March 21, 2011
ATHENS, Ga. --- The eighth-ranked Georgia gymnastics team will be the No. 2 seed in the NCAA Athens Regional on April 2, it was announced Monday by the NCAA. The regional field in order of seeding includes sixth-ranked UCLA, eighth-ranked Georgia, No. 18 LSU, NC State, Maryland and West Virginia.
The six teams along with individual competitors will meet at Stegeman Coliseum Saturday, April 2 at 4 p.m. The individual competitors include George Washington's Leslie Delima (all-around), Kayla Carto (all-around) Betsy Zander (all-around), Kiera Kenney (bars) and Monique Blount (beam), William & Mary's Kristina Beck (all-around) and Melissa Cream (all-around), and Towson's Avis Hixon (vault and floor).
UGA is one of six regional hosts along with Alabama, Denver, Michigan, Oklahoma and Oregon State. The top two teams and the top two all-around competitors who are not on an advancing team from each regional will receive an automatic berth to the national championships in Cleveland, Ohio, April 15-17. In addition, the event winners at the regional championships will advance to the national championships in that event only if they are not part of a qualifying team or the all-around qualifiers.
"We're excited to host a regional," said head coach Jay Clark. "It's good that we don't have to travel and we're able to stay at home. These teams are coming in here with their best shot, and we know that we have to be able to put it together when it counts. We can't stumble our way through a meet and expect to make it to nationals, so we'll work hard the next two weeks and try to put together our best meet."
The Gym Dogs (13-7) were a combined 4-0 against the regional field with two wins against LSU and one against UCLA and West Virginia. Georgia is coming off a third place finish in the SEC Championship last Saturday with a 196.625, its highest road score of the season.
Georgia's rotation in the regional will be beam, bye, floor, vault, bye, bars.
In the GymInfo National Rankings released Monday, Georgia is in the top six in three events including fourth on beam (49.195), fifth on bars (49.625) and sixth on vault (49.235).
Individually, junior Kat Ding moved into a tie for first nationally on bars after she won the SEC title on Saturday. Senior Cassidy McComb, who won the SEC all-around, moved up to No. 4.
Ten-time NCAA champion Georgia has won a total of 21 NCAA regionals including 11 in the last 13 years. This marks the eighth time UGA has served as host of an NCAA regional. Georgia and UCLA have combined to win 13 of the last 14 NCAA titles.
The top 18 teams in the 36-team field include No. 1 seeds Florida, Alabama, Oregon State, Stanford, Oklahoma and UCLA, No. 2 seeds Georgia, Utah, Michigan, Nebraska, Penn State and Arkansas, and No. 3 seeds Boise State, Illinois, Iowa, Ohio State, Washington and LSU.
Regional tickets are available for purchase at www.georgiadogs.com or by calling the UGA Ticket Office at 1-877-542-1231. Tickets for adults are $12, while student tickets (college age and younger) are $9. UGA students can order by clicking here, and the ticket is loaded onto the UGA ID once ordered.