Feb. 22, 2012
ATHENS-----No. 3 Georgia will close out its SEC schedule with a trip to top-ranked Florida Friday at 7:00 p.m. The Gym Dogs are coming off a 197.225-193.125 win over Kentucky - UGA's second-highest score of the season - while the Gators won at Auburn last Friday, 197.550-196.875.
This is the second time this year Georgia has faced No. 1. Just three weeks ago, then-top-ranked Utah rallied to defeat the Gym Dogs in Salt Lake City.
This marks the 127th all-time meeting between Georgia and Florida with the Gym Dogs holding an 88-37-1 advantage. In 33 dual meets between the two schools, Georgia is 18-14-1.
This is the sixth time in the last seven dual meets between Georgia and Florida that one of the schools is ranked No. 1. The Gym Dogs were No. 1 in 2006 and 2009, while the Gators were No. 1 in 2007, 2008 and 2011. UGA came out on top in 2006, 2008 and 2009, Florida won in 2011, and the teams tied in 2007.
Georgia has scored a 49.0 or higher on each event for the last four meets, the first time the Gym Dogs have done that since 2008. Incidentally, Georgia and Florida currently lead the country with 16 straight rotations with a 49-plus.
Georgia's current No. 3 ranking is its highest since it was ranked third going into the meet at Kentucky on Jan. 28 of last year.
Noel Couch has competed in the all-around in 21 straight meets (a Georgia record), and last weekend's meet against Kentucky was her finest. The junior set a career-high with a 39.450, including a 9.95 on floor and a pair of 9.85s on vault and bars. Couch has been a constant atop the balance beam lineup. Among the Gym Dogs with at least four beam routines, Couch ranks second with a 9.804 average.
Regional Qualifying Scores don't factor into the national rankings until next week, but if the RQS was in effect this week the Gym Dogs would be ranked No. 4 with a 196.660. Oklahoma currently has a 196.995 RQS, followed by Florida with a 196.925, UCLA with a 196.725, Georgia, then Utah with a 196.555. The Gym Dogs' RQS includes the 195.975 at Auburn on Jan. 20.
Last Time Out
Georgia posted season-highs on vault, bars and floor en route to a 197.225-193.125 win over Kentucky last Saturday at Stegeman Coliseum. Kat Ding posted a 39.550 to win the all-around for the second straight week, including a 9.925 on vault and 9.9s on bars and floor. In all, Georgia gymnasts combined to set or tie 11 season-highs and eight career-highs.
Thanks to a pair of 49.375s on vault and bars, Georgia had a 98.750 at the midway point, its highest score this season after two rotations. On vault, Cat Hires set a new career-high with a 9.925 in the No. 5 spot, then Ding equaled that mark in the anchor as the Gym Dogs scored a 49.0 or higher on the event for the 15th straight meet. On bars, Chelsea Davis moved down to No. 4 in the lineup for the first time and turned in a career-high 9.9, which was matched by Ding.
Ding snagged her third event title of the meet on beam with a 9.825 to tie teammate Laura Moffatt, who competed for the first time this season. On floor, Gina Nuccio posted a career-best 9.925 before Noel Couch matched her career-high with a 9.95 to close the meet for the Gym Dogs.
Ding Has Back-To-Back Career Meets
Kat Ding followed her career night against Arkansas on Feb. 10 by matching it against Kentucky last Saturday. In just her second career all-around, Ding placed first against the Razorbacks with a 39.550, including a 9.95 on bars and a 9.9 on vault. She was named the SEC Gymnast of the Week and the CollegeSports360.com Primetime Performer of the Week for gymnastics, and was also featured in this week's "Faces in the Crowd" section of Sports Illustrated. Then against Kentucky, Ding again scored a 39.550 in the all-around and claimed four event titles. She placed first in the all-around, vault, bars and beam.
Georgia moved into a tie for third in this week's GymInfo Top 25, which is the Gym Dogs' highest ranking this season. In the event rankings, Georgia is third on bars (49.229), fourth on beam (49.139), seventh on floor (49.121) and ninth on vault (49.236).
Individually, Kat Ding is tied for No. 1 in the all-around with a 39.550. She is also ranked fifth on vault (9.907), eighth on bars (9.871) and is tied for 11th on floor (9.875). Gina Nuccio is ranked fifth on bars with a 9.879 average, junior Noel Couch is tied for 21st on floor with a 9.85, and sophomore Laura Moffatt is tied for 22nd on the balance beam with a 9.825.
Georgia will return home to face UCLA Friday, March 2 at 7:30 p.m. The Bruins will be coming off a home meet against Arizona State on Sunday, Feb. 26.