Noel Couch with her sister Mikayla
Aug. 13, 2012
Bienvenida! Benvenuto! Welkom! Willkommen! Bienvenue! Welcome Georgia gymnastics coaches. Welcome back students. Welcome freshies to UGA. Welcome back to the blog! First and foremost I’d like to welcome head coach Danna Durante and assistant coaches Jay Hogue and Philip Ogletree to the Gym Dog family and the rich tradition and pride that runs strong here at UGA. My relationship with Danna has actually come full circle. I met her as a junior in high school when I took my first ever recruiting visit to the University of Nebraska and now as a senior in college I’m getting to know her as my head coach. I’ve had to opportunity to get to know each of them individually, as well as their vision as a coaching staff, and let me just say that I am so motivated and inspired about the plan for our team this year. It is going to be an amazing year.
Now let me rewind a bit and fill you in on my fun summer. I took a telecommunications class in May, which was tough with tests every two days, but definitely interesting. After my final I headed down to Orlando to stay with Shayla for a few days. She took me to Universal Studios and, of course, I insisted on doing everything from riding every rollercoaster to taking a picture with the Jaws shark. Our favorite ride was the new Rip Ride Rockit Rollercoaster. From Orlando we headed to Tennessee to work Flip Fest Camp. I really enjoyed getting to known the owners and Olympians, John Rothlisberger and John Macready, as well as Paul Hamm who was the guest of the week. In between practices Shay and I got to go tubing on the lake, do the ropes course, and play in the corn hole toss tournament, which is now my new favorite game (Jersey doesn’t know corn hole toss, only boardwalk ring toss)! From there we headed back to Athens to work two weeks of Gym Dog camp. I truly enjoyed working with and getting to know the gymnasts at both camps. It’s so special to see what an impact we have on their lives and it always reminds me of when I was a gymnast their age.
Following camp I headed home to Jersey. I was so happy to be able to spend time with my family. Mama Couch had planned some fun trips for the month my sister and I were both home together. We went into NYC where we shopped and saw the cirque du solei show, Zarkana…incredible! The trapeze acts always amaze me. We also spent time at the infamous Jersey Shore swimming in the ocean, bike riding, and going for boat rides on our 15-foot Boston Whaler named “The Beast.” And of course I loved being able to go back into my home gym, North Stars, to train with my club coach Tony and see all the little girls. The gym and Tony’s coaching style are still just as I remember it. My last few days at home were spent in Cape Cod, which in my opinion is the most peaceful place you can be. And now I’m back in Athens where the next chapter in my story here at UGA has already begun. So, welcome senior year!
Another big welcome to our Gym Dog freshies! I’ve spent some time with Mary Beth Box, Brandie Jay and Anysia Unick over the past week and they are full of energy and spirit and ready to get the year underway. They’ve shown some great qualities in the gym and around the team so far and I believe these ladies will be a wonderful addition to our program. Well, my backpack is packed and I’m ready for another fantastic year at UGA. Best wishes to everyone starting up class and practice tomorrow, and a big welcome to all coaches, athletes, students and 2012-2013 year! Continue to follow my blog and I’ll be sure to keep you updated on all the Gym Dog happenings…Ciao for now!
Noel Couch, from Towaco, N.J., is a senior on the Georgia gymnastics team.