2011 Gym Dogs Season Outlook
Jan. 4, 2011
ATHENS, Ga. --- The Georgia gymnastics team embarks on the 39th year in program history focused on a return to its status as the nation's elite team.
The Gym Dogs will have a roster that includes nine sophomores and freshmen, and just five seniors and junior. Despite narrowly missing out on the NCAA Championships, the team had a lot to be proud of last season, including an All-America season by senior Courtney McCool, a perfect 6-0 home record, top-10 final rankings in all four events, the highest overall team score in the SEC, the only perfect `10' of the season in the SEC, the No. 1 attendance average in the nation, and a regular-season win over the eventual national champion UCLA Bruins.
Head coach Jay Clark will be entering his second season at the helm of the gymnastics program. Clark will be looking to guide the Gym Dogs back to the familiar stage of the NCAA Championships April 15-17 in Cleveland.
The Gym Dogs do lose the services of line-up regulars McCool, Grace Taylor, and Marcia Newby, but bring back a pair of SEC individual champions in Kat Ding (bars) and Hilary Mauro (vault). They also add five freshmen - two from out of state in Kaylan Earls of Chicago and Cat Hires of Tampa, Fla., and three from Georgia in Bekah Bennetts (Woodstock, Ga.), Lindsey Cheek (Watkinsville, Ga.) and Laura Moffatt (Kennesaw, Ga.). Earls will miss the 2011 gymnastics season after she ruptured her Achilles tendon while training in Athens
HOME WINNING STREAK: After going 6-0 in home meets in 2010, the Gym Dogs have now won 24 straight inside Stegeman Coliseum dating back to their last home loss on Feb. 18, 2005 vs. Alabama, and is unbeaten in its last 34 competitions at home. The Gym Dogs have a tough home slate this season, set to take on half of the 2010 Super Six field in Utah, Florida, and Alabama in addition to West Virginia, Auburn, and Michigan all in Athens. Incidentally, the Coliseum will be newly renovated in time for the start of the gymnastics season.
GYM DOGS TO HOST NCAA REGIONAL: The Gym Dogs on April 2 will serve as a host of the Southeast Regional for the first time since 2006 and the eighth time in history. Georgia was host to the regional in 1985, 1991, 1993, 1998, 2000, 2003, and 2006, winning six times at home. The other five sites this season include Tuscaloosa, Ala., Ann Arbor, Mich., Corvallis, Ore., Norman, Okla., and Denver, Colo.
ANOTHER TOUGH SCHEDULE: The Georgia gymnastics team will face seven teams that competed in the 2010 NCAA Gymnastics Championships. The Gym Dogs open the season Jan. 8 at Denver, then return home for three straight home meets against Alabama, Utah, and Auburn. Georgia will travel to meet the 2010 national champion UCLA Bruins in a tri-meet with Arizona March 6 in Los Angeles.