head coaches, including Bauerle, jump in last. On Saturday in Knoxville, Bauerle decided to do a flip into the water -- with one tiny issue.
"I think I made it about three-quarters of the way on my flip," Bauerle said, still dripping wet from his plunge. "And I got water in my ear. Let's just say I would not have gotten any diving points."
Truth be told, the Lady Bulldogs garnered plenty of points on their own. Georgia rolled up 781 points to outdistance host Tennessee's 629.5. (That is the equivalent of a 25-point win in basketball.)
The title was the third straight for the Lady Bulldogs and the ninth in school history -- all coming under Bauerle. Three straight championships is the second-longest streak in school history, trailing only the five earned from 1997 to 2001.
"It was a great meet, and I could not be prouder of our ladies," Bauerle said. "It's always nice to get to hold that trophy on the last day. Winning a title in this conference is no small feat. Teams just keep fighting and fighting. That's what I like about our team. We have fighters too, and they don't back down from a challenge. They are a tough bunch. As a coach, you always want to see effort and consistency. That's what we have with this group. They deserve this title. This is a feeling that never gets old.
"It's nice to come back to Athens with the trophy. This is something these kids will never forget."
The Lady Bulldogs won six events during the four-day meet. Wendy Trott took the 1,650 freestyle, becoming the first woman in league history to claim the mile all four years. Megan Romano won the 100 and 200 freestyle. (Romano also placed second in the 100 backstroke, breaking the school record in the process.) Michelle McKeehan was victorious in the 200 breaststroke and Amber McDermott came in first in the 500 freestyle. Georgia additionally won the 800 freestyle relay with Shannon Vreeland, Melanie Margalis, Jordan Mattern and Romano.
After the meet, McDermott was chosen as the SEC Female Freshman of the Year.
"It was a great team effort," Bauerle said. "I'm not sure we had a bad swim, and you can't say that often. Most of the time, we were really good, even great. Everybody had a hand in it, too. That's the main thing in winning a championship. You have to have a lot of depth -- and we are fortunate that we do."
In addition to lapping the field, the Lady Bulldogs assaulted their own record book. Seventeen times in 13 events were top-10 efforts in school history, led by Romano's Georgia mark in the 100 backstroke. And of the 13 set in individual races, 10 were established by underclassmen.
The Bulldogs came in third, fighting off the host Volunteers for the spot. Martin Grodzki won the 500 and the 1,650 freestyle races, while Nic Fink swept the 100 and 200 breaststroke events, and Doug Reynolds claimed the 100 butterfly. Grodzki won the 1,650 freestyle for the third straight year, giving Georgia its eighth consecutive crown in the event. Reynolds became Georgia's first 100 butterfly winner since 1965 when Bo Holland won the event. After the meet, Fink was selected as the SEC Male Freshman of the Year.
Michael Arnold set the school record in the 50 freestyle, eclipsing Georgia's longest-standing mark. Allan Murray set the previous school mark in 1993. (Murray lives in the Bahamas, and Bauerle joked that he and Arnold should break the news to Murray in person.) Arnold, Fink, Reynolds and John Simmons also set the school record in the 200 medley relay. All told, 15 top-10 times were established in 13 events.
"Our men sometimes get overshadowed by our ladies, but they had a heck of a meet too," Bauerle said. "They really battled and gave us great effort. Some of our young guys really grew up at the meet. We're enjoying what's going on right now, and we feel like we have a bright future with our men's team."
The Lady Bulldogs will compete in the NCAA Championships March 15-17 in Auburn as they seek the program's fifth national title, while the Bulldogs will head to the NCAAs in Federal Way, Wash., March 22-24.
ESPNU will televise highlights from the SECs on a tape-delay basis. The men's meet will air Monday, Feb. 27, at 5 p.m., and the women's meet will air Tuesday, Feb. 28 at 5 p.m.
Georgia's teams will be back in action Saturday and Sunday at Gabrielsen Natatorium hosting the Bulldog Last Chance Meet.
By Aimee Russo, Sports Communications Graduate Assistant
As we gear up for today's annual Pink Out meet, you may not know that the Georgia Gym Dogs' talents extend off the floor.
Junior Christa Tanella had a hand in the new and heart-pumping pre-meet video. In fact, she wrote the script to the beginning of the video, highlighting the strength that the Bulldog nation gives to the team. Be sure to check out the uniquely intense video at the meet as the Gym Dogs take on Kentucky at 4:00 p.m in Stegeman Coliseum.
Another creative Gym Dog, senior Kat Ding, who added a Fashion Merchandising minor to her Advertising major, has designed many of the team's leotards over the last three years, including this week's Pink Out meet uniform. See more about Ding's design skills here.
And did you know that NCAA Gymnastics designated Pink Out meets for all participating institutions after former Gym Dog Talya Vexler was diagnosed with breast cancer at the young age of 23? Survivors like Talya will be honored as they line the vault during introductions tomorrow. Read more about how important the Pink Out meet is to the GymDogs here.
Hope to see all of you out at the meet today supporting the Gym Dogs, but if you can't be there, you can follow along with live video coverage on Georgiadogs.com, including commentary with Kevin Copp and Cassidy McComb with a subscription to GTV, as well as the Gym Dogs Live Chat starting right before the first rotation gets underway.
How about this for a cool nugget? During the SEC Championships on Thursday in Knoxville, Michael Arnold's lead-off split in the men's 200 freestyle relay was 19.49. That eclipsed the school record of 19.57 set in 1993 by Allan Murray. That was Georgia's longest-standing record and the only one not set during the 2000s (the second-oldest is from 2001). After Thursday's session, Coach Jack Bauerle joked that perhaps he and Arnold should deliver the news in person to Murray. Oh yeah, did we mention that Murray lives in the Bahamas?
Not too shabby. Congratulations to Michael and good luck to the Dawgs the rest of the way!
For all of you Facebook users out there, the good folks at Georgiadogs.com have created four brand new images that you can download and set as the cover photo on your new Facebook timeline! The images available right now are gymnastics, baseball, football, and men's tennis.
Just follow the instructions here to show your Georgia Bulldogs pride on your Facebook page! ENJOY!
its 57th annual Awards Banquet as two of the nation's "Players To Watch" in 2012. Jones, who led the SEC with 13.5 sacks and 19.5 tackles for loss and was second on the Bulldogs with 70 tackles, joined Rambo, who was second in the nation with eight interceptions and who shot to third in Georgia's record books with 157 interception return yards in 2011, and other collegiate standouts at the event.
First of all, HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Georgia head swimming coach Jack Bauerle AND former Bulldogs quarterback Matthew Stafford.
But aside from their birthday, the two share another connection. Matthew's father, John, was a graduate assistant coach for the Georgia swimming team in the 1970s when Bauerle was a student-athlete. Bauerle is getting his teams ready for next week's SEC Championships in Knoxville, while Stafford, the Detroit Lions' quarterback, recently was chosen as the Comeback Player of the Year by The Associated Press and the Quarterback of the Year by the NFL Alumni Foundation. Limited to just three games due to injuries in 2010, Stafford started all 16 games in 2011 and led the Lions to a playoff berth. He was 421-of-663 for 5,038 yards and 41 touchdowns in the regular season, then went 28-of-43 for 380 yards and three touchdowns in the playoffs. Stafford became just the fourth quarterback in NFL history to throw for more than 5,000 yards and just the seventh to throw more than 40 touchdowns in a season. He beat out Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers and New England's Tom Brady for the NFL Alumni Foundation Quarterback of the Year honor.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO TWO 'DAMN GOOD DAWGS!'
*There are five members from the Bulldog track and field teams who are currently ranked in the top 10 nationally in their respective events, including senior Torrin Lawrence who is sixth in the 400m (46.89) and ninth in the 200m (21.18). However, it is senior Aaron LaGarde who not only has the lowest national ranking of the crew at 10th nationally in the triple jump (51 feet, 7 3/4 inches), but who also is the only Bulldog to lead the SEC in his or her event. Also of note, freshman pole vaulter Morgann Leleux is the top-ranked freshman in the country with a 13 feet, 8 1/2 inch clearance to her name.
*Senior Cory Holman set a new school record in the heptathlon last weekend at the Razorback Invitational after piling up 5,809 points. He is No. 4 nationally and in the SEC (10th in the world) with his latest score, which bodes well for a remarkable heptathlon competition at the SEC Indoor Championships in Lexington, Ky., on Feb. 24-26.
- There were four former Bulldogs on NFL Pro Bowl rosters over the weekend: Cincinnati's Geno Atkins (DL) and A.J. Green (WR), Oakland's Richard Seymour (DL) and Denver's Champ Bailey (CB), who all suited up for the AFC during its 59-41 win over the NFC. During Sunday's Pro Bowl, Green had two catches for 42 yards, including a 34-yard touchdown, as Atkins, Seymour and Bailey combined for six tackles. A lesser known fact is that two of the four, Atkins and Bailey, also enjoyed successful careers for Georgia's track and field team. Bailey soared 25 feet, 10 3/4 inches in the long jump at the 1998 SEC Indoor Championships and remains the school's record holder in the event. Atkins finished seventh at the 2009 SEC Outdoor Championships in the shot put to score for the Bulldogs and later launched a career-best mark of 58 feet, 1/4 inch that same season.
- Four ex-Bulldogs -- Bubba Watson, Harris English, Chris Kirk and Brendon Todd -- made the cut at the PGA Tour's Farmers Insurance Open in San Diego last week. The third round on Saturday was tabbed as "College Day" and golfers were encouraged to wear their school colors -- and the ex-Bulldogs did so. Also, since Watson, English, Kirk and Todd made the cut, Farmers Insurance will be donating $2,000 ($500 per golfer) to the Georgia golf program as part of a pre-tournament pledge.
- UGA swimming & diving coach Jack Bauerle finished the 2011-12 campaign with 194 wins as the men's coach, meaning he will have a shot at No. 200 next season. Bauerle has 277 wins as the women's coach for a total of 471 overall. He is the winningest women's head coach in NCAA history, the winningest head coach for both women and men in SEC history, and the fourth-winningest head coach for both women and men in NCAA history.
- With its win at Alabama last Saturday, the Georgia women's swimming and diving team notched its 26th straight win against SEC competition dating back to 2006-07 season. The Lady Bulldogs have won 46 of 47 against the league since the 2002-03 campaign. The Lady Bulldogs' seniors finished with a career record of 35-2, with both of their losses coming at Texas.
- AMA, Mitchell dot SEC women's basketball stats: In statistics for SEC games only, Anne Marie Armstrong is the league's most-ranked player and Meredith Mitchell is the fifth-most prominent name listed. Armstrong is included in a whopping 10 of 13 categories kept - No. 5 in assists; No. 6 in scoring; No. 7 in assist-to-TOs, blocks and minutes played; No. 8 in defensive rebounds; No. 9 in rebounding and three-point percentage; No. 11 in free throw percentage; and No. 15 in steals.
Mitchell is ranked seven times - No. 2 in minutes played, No. 5 in defensive rebounds, No. 7 in rebounding, No. 8 in steals, No. 14 in assists, No. 15 in offensive rebounds and No. 27 in scoring.
SEC-Only Individual leaders
Rk. Player, School # Cat.
1. Anne Marie Armstrong, Georgia 10
2. Lasondra Barrett, LSU 8
A'dia Mathies, Kentucky 8
Valencia McFarland, Ole Miss 8
5. Meredith Mitchell, Georgia 7
Glory Johnson, Tennessee 7
7. Jennifer George, Florida 6
Diamber Johnson, Miss. State 6
Courtney Jones, LSU 6
- And finally, the drama was all put to rest early this morning when Valdosta native Josh Harvey-Clemons faxed in his paperwork to officially join the football team's 2012 signing class. The highly-touted LB was rumored to have committed yesterday morning, but the paperwork never arrived on Signing Day.
That's all for now here on "Between The Hedges." Have a great Thursday, everybody!