Gym Dogs Head To Birmingham For SEC Championship

March 16, 2011


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Eighth-ranked Georgia will begin postseason competition this weekend at the SEC Championship in Birmingham, Ala. The Gym Dogs will join the other six teams in the conference Saturday at 5:00 p.m. ET at the BJCC Arena.

Georgia enters the meet with a 9-5 record including a 3-3 record against its SEC counterparts. The Gym Dogs posted wins against Auburn, Kentucky and LSU while falling to Arkansas, Florida and Alabama.
UGA has won a total of 16 SEC titles, more than all other teams combined. Florida has seven titles, Alabama six and LSU one.
Georgia enters the postseason ranked No. 8 in the GymInfo Top 25 with a 196.325 RQS. In the team event rankings, Georgia is ninth on vault (49.180), fifth on bars (49.240), fourth on beam (49.165) and 14th on floor (49.075).

Individually, Cassidy McComb is tied for fifth in the all-around with a 39.390 RQS, tied for 21st on bars (9.870) and tied for 20th on floor (9.870). On bars, Kat Ding is tied for fourth (9.905) and Gina Nuccio is tied for 10th (9.890). Shayla Worley is tied for 11th on beam (9.870), while Noel Couch is tied for 25th in the all-around with a 39.145.
All six of Georgia’s SEC opponents posted their then-highest score of the season in their meet against the Gym Dogs. • The top vault and bars scores in the SEC have been posted by Georgia gymnasts: Cassidy McComb is tied with Alabama’s Diandra Milliner with a 9.975 on vault, and Kat Ding is tied with Florida’s Alaina Johnson for first on bars with a 9.975. • Georgia has four of the SEC’s top 11 performers on the uneven bars. Kat Ding’s 9.975 against Florida is tied for the top score by an SEC gymnast, while Gina Nuccio, Shayla Worley and Lindsey Cheek are tied for third. • Cassidy McComb’s 9.95 on floor vs. Auburn is tied for the third highest mark in the SEC. • McComb has won at least one individual title in nine of the 11 meets this season, and has 16 total. Last year, she claimed one individual title all season. • Cassidy McComb and Noel Couch have competed in the all-around in all 11 of Georgia’s meets this season. Dating back to last year, McComb has competed in the all-around 13 straight meets. • The SEC champion has gone on to win the NCAA title eight times, including seven times by Georgia. • Georgia owns the SEC Championship record for highest overall score (198.375 in 1997) and highest team scores on vault (49.800 in 1997), bars (49.600 in 1998), beam (49.525 in 2004) and floor (49.725 in 2005). • Of the 16 individual SEC Championship records, 11 belong to Georgia gymnasts. • This marks the fifth time the SEC Championship has been held in Birmingham. Georgia won three of the previous four (2001, 2002, 2006) with Alabama winning one (2003).
Seventh-ranked Georgia was on pace for the highest score in the country through two rotations, but struggled on beam in a 196.800-196.050 loss to No. 9 Michigan at Stegeman Coliseum last Saturday.
The Gym Dogs had a 98.900 at the midway point - including the highest team vault score in the SEC this season - but had to count two falls on beam in allowing the Wolverines to take the lead in the second half of the meet.

The Gym Dogs got a 49.575 on vault in the first rotation to get out to the early lead. That score was Georgia’s highest on any single event this season and was the Gym Dogs’ best vault total since logging the same score on March 1, 2008 vs. Arkansas. It tied Nebraska for the highest vault in the country this season and also tied the highest event score for the Gym Dogs in the Jay Clark era (floor vs. UCLA, 2010).

The Gym Dogs continued to shine on bars, posting their second-highest bar score of the season with a 49.325. But Michigan took the lead on the third rotation after the Gym Dogs had to count a pair of falls on beam and the Wolverines posted a 49.225 on floor to jump in front 147.800-146.775. The Gym Dogs were strong on floor in the fourth rotation, totaling 49.275.
Fifth-ranked Georgia finished third at the 2010 SEC Gymnastics Championship held at Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena. Florida claimed the SEC title with a 197.050 followed by Alabama with a 196.875 and Georgia with a 196.825. LSU finished fourth ahead of Auburn, Arkansas and Kentucky. The Gym Dogs’ Courtney McCool won the floor title with a 9.950, Kat Ding won the bars title with a 9.925 and Hilary Mauro tied for first on vault with a 9.900.

After a bye in the first rotation, Georgia started the meet on floor in the second rotation. Each Gym Dog scored a 9.825 or higher including a 9.950 by McCool and a pair of 9.850s by Mauro and Grace Taylor. After another bye, Georgia (10-7) moved on to vault and scored a 49.275, tying the second-highest team vault score of the season. Mauro tied her season-high with a 9.900, and by the end of the fourth rotation, Georgia had the best two-rotation score with a 98.575. Florida and Alabama each had a 98.250.

The Gym Dogs had another bye in the fifth rotation, and with Florida’s 49.400 on balance beam and Georgia’s 49.025 on bars, the Gators led the Gym Dogs by .05 entering the last rotation. Alabama posted a 49.375 on floor in its final rotation to finish with an overall score of 196.875. Florida sealed the win with a 49.400 on floor in the last rotation while Georgia scored a 49.225 on balance beam. Grace Taylor led the Gym Dogs with a 9.925, tied for the meet’s second highest mark on the event.
The Gym Dogs play host to an NCAA Regional at Stegeman Coliseum April 2 at 4 p.m. ET. Five other teams that will join Georgia will be announced on March 21.



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