Gym Dogs Remain Unbeaten in First Round of N.C.A.A. Championships

The top-ranked Gym Dogs were in the Pacific Northwest for the opening round of the N.C.A.A. Women's Gymnastics Championships on Thursday evening, looking to continue their undefeated season and keep their hopes for a second straight national title alive.  

The Red and Black passed this latest test with flying colors, becoming the only one of the 12 teams involved in the tournament to break 197.  Suzanne Yoculan's Gym Dogs finished with the top score in the competition, with a 197.275 mark.  

Think of Mark Richt.  Now imagine if he were to beat Florida and Auburn every year.  Now imagine if he were to beat them every year by a lot.  That's Suzanne Yoculan.

Georgia finished first in the vault (49.15) and four of the top ten gymnasts in that event wore the red and black.  The Bulldogs had the best score on the uneven parallel bars (49.4), with three of the top seven individual marks being attained by Katie Heenan, Courtney Kupets, and Nikki Childs.  

The Red and Black continued to set the pace on the balance beam, producing four of the seven top individual performers on the way to a session-leading 49.375 tally.  The Gym Dogs finished the evening with the floor exercise, in which Kelsey Ericksen's first-place 9.925 and Courtney Kupets's second-place tying 9.9 paved the way to a team score of 49.35, which lagged behind Florida's 49.375 mark for first place in that event.  

Three of the six best all-around performances of the meet were turned in by Georgia gymnasts Courtney Kupets (39.575), Tiffany Tolnay (39.475), and Katie Heenan (39.325), who finished first, second, and sixth, respectively.  

Second-place Iowa State posted a solid 196.25, which enabled the Cyclones to edge out Florida (196.225) by a narrow margin.  The host school, Oregon State, parlayed its home floor advantage into a 195.15 score, yet still finished behind Arizona State (195.6).  Arkansas rounded out the field in the second session with a 194.375 total.  

Really, at this point, a Kristin Davis picture is almost superfluous, but here she is, anyway.

How dominant was the Gym Dogs' performance?  The gap between second-place Iowa State and fifth-place Oregon State was 1.1 points.  The gap between first-place Georgia and second-place Iowa State was 1.025 points.  

Earlier in the afternoon, Nebraska finished at the top of the standings in the first session with a 196.325 score that placed the Cornhuskers ahead of Alabama (196.25), Utah (196.175), Michigan (196), L.S.U. (195.65), and Oklahoma (195.525).  

The "Super Six" final round commences at 7:00 Pacific time on Friday evening.  

Go 'Dawgs!  

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