1998 NCAA Champions
With the largest margin of victory in over ten years, Georgia won its fourth NCAA Championship. Just as they had in 1993 the Gym Dogs began the Super Six competing on the uneven bars. And the rotation was just as successful in 1998. The upperclassmen performed 16 of the 24 routines in the preliminaries and in the Super Six team finals at the NCAAs. Even with the victory in hand, Karin Lichey put the exclamation mark on the win with her 10.0 vault as the final competitor for the Gym Dogs.
Head coach Suzanne Yoculan was named NACGC Coach of the Year and assistant coach Doug McAvinn was named the NACGC Assistant Coach of the Year. Kim Arnold won the AAI American Award, the first Georgia gymnast to be honored as the nation's top senior gymnast. Arnold and Lichey were a one-two punch in the all-around standings, with Arnold successfully defending her 1997 title as the overall winner. Both were five-time All-Americans, becoming the second and third UGA gymnasts to earn the maximum number of first-team awards in a single season. Arnold and Jenni Beathard shared the beam title to give Georgia its first individual title on that event. Karin Lichey won her first individual NCAA title when she scored a 9.950 for her floor routine. It marked the eighth consecutive year that at least one Georgia gymnast came away with an NCAA individual title. Georgia had the most gymnasts competing in the individual event finals of any school with seven, and its 18 first-team All-America honors were the most for any school in 1998.
"We knew this was a special team right from the first day of practice," Yoculan said. "All we've had to do is turn on the lights and get them on the bus. That's the kind of team it's been. They've managed themselves, they've taken care of themselves, they've called their own team meetings. They were a team that was on a mission. We were definitely led by the six upperclassmen."
"This was a Team's Team. All the coaches needed to do was unlock the doors and turn on the light - the gymnasts took care of the rest. Expereince made the diffrence as we stormed through an undefeated season with lots of All-American upperclassmen. We were truly UNLEASHED and every minute of everyday was fun!" - Coach Suzanne Yoculan
"Being on the 1998 Championship team was truly an honor. This team was disciplined. From the first fall practice to the last routine on the last event at nationals, this team fought until the very end. Our determination lead us to take control and pull it together to make things happen. Being on the award stand with my teammates, my friends, was a feeling of accomplishment that I will never forget." - Karin (Lichey) Usry
"The 1998 NCAA Championship team was such a great team. All of the girls worked so hard because we all wanted to win, and we were all on the same page, with the same goal on our minds. We were so confident, because we competed just like we practiced. When it came time for Nationals, I don't even think we were that nervous. We just had a calm feel about it, and went out there and got the job done." - Kim (Arnold) Arenas
1998 NCAA Championships
Members of the 1998 Championship Team: Roster
Brooke Andersen, Kim Arnold, Julie Ballard, Jenni Beathard, Amanda Curry, Stacey Galloway, Caroline Harris, Karin Lichey, Kristi Lichey, Sam Muhleman, Kelli Prestigiacomo, Suzanne Sears, Kathleen Shrieves, and Courtney Whittle.
Staff of the 1998 Championship Team: