(Ed. Note: This write-up has been significantly delayed because your intrepid Dawg Sports reporter was handicapped all day yesterday with a particularly nasty case of... something... that, trust me, you really don't even want to know about. Because of that, I was unable to attend G-Day and didn't follow the Gym Dogs meet live.)
As the old saying goes, you can't make it to the Super Six if you're not at the NCAA national meet. And to make it to the national meet, you have to finish in the top 2 at an NCAA Regional meet. Danna's Dawgs accomplished that feat last night, carding a 197.425 to win the Corvallis regional and punch their ticket to Los Angeles. Joining the Gym Dogs in LA will be the Arkansas Razorbacks, who came in second with an overall score of 196.950.
The NCAA meets work a little bit differently than the 2-team or 4-team meets to which we become accustomed during the regular season. With 6 teams and only 4 apparatuses, there are actually 6 scheduled rotations, and each team gets two "bye" rotations. As such, it's virtually impossible to know where each team stands in terms of overall score until the end of the meet. (This heightens the anticipation, mostly, for the fans, since basically you don't know how your team did compared to everybody else until the final rotation of the night.)
For this regional, Georgia's rotation was vault, bye, bars, beam, bye, floor. And, quite honestly, we seemed to come out slightly flat on vault, which has previously been our best apparatus all year. No gymnast scored higher than 9.875, but no one scored lower than a 9.825, either, so we had a bunch of scored lodged "in the middle," as it were, adding up to a total of 49.25 for the vault. As I said, not a horrible score, but not a huge score, either.
After a bye round, the Gym Dogs then put in a solid bars rotation, with Chelsea Davis scoring a 9.9. The lowest score we had to count was a 9.825 enroute to a 49.275 rotation, and a "halftime" score for us of 98.525.
Danna's Dawgs then headed to the beam and continued the late-season turnaround that we've been seeing on that apparatus. When the season began, we would close our eyes, cross our fingers, and just hope for a respectable beam score. Now, however, it's become one of our team's strengths, and that was the case last night, as well. Shayla Worley led the way with a 9.925, and 9.9's were tallied by Sarah Persinger and Brittany Rogers enroute to a team score of 49.475.
After another bye round, the Dawgs closed out the meet on the floor. Shayla Worley came up huge again with a 9.95, and Sarah Persinger notched another 9.9, as well. Brandie Jay also scored a 9.9 enroute to a team score of 49.425, leading to the overall team total of 197.425.
Coming into the meet, Oregon State, as host and second-highest-seeded team in the regional, looked to be the Gym Dogs primary competition, but the Beavers had three falls, (and therefore had to count two of them) on bars in their first rotation and posted a 47.525. After that, their night was all but done. That's how thin the margin for error is... one horrible rotation and your dreams of national success are over.
The final standings from the Corvallis regional are as follows:
1) Georgia - 197.425
2) Arkansas - 196.950
3) Arizona State - 195.700
4) Oregon State - 195.375
5) Boise State - 195.300
6) California - 195.125
So Arkansas will be joining the Gym Dogs at nationals, and since it's always good to have more SEC teams in the mix, I say congratulations to the Razorbacks!
The full NCAA national field will be comprised of the following additional teams:
- Tuscaloosa Regional: Alabama, Utah
- Columbus Regional: LSU, UCLA
- Gainesville Regional: Florida, Minnesota
- Morgantown Regional: Michigan, Illinois
- Norman Regional: Oklahoma, Stanford
The 12 competitors will be drawn into two groups of six, and each group of six will compete on Friday, April 19: one group in an afternoon session, and the other group in an evening session. The top 3 finishers in each group will head to the NCAA Finals, also known as the Super Six, on Saturday, April 20.
As soon as we know which session the Gym Dogs will be competing in, we'll post it here.
The groupings for the NCAA national tournament have been posted, and once again help to illustrate the uber-importance of having a high RQS ranking. Georgia is ranked #4 overall in RQS, and that has helped us get into a matchup that is very doable.
Danna's Dawgs will be competing in the afternoon session on April 19, which will be made up of the following clubs:
- #1 Florida
- #4 Georgia
- #5 LSU
- #8 Minnesota
- #9 Stanford
- #12 Illinois
We just have to finish 3rd in that group to make the Super Six. Even if we don't beat LSU (which we haven't yet done in 3 meets against them this year), all we have to do is beat Minnesota, Stanford, and Illinois. This is doable. I think it's safe to say that anything short of making the Super Six would be a significant disappointment.