Gym Dog Senior Christa Tanella - USA TODAY Sports

Georgia Gym Dogs at the NCAA Gymnastics Championships

Georgia has returned to the Super Six for the first time since the Suzanne Yoculan era.

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3 Gym Dogs Competing In Individual Finals Tonight

With the team finals now complete, three of Georgia's Gym Dogs will move on to compete in the individual NCAA finals today starting at 4:00 ADT at Pauley Pavillion in Los Angeles. (The qualification for the individual finals is based on a gymnast's score in the semifinal event, not the Super Six.)

Brandie Jay, Chelsea Davis, and Lindsey Cheek will all be competing on vault, and Chelsea will also be competing on bars.

It's kind of sad that none of our seniors were able to qualify for the individual finals, especially considering that Shayla Worley has been a strong beam specialist most of her career and Noel Couch was our strongest all-around gymnast for her first 3 years in Athens before her senior season was sabotaged by injury.

The silver lining, however, is that all of these three individual competitors will be back for Danna's Dawgs next year, and will be able to build on the experience they will get from this competition. And hopefully they might be able to bring home an individual national title, too!

UGA will not be providing a live audio broadcast of the individual finals, though they will be doing a highlights show after the fact. The event will be broadcast live at, however.

I might not be here to comment during the meet, but feel free to use this as your open comment thread if you're following along on ESPN3.

Go Brandie, Chelsea, and Lindsey!


Gym Dogs Finish Sixth, Get Jobbed By Judges

It was not to be Georgia's night at Pauley Pavillion in Los Angeles, as they battled a lack of experience and a seemingly disdainful set of judges enroute to a sixth-place finish in the Super Six.

Georgia started the evening on floor, and unfortunately took ourselves out of the running for the national championship in the first rotation. No gymnast scored higher than a 9.875 (Noel Couch), and we had to count a 9.70 from Brandie Jay enroute to a 49.050 rotation.

The Gym Dogs next went to vault, where questionable judging left Georgia once again without any 9.9 scorers. Brittany Rogers had a magnificent vault that left many spectators scratching their heads when she was only awarded a 9.875, and Cat Hires had a magnificent vault, too, that somehow only managed a 9.85. The rest of the team didn't perform their best, either, though, and we were left with a rotation score of 49.200. Again, not a terrible rotation score, but this is the Super Six.

After a bye in the 3rd rotation, UGA took to the bars, where seemingly poor judging hamstrung them again. Christa Tanella and Brittany Rogers both had magnificent routines that somehow managed only a 9.85, and the Gym Dogs carded a rotation score of 49.200.

Georgia finished the night on beam, where Shayla Worley was finally rewarded with a well-earned 9.90, but Brittany Rogers' 9.875 had most observers once again looking at the judges with suspicion. The final rotation score of the year for the Gym Dogs was 49.225, and their total Super Six meet score was 196.675.

It was easily not our best effort on the year, but I have no qualms about saying that we had at least 3 tenths taken from us by incredibly questionable judging. I don't normally like to question judges in gymnastics, because so much is subjective, but after watching the entire meet on ESPN3, I simply can't see how vaults like Brittany Rogers' were not as good as some of the Florida Gators' vaults, 4 of which garnered a score of 9.9 or better.

The final standings on the night were:

1) Florida - 197.575
2) Oklahoma - 197.375
3) Alabama - 197.350
4) UCLA - 197.100
5) LSU - 197.050
6) Georgia - 196.675

Florida is your 2013 national champion, collecting their first ever crown and extending SEC hegemony, with 8 out of the last 9 national championships coming back to the best gymnastics conference in the country. Congratulations to the Gators.

It's never exciting to finish last with a seemingly poor score, but I can say without reservation that the ladies competing for Georgia gave their all tonight, and we should be proud of them. The judges screwed them more than once, but there's no question that they also simply didn't have their best night.

The Super Six is the highest level of competition with the best teams in the country, and although there's no question that we were good enough to get there, I think our ladies saw tonight just how much they need to improve to be competing for the 2014 championship. Hopefully they'll take this experience and use it as motivation to work that much harder in the offseason to get even better.

And really, that's what matters most for our squad at this point: experience. Thanks to the Jay Clark era, this was the first Super Six appearance for any of our gymnasts, even our seniors. Literally none of our ladies has ever competed with their team on back-to-back nights like this in college before. This experience will help them grow and lean how to deal with these situations in the future.

Also, let's not forget that in the preseason gymnastics poll (which is the only poll voted on by coaches), Georgia was picked #11 in the country. We were not expected to be this good, and have significantly overachieved.

Returning to the Super Six was always our goal for this year, and we achieved that goal. It's been a successful year. By all accounts, we've got a great incoming freshman class for 2014, and we know our current freshman and returning upperclassmen will be very solid. (In fact, current freshmen/future sophomores Brittany Rogers and Brandie Jay might be the two best gymnasts on the team.) We can feel confident that we could be back in this spot next year, maybe actually competing for the national championship.

It wasn't your best night, ladies, but we're still damn proud of our Gym Dogs!

Go Dawgs!


NCAA Super Six Open Comment Thread

Tonight's the night, Dawg fans. The NCAA Finals, which are colloquially called the "Super Six," starts at 7:00 PM ADT. At about 10:00 PM tonight, one team will be crowned the national champions. And for the first time since the Suzanne Yoculan era, one of those teams (at least theoretically) could be the Georgia Gym Dogs.

I say "at least theoretically" because we have to be honest with ourselves and realize that we probably won't actually win. This year has always been a rebuilding year for Georgia's gymnastics program, and making the Super Six was always our primary goal. We're here now, though, so we might as well give it our best shot... but the reality is that we're likely not the best team in this field. And the field, in case you didn't see my update in the previous thread is actually made of up the top 6 teams in the national rankings:

#1 Florida
#2 Oklahoma
#3 Alabama
#4 Georgia
#5 LSU

It's very possible that we will have a first-time champion emerge from the NCAA field this year. One of the things for which women's gymnastics is widely rebuked is the fact that there have only been 4 programs to ever win the national championship: Utah (with 10), Georgia (with 10), UCLA (with 6), and Alabama (with 6). The #1 spot this year, however, has bounced back and forth between the Oklahoma Sooners and the Florida Gators. Alabama has a legitimate shot to win the title, as well (which would be their 3rd straight), but that's probably about it.

The Gators have been in this spot before (many times, in fact), and Rhonda Faehn's squads always seem to falter when the lights are shining brightest. This year, however, they've been steamrolling the competition with a vigor rarely before seen (outside of Athens, at any rate). Their victory almost seems inevitable. I hope you'll join me, however, in cheering for a national champion that is "anybody but Florida." (I hate Florida.)

It's true that Alabama is our biggest rival on the mat, and a win this year would mean a third-straight national championship for them. Even if we'd hate seeing Sarah Patterson lift the trophy again, though, it would be worse to see Rhonda Faehn lifting it. So let's cheer on our Gym Dogs, root for them to put up a respectable finish, and all join together in pulling for anybody not named Florida to win the national championship!

The meet will be live-streamed at, and if you'd like to hear a homer's version of the facts, you can listen to Kevin Copp on the UGA audio-only broadcast at this link. I like Kevin's broadcasts, since he knows a lot about gymnastics and does a surprisingly good job of making what is essentially a radio broadcast of a gymnastics meet seem riveting. I will probably be watching the video on ESPN3 with the audio muted and the UGA audio-cast playing.

You can also follow along with the live scoring totals at this link.

Go Dawgs! And Everybody Not Named Florida!


Danna's Dawgs Make the Super Six!

We at Dawg Sports have said from the beginning of the season that we have just one goal for this year: Make the Super Six. You can't win a national championship every year, and it would certainly be an unreasonable expectation in this, a rebuilding year for the Dawgs. Historically, however, our program's "floor" has always been making the Super Six. Even if we aren't one of the best teams this school has ever seen, we always make the Super Six. Always. And the lack of that achievement is what led to the departure of Coach Yoculan's successor.

Well, we're back where we belong, folks. In Coach Danna Durante's first season, she has once again led the Georgia Gym Dogs to the NCAA finals.

Due to the nature of a 6-team session, Georgia had 2 byes and 4 competition routines (as did every other team). The Dawgs had a bye in the first rotation, which is generally considered a bad thing since you've gotten all warmed up before the meet and then have to go to your locker room for 30-45 minutes.

Fortunately that "bad bye mojo" didn't seem to affect the Gym Dogs at all when they came out for their bars rotation. They knocked the ball out of the park, with Chelsea Davis carding a 9.95, and 9.90's scored by Brittany Rogers, Shayla Worley, and Christa Tanella. Brandie Jay tacked on a 9.85 for good measure, rounding out the team score of 49.50 on bars. This was huge, and was the second-highest score of any team on any apparatus all day.

Unfortunately, we were going to end up needing that huge score, as the wheels very nearly came off on the balance beam. Beam had been our strongest apparatus over the last month of the season and in the SEC tournament and NCAA regional, but it was by far our weakest today. No Gym Dog scored a 9.9 or better, and we had to count a 9.70 from Brittany Rogers and a 9.775 from Noel Couch enroute to a team score of 48.975. It wasn't disastrous, but it did knock us out of the running for 2nd place, and could have knocked us out of the Super Six altogether if we'd had a better team chasing us.

The Georgia ladies entered then had another bye, and entered the fifth rotation on floor knowing they had a lot of work to do to secure their 3rd place spot. Once again, no Gym Dog scored a 9.9 or better, but all of the scores were consistently good. Noel Couch had the highest score with a 9.875, and we didn't have to count anything lower than a 9.825 as we carded a 49.225 for the rotation. It wasn't the best floor rotation we've ever had, but as an observer, that's all we really had to do in this round. We weren't going to catch Florida or LSU with such a horrible beam rotation, so there was really no reason to "stretch" for it and end up making a mistake that could cost us the Super Six. We "held serve," just like we needed to.

The Gym Dogs went into the sixth and final rotation knowing they just needed a 48.75 on vault to make the Super Six, which was eminently achievable, and they blew it away. Brandie Jay scored a 9.925, and 9.90's were carded by Chelsea Davis and Lindsey Cheek. We also didn't have to count a score lower than 9.85 as we notched a 49.450 to close out the meet.

Georgia's final score was 197.150, and was good enough for 3rd place. Since the top 3 teams from each semifinal session advance to the Super Six, that was all we needed. Here were the final standings from semifinal session 1:

1) Florida - 197.775
2) LSU - 197.325
3) Georgia - 197.150
4) Minnesota - 196.375
5) Illinois - 195.700
6) Stanford - 194.700

If you think those scores look a little low, you're correct. Scores at the national meet are usually a little lower partly because of nerves/tension, but mostly (in my opinion) because the judges call the NCAA national meet a little more tightly than they do other meets. We made it, though... and that's all that counts.

Ok, jingoistic rabble-rousing aside, I also have to at least acknowledge that we got a fortunate draw for this semifinal. We didn't have to beat a team that has a history of being great (Minnesota, Illinois, and Stanford), while the second semifinal (about to start as I type this) is as close to its own "Super Six" as you're ever going to see. That semifinal has Alabama, Oklahoma, UCLA, Utah, Michigan, and Arkansas. That's 3 of the 4 schools who have ever won national championships, plus the team that has traded the #1 ranking with Florida all year (Oklahoma). It's impossible to know if we would have qualified from that group, but that doesn't really matter. We did qualify, and we'll be taking the floor again tomorrow!

We'll be back tomorrow (Saturday) at 7:00 PM ADT (Athens Daylight Time) with a live open-comment thread for the NCAA finals. Join us and cheer on the Gym Dogs!

Go Dawgs!


Gym Dogs Competing at NCAA's in Los Angeles

The Georgia Women's Gymnastics Team will continue its pursuit of a national championship at 3:00 PM ADT (Athens Daylight Time).

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