Women's Gymnastics

Presented By Athens Regional
NCAA Regional Quotes
Kat Ding

Kat Ding
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April 2, 2011

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UCLA Head Coach Valorie Kondos Field, UCLA

Opening statement...
"We were very excited when we heard we were coming to Georgia. Georgia always puts together a great meet and we knew it was going to be a great crowd, but we also feel like Georgia is our cross-town rival, I guess it's our cross-country rival. Thirteen out of 14 national championships have been won be either UCLA or Georgia, so there is a great history of a very strong, well-respected rivalry. This is the place we wanted to come, we were glad we got that draw. As far as our team goes, we're known for peaking during championship season. People tend to panic a little bit, not us but fans and people in Southern California, at the beginning of our season every year because we don't do gymnastics like this until March and April. Staying true to form, we're hitting our stride, and we're not just hitting routines but we are hitting them with poise and confidence and they're performing on every event. That was really exciting for me to see."

On the dual-meet with Georgia earlier in the season...
"Three weeks ago was our senior night and Brittani McCullough, who is our fifth-year senior, started crying before the meet started and she didn't stop until about four days afterwards. So that was kind of a big deal and it was just one of those nights for us at home. We didn't come out here to beat Georgia, we came out here to make it to the national championships, but anytime we are in the same room as Georgia, we take it to another level. I really don't think there is a healthier, more intense rivalry. There are more intense rivalries around the country but I don't know if there is a healthier rivalry than ours."

On how it feels moving on to nationals again...
"Great! Like we said after our conference meet, going in to regionals, we are starting with a clean slate. Every team has been beat this year; it really is anybody's ballgame. I think it's going to be a great championship. People say it's Florida's to lose but they've proven to be beaten this year. I really think who puts it together that night with the most confidence is going to win it."

UCLA's Olivia Courtney

"I was really excited to come to Georgia; I've never been here before. I've heard a lot about the crowd, so I was really excited to compete in front of everybody and to see how the crowd would react. I'm really proud of our team. I thought we did really well today. We've been training really well, so I had a lot of confidence coming in to the meet. I was really happy with everything."

Georgia Head Coach Jay Clark

Opening statement...
"The biggest thing we knew we had to do was to qualify. We competed a little scared up front and it might be because last year was floating around in some of their heads, and they were a little timid because they didn't want to see that happen again. They started out a little rough, but we settled in and saw some great things from various people. We weren't perfect, but we had enough fight and enough in the tank to get it done. Towards the end of the meet it was nice to be in a place where there wasn't an awful lot of heat on us. We knew we just had to hit bars, and we were able to do that."

On the meet...
"We wanted to win this meet. We are happy that we are going back to nationals, but we still lost the meet. That's never what a Georgia team sets out to do. What we've done at this point is taken a step toward recapturing the momentum that we need. Now we can go to nationals and compete aggressively and free. This is anybody's meet this year. We're happy tonight, but our goals are still in front of us."

On last year...
"We don't talk about it, and we've been operating and doing everything we can to build confidence independently of anything that happened 12 months ago. They are human, though, and the ones who experienced that had the memory creep into their minds. But it was not a feeling they wanted to experience again."

Georgia's Gina Nuccio

On going into the last rotation (bars)...
"We just couldn't let up. We just had to do what we were capable of doing on bars, and that's exactly what we did. We went in and competed fearlessly."

Georgia's Cassidy McComb

On the meet...
"To be a championship team you can't be worried about one event. It's about all four events. We can't have this demon of beam because we are an awesome beam team. We just wanted to get back there (to NCAAs). Now we have a lot of work to do. We can celebrate now for the night, but then it's back to work because we have some things to fix. We've been waiting for this night ever since we walked out of that arena last year. We've been fighting, we've been hungry and just wanted to get back out here and get back to where we belong."

Georgia's Kat Ding

On overcoming the thoughts of not making it last year...
"Most of us were fighting a battle in our own head to stay positive, optimistic and with the moment this year and not think about last year. The only lapse that we had was during the first event because we were very timid, but after that we let it go, and we've realized that we can't approach it that way."

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