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Bulldogs to host more championships

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**Very exciting news out of Athens today as UGA was selected to host the 2014 NCAA Men's & Women's Tennis Championships as well as one of the 2014 NCAA Gymnastics Regionals. Georgia consistently bids on hosting opportunities, and is often awarded those championships. The Bulldogs have hosted the tennis tournament more than any other school in the country - now 30 times for either men, women, or both. We know the players and coaches and are pumped and the staff is already updating its to-do lists!**

Below is the full release that ran on today.

Also noteworthy, Georgia will host the 2013 NCAA Women's Golf Championships this spring.


ATHENS, Ga. --- The University of Georgia will host the 2014 NCAA Men's & Women's Tennis Championships as well as a 2014 NCAA Gymnastics Regional, according to an announcement from the NCAA on Thursday.

The Dan Magill Tennis Complex has hosted the men's tournament 24 times and the women's event three times, in addition to three combined tournaments for a total of 30, most recently in both 2010 and 2012. The event has been combined since 2006. The Georgia men's tennis team has won six NCAA titles on the men's side - five of which came while playing in Athens. The women claimed the national title in 1994 and 2000 - the former coming at home.

The NCAA has recognized a national champion in men's tennis every year since 1946. It has done so in tournament format since 1977. The first women's championship was held in 1982. The tournaments have undergone some changes since their inceptions, including moving from a 16-team field to the current 64-team field in 1999. The first two rounds are held at on-campus sites, followed by the Round of 16 and beyond at the designated NCAA Championship site.

In the inaugural men's tournament held at the University of Georgia, Stanford defeated UCLA in the team portion while the Cardinal's Matt Mitchell was the singles champion and Bruce Manson and Chris Lewis of Southern California claimed the doubles crown. In the first women's tournament, Stanford defeated UCLA in Salt Lake City, Utah. The Cardinal's Alycia Mouton won the singles championship and the Bruins duo of Heather Ludloff and Lynn Lewis took the inaugural doubles honor.

"We are extremely excited to have been selected again," said 25th-year men's tennis head coach Manuel Diaz. "It's a credit to the many wonderful people in our athletic department who make the event so special, as well as all the volunteers in our community and the fans from around the country who make it the best collegiate event in our sport. Our athletic director [Greg McGarity] and everyone here at UGA are committed to continuing to host championships."

"This is fantastic news for the University of Georgia and the community of Athens. We're very excited and honored to host the incredible NCAA Tennis Championships again," said Jeff Wallace, in his 28th season as the head coach of the women's tennis team. "It all started with Coach Dan Magill in the 1970s and his vision to make Georgia the 'mecca of college tennis,' which it became under his leadership. Some of the greatest moments in our program's history have taken place at the complex that most deservedly bears his name. We're looking forward to having the nation's best players and teams come to Athens, and our staff and community always do a tremendous job of supporting the event."

Georgia is also one of six host sites for a 2014 NCAA Gymnastics Regional. The regional competition will be held at Stegeman Coliseum on Saturday, April 5, 2014. Teams and all-around competitors advancing out of the regional championships will compete at the 2014 National Collegiate Women's Gymnastics Championships in Birmingham, Ala., hosted by the University of Alabama and the Alabama Sports Foundation.

The other five host institutions for NCAA Regionals include Arkansas, LSU, Minnesota, Penn State and Washington. Georgia has served as host of a regional 11 times, most recently in 2011.

"To be able to host a regional championship is a bonus for our fans and our team," said first-year gymnastics head coach Danna Durante. "Georgia always puts on well-run championship events, and Stegeman Coliseum is an outstanding venue for a regional championship and the teams traveling in. Looking at our 2014 schedule, we have tough road meets against several national powers, so for us to be able to host regionals is really beneficial from a planning standpoint. We are looking forward to it."

Hey, I know you!

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At one of the largest and busiest airports in the world, you don't always expect to run into folks you know at Hartsfield-Jackson, but yesterday the gymnastics and equestrian teams did just that! 

Good luck to both teams as they compete this weekend on the road! Equestrian takes on SMU and TCU today and Oklahoma State tomorrow, while the Gym Dogs meet Michigan tonight. GO DAWGS! Hopefully they offered each other a little pep talk in the airport!

The Great Transformation

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It's always amazing to think about how many sporting events take place at UGA each week. But what most people don't realize is how many people it takes to make those events run smoothly, and how much time and energy is put into making sure our student-athletes and coaches are able to do their jobs without having to worry about any of the behind-the-scenes details. We're lucky here at Georgia to have some of the best and hardest working folks in the business, whether they've been here 30 years or 30 days. Everyone's role is important and together we're able to help our teams compete at the highest level each and every day.

One of the most striking examples of this, however, and something that doesn't get near the amount of attention it deserves is something I'll refer to as The Great Transformation. Ever stop to think about the fact that less than 24 after the Gym Dogs are through competing in Stegeman Coliseum, there are often basketball games? Or vice versa? There have been times when it had to go from basketball to gymnastics to basketball in a 3-day span, and the process of converting the building from one set-up to the other is amazing. 

After last Friday night's gymnastics meet vs. UCLA, we had the chance to catch up with facility manager Melvin Robinson, who spearheads The Great Transformation, and explained a little bit of the process that he and his crew go through dozens of times each winter/spring.

Robinson said his staff about 15-20 people usually take between 3 1/2 - 4 hours to both break down one set-up and assemble the other. 

"It's longer going from basketball to gymnastics because we have to make sure everything is right," Robinson explained. "[Assistant gymnastics coach] Doug [McAvinn] helps with making sure everything is set up properly, that the measurements are right, the weights are right, so that way takes a little more time. It's closer to four hours when we have to go that direction."


"We just get in here, tear it all apart. Tonight, we'll move all the equipment, bring the rims back out, clean the floor. We're more efficient and effective with the process now, and I really enjoy it. I like to get after it, work hard and see the end result."

Robinson said he learned the set-up and break-down process from others on his staff who had been doing it before he got here, and once you watch it happen a few times you get it.


Next time you watch a Gym Dogs meet and come back that same weekend to see a basketball game, don't forget to think about how that was possible!!

A Face in the Crowd

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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

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).

Inside the meet: Pink Out and more

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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, 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.

Gym Dogs Jump To No. 4

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Coming off a season-high score of 197.250 last Saturday against LSU, the Georgia gymnastics team jumped three spots to No. 4 in this week's edition of the GymInfo Top 25.
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