Kat Ding won the NCAA floor title and also repeated as the national champion on bars.
May 9, 2012
For the second straight year Kat Ding capped Georgia’s season by winning an NCAA individual title at the national championships in Duluth, Ga. This year, however, she won two titles, repeating as the national champion on the uneven bars in addition to winning the floor title. Ding claimed the 39th and 40th individual NCAA titles in Georgia history and the 11th on bars and floor. UGA’s 40 titles leads all teams, and the Gym Dogs have now won 14 individual crowns in the last six years.
It was the second straight NCAA bars title for Ding, who becomes the eighth gymnast in Georgia history to win national titles in multiple years and the first to win back-to-back crowns on an individual event since Heather Stepp on vault in 1992 and 1993. Ding joins former gymnasts Courtney Kupets (2006, 2007, 2009), Kim Arnold (1998), Stepp (1993), Hope Spivey (1991) and Corrinne Wright (1989) as the only Gym Dogs to win more than one national title in the same year.
Ding is the second gymnast to repeat as the outright NCAA uneven bars champion and the first since Georgia’s Lucy Wener in 1986 and 1987.
Ding was fourth up on bars and posted a career-best 9.9875 as four judges awarded her routine with a 10. Then on floor she turned in a career-best 9.95 in the No. 6 position.
The Gym Dogs made their 28th appearance at the NCAA Championships and finished fifth in the second semifinal session, despite posting the highest vault score and tying for second on bars. UGA entered the meet without counting a fall all year, but had to count two falls on the balance beam.
Eight Gym Dogs earned a total of 13 All-America honors. The last time eight Gym Dogs achieved All-America status was in 2008, and the only year Georgia had more All-Americans was in 1998 when it had nine.
Ding led the way with four first team All-America honors in the all-around, vault, bars and floor. The NCAA champion on bars and floor, Ding was the runner-up in the all-around and placed third on vault.
Chelsea Davis earned first team All-America honors on the uneven bars and second team honors on vault and floor. Sophomore Lindsey Cheek claimed first team honors on vault. Senior Gina Nuccio was a second-team All-American on the bars, and junior Noel Couch earned second team honors on vault.
A total of 66 different gymnasts have now earned 331 All-America honors in Georgia’s storied history.
• Georgia started the season by posting the highest score of the opening weekend in a 196.525-193.700 win over No. 20 Denver. Kat Ding posted a then-career-high 9.975 on bars in the win.
• The Gym Dogs cracked the 197 barrier for the first time in 2012 with a 197.250-195.750 win over No. 17 LSU on Jan. 28.
• Kat Ding competed in the all-around for the first time in her career and captured her first title with a 39.550 against third-ranked Arkansas on Feb. 10.
• Georgia’s signature win of the regular season came in a 197.700-196.975 victory over No. 3 UCLA on March 2, highlighted by 10 individual season-bests.
• Georgia won its 22nd regional title in school history with a 197.100 at Auburn on April 7.
• Seven of Georgia’s 14 meets this year were against teams ranked in the top-three, and three of those were on the road - at No. 2 Alabama on Jan. 13, at No. 1 Utah on Feb. 3 and at No. 1 Florida on Feb. 24.
• Beginning with the LSU meet, Georgia strung together 27 straight rotations with a 49.0 or higher, the longest such streak in school history.
• Noel Couch has competed in the all-around in a school record 28-straight meets and did the all-around in every meet for the second straight year.
• Georgia’s eight All-Americans was tied with Alabama for the most of any school.
• Georgia did not count a fall in the regular season for the first time in school history.
• Georgia had four All-Americans on vault, which is tied for the second most in program history in a single season.