March 26, 2012
ATHENS-----The sixth-ranked Georgia gymnastics team will compete as the No. 1 seed in the NCAA Auburn, Ala., Regional on April 7, it was announced Monday.
Joining the Gym Dogs in order of seeding will be Oregon State, Auburn, Michigan, West Virginia and Michigan State. The six teams along with individual competitors will compete at Auburn Arena Saturday, April 7 at 7 p.m. ET.
The individual competitors include Western Michigan's Taylor Zondervan, Cepeda Carter, Lauren Bledsoe and Caroline O'Brien, Bowling Green's Megan Harrington, Danielle Wishart, Jamilaj Ali and Gina Locigno and Ball State's Nicole Allen.
Auburn is one of six regional hosts along with Arkansas, Illinois, NC State, Utah and Washington. 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 Duluth, Ga., April 20-22. 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.
"It's good to go close to home and a place we are familiar with," said Georgia head coach Jay Clark. "I don't think it's a regional that any team can take for granted. There are some tough teams in this regional. We know Auburn competes well at home, and Oregon State is a pretty tough team from top to bottom. We know Michigan has been injured for most of the year, but can still be a dangerous team. West Virginia just won their conference meet with a pretty good score, so it's going to be a battle."
Georgia (12-5) competed at Auburn earlier this year, claiming a 195.975-195.600 victory on Jan. 20, and defeated Michigan, 196.575-195.300 in Ypslianti on March 9. The Gym Dogs are coming off a third place finish in the SEC Championship last Saturday with a 196.575.
Georgia's rotation for the regional will be bars, beam, bye, floor, vault, bye.
In the GymInfo Top 25 released Monday, Georgia is in the top five in three events including No. 3 on bars (49.305), No. 4 on floor (49.320) and No. 5 on beam (49.225). The Gym Dogs, who have an overall RQS of 196.995, are ranked ninth on vault (49.270).
Kat Ding retained her No. 1 ranking on the uneven bars with a 9.935, and is tied for 15th on vault (9.910). She earned All-SEC First Team honors by placing second on bars at the SEC Championship.
Shayla Worley, who tied for third on beam in the SEC Championship, is tied for fourth (9.910). Junior Noel Couch is tied for fifth on floor (9.915) and tied for 21st in the all-around with a 39.320. The Towaco, N.J., native has competed in the all-around in every meet the last two years.
Ten-time NCAA champion Georgia has won a total of 21 NCAA regionals including 11 in the last 14 years.
The top 18 teams in the 36-team field include No. 1 seeds Florida, Oklahoma, UCLA, Alabama, Nebraska and Georgia, No. 2 seeds Oregon State, Utah, LSU, Arkansas, Stanford and Ohio State, and No. 3 seeds Penn State, Denver, Boise State, Arizona, Minnesota and Auburn.
Regional tickets are available for purchase at www.aubtix.com or by calling the Auburn Ticket Office at 1-855-282-2010. Tickets are $10, and all seats are general admission seating.