More Video: NCAA Regional Interviews
April 7, 2012
AUBURN, Ala.-----The sixth-ranked Georgia gymnastics team used its highest road score in two years to win the NCAA Auburn Regional with a 197.100 Saturday at Auburn Arena, earning a spot in the 12-team NCAA Championships April 20-22 in Duluth, Ga.
The Gym Dogs never trailed and won the 22nd NCAA regional title in program history to qualify for the national championships for the 28th time.
Oregon State finished second with a 196.450 to also earned a place at the NCAA Championships, while Michigan placed third with a 196.325 ahead of Auburn (196.100), West Virginia (195.900) and Michigan State (194.050).
"We're excited," said Georgia head coach Jay Clark. "We've experienced just about everything in the regional meets the last three years, so to have this kind of performance is very rewarding. We came in with a great mindset and had a great day in training yesterday. I'm vey proud of the overall performance. It was a performance we think we can improve on, and we know we'll have to improve on if we want to win the national championship."
The Gym Dogs (17-5) posted the high team score on three events, and UGA also went 1-2 in the all-around as Kat Ding won her fifth title with a 39.500 and Noel Couch tied for second with a 39.425. Freshman Sarah Persinger also competed in the all-around for the second time this season and posted a 39.300.
Georgia opened with a 49.3 on bars in the first rotation to tie for first along with Michigan's 49.3 on vault. For the Gym Dogs, Gina Nuccio and Ding closed the rotation with a pair of 9.9s after two 9.85s by Shayla Worley and Chelsea Davis.
The Gym Dogs then went to beam and posted a 49.1 behind a team-best 9.85 by Ding in the No. 3 spot. After two rotations, Georgia led the field with a 98.4.
Georgia had its first bye in the third rotation while Michigan turned in a 49.05 on bars and Oregon State scored a 49.125 on vault. At the halfway point, UGA maintained a half-tenth lead over Michigan and a two-tenths lead over the Beavers.
Georgia began to pull away with a 49.4 on floor in the fourth rotation for a 147.8 total. Couch had a team-high 9.925 in the anchor, and Chelsea Davis added a career-best 9.9.
The Gym Dogs sealed the win with a 49.3 on vault in the fifth rotation as Ding and Couch led the team with a pair of 9.9s.
The other 10 teams that advanced to the NCAA Championships on Saturday include Oklahoma, Stanford, UCLA, Arkansas, Florida, Ohio State, Alabama, LSU, Utah and Nebraska.
Georgia will compete again in one of the semifinal sessions of the NCAA Championships on April 20. The first session is slated for noon ET at The Arena at Gwinnett Center, while the second session will begin at 6 p.m. The top three teams in each session will advance to the Super Six April 21 at 4 p.m., and the individual event finals will be held April 22 at 1 p.m.
1. Georgia - 197.100 (Vault - 49.3, Bars - 49.3, Beam - 49.1, Floor - 49.4)
2. Oregon State - 196.450 (Vault - 49.125, Bars - 49.3, Beam - 48.95, Floor - 49.075)
3. Michigan - 196.325 (Vault - 49.3, Bars - 49.05, Beam - 48.75, Floor - 49.225)
4. Auburn - 196.100 (Vault - 49.325, Bars - 48.9, Beam - 48.975, Floor - 48.9)
5. West Virginia - 195.900 (Vault - 49.2, Bars - 48.925, Beam - 48.825, Floor - 48.95)
6. Michigan State - 194.050 (Vault - 49.0, Bars - 48.9, Beam - 48.325, Floor - 47.825)
Georgia's Individual Results