1987 Season Review
For all great teams there is a beginning. Georgia's rise to the elite of the collegiate gymnastics world began on April 24, 1987, when it claimed its first NCAA Championship. After finishing in the top 10 at the NCAA Championships during head coach Suzanne Yoculan's first three years at Georgia, the Gym Dogs were now primed for the spotlight and they would do it in hostile territory, on the floor of six-time defending champion Utah.
The Gym Dogs, seeded No. 5 entering the meet, scored a 187.90, which was good enough to outdistance the host Utes (187.55) and UCLA (187.0), who entered the competition as the top-ranked team.
Georgia trailed UCLA by four-tenths of a point after posting solid performances on their first two events, the vault and uneven bars. However the toughest event of the meet was on the horizon as the Gym Dogs headed for beam. Georgia came through on the event like a championship team, hitting all six sets, including a 9.5 by Julie Klick, a 9.55 by Terri Eckert and a 9.7 from Andrea Thomas, who hit her 13th beam set of the season in as many tries.
"We didn't look like a championship team until those final three beam routines," said Yoculan.
The Gym Dogs would seal the deal on the floor exercise where Michelle Sessions (9.25), Eckert (9.45), who was Yoculan's first recruit at Georgia, and Corrinne Wright (9.65) all came through with clutch performances.
"When we came off beam I knew we had taken charge of the meet," said Yoculan. "We wanted to set the pace of the meet and make everyone else come up to our standards."
The following evening, Lucy Wener, who was sidelined much of the season due to knee and ankle injuries, kept the hardware for Georgia coming as she successfully defended her uneven bars title, scoring a 9.7.
Yoculan was named the NCAA Coach of the Year as well as the Southeastern Conference's Coach of the Year for the second consecutive season.
"The 1987 team was a go-for-it kind of team. It was easy to coach because we won unexpectedly. We had finished 9th, 7th and 4th nationally the years before so we used the take-it-to-the-top approach with the goal of finishing higher than fourth. We went into the Championships with nothing to lose." - Coach Suzanne Yoculan
"Being a part of the 1987 NCAA Championship team was an opportunity to be a part of history. No one expected us to win, but we surprised them all. There is no other feeling like standing on the award stand knowing we had just done something special." - Corrinne Wright
1987 NCAA Championships
5. Arizona State
Terri Eckert (FX), Julie Klick (AA, FX), Andrea Thomas (BB), Lucy Wener (UB), Corrinne Wright (AA, FX).
Members of the 1987 Championship Team:
Gina Banales, Terri Eckert, Debbie Greco, Julie Klick, Paula Maheu, Susie Origer, Michelle Sessions, Tanya Schuler, Andrea Thomas, Lucy Wener, and Corrinne Wright.
Staff of the 1987 Championship Team:
- Suzanne Yoculan, Head Coach
- Carl Leland, Assistant Coach
- Doug McAvinn, Assistant Coach
- Kim Kirk, Athletic Trainer
- Gail Sideman, Sports Information