1999 Season Recap
Forget the "Give Me Five" theme the Gym Dogs picked to begin the 1999 season. The slogan the team adopted for the final half of the season was more appropriate: "A Wounded Dog is a Dangerous Dog."
When it was all said and done, four season-ending injuries weren't enough to stop the Georgia gymnastics team from defeating every opponent that came its way and bring home the program's fifth national championship.
No matter the lineup, the place or the occasion, the Gym Dogs managed to maintain a perfect record for the second consecutive season and finish with a 32-0 mark in 1999.
"Being injured almost became a joke," said head coach Suzanne Yoculan. "The injuries and pain were never an excuse. It was the motivation for the drive for five."
A second national title wasn't going to be handed to Georgia. The Gym Dogs were going to have to rely on mental toughness to go the distance.
On the vault Georgia earned a 49.4 score, the highest team total on the apparatus in the Super Six Championships. Karin Lichey led in scoring with a 9.95 and Kristi Lichey added a 9.90.
In the third rotation, Georgia moved to the uneven bars and had a 48.925 score. Karin Lichey led with a 9.95 and leadoff performer Brooke Andersen followed with a 9.8. After bars, Georgia moved to beam in the fourth rotation and scored a 49.275. The first three Gym Dogs, Amanda Curry, Emily Chell and Stacey Galloway, each scored a 9.875 and Kristi Lichey added a 9.85. Karin Lichey, who fell and scored a 9.40, and Jenni Beathard, the sixth performer with a 9.80 score, rounded out Georgia's beam lineup.
Georgia entered their final event, the floor exercise, knowing that at least a 48.375 score was necessary to outpoint Alabama who had a bye in the sixth rotation and finished the meet with a 195.950 total. UCLA also had a bye in the sixth rotation. The Bruins ended the meet .10 behind Alabama at 195.850.
After a bobble from Caroline Harris (9.5), Beathard (9.775), Kristi Lichey (9.850), Suzanne Sears (9.825), Stacey Galloway (9.850) and Karin Lichey (9.950) rounded out the event to give the Gym Dogs a 49.250 floor total and enough to outdistance Michigan's 49.275 bars total in the final round.
Georgia won its first title in the Huntsman Center and became the first team to win the NCAA title starting on the vault in the first rotation.
Kristi Lichey, who competed on just two events in the 1998 Super Six, went 8-for-8 in the 1999 NCAAs. Similarly, Galloway nailed her beam routine to become an All-American for the first time in her career.
"We dug deep again," said Yoculan. "This team had heart and guts. To go undefeated after all our injuries says something about these girls."
"This was a season of rallying back from adversity. 'Give Me Five' started the season, 'Defend What is Ours' carried us through the middle of the season, and we ended the year with 'A Wounded Dog is a Dangerous Dog.' Another undefeated season led to this title as out adversity became our motivator!" - Coach Suzanne Yoculan
"The quote we used at the end of the season in 1999 was, 'A Wounded Dog is a Dangerous Dog.' We sustained injury after injury and still managed to fill in the gaps where it counted. The desire to win began in August and carried us all the way through April. I remember feeling that the leadership, drive, and commitment of the seniors (Karin, Sam, Stacey, and Jenni) was the reason we finished on top!" - Talya Vexler
"In 1999, our team was battered and bruised. From torn and fractured knees to a fractured neck and various other injuries, we barely had enough people to put up on each event. However, our team pulled together with insurmountable strength and unity. The result: a repeat National Championship!!! GO DAWGS!!!" - Kathleen Shrieves
Members of the 1999 Championship Team:
Brooke Andersen, Jenni Beathard, Emily Chell, Amanda Curry, Eileen Diaz, Stacey Galloway, April Hoellman, Caroline Harris, Karin Lichey, Kristi Lichey, Danielle Maurone, Sam Muhleman, Suzanne Sears, Kathleen Shrieves, and Talya Vexler.
1999 NCAA Championships
4. Arizona State
Brooke Andersen (V*), Jenni Beathard (AA*, UB, BB), Emily Chell (BB*), Amanda Curry (V, BB*), Stacey Galloway (BB), Karin Lichey (AA, V, UB, BB, FX), Kristi Lichey (AA, V*, BB*), Suzanne Sears (V*).
* denotes second team honor
Staff of the 1999 Championship Team:
- Suzanne Yoculan, Head Coach
- Jay Clark, Assistant Coach
- Doug McAvinn, Assistant Coach
- Jackie Estes, Volunteer Assistant Coach
- Lisa Irby, Athletic Trainer