Beyond The Hedges: And so the winter/spring semester begins

Kevin C. Cox

Quite a few things have happened since we last checked in on the sports Dawgs play that aren't football (if you're wondering how pro Dawgs did in the playoffs last weekend, see this link from georgiadogs.com), prior to the holiday break, so let's get you up to date on those things. Vineyard already has you covered on the gymnastics side of things, so you'll forgive me if I don't add anything here since there's nothing I could say that he hasn't already. Now, without further ado, let's get outside that privet shrubbery.

First things first in what might be the biggest under the radar story for Georgia athletics in the new year, Jack Bauerle is in trouble. That the NCAA is involved and academic issues as well is a big problem academic issues are involved and potential NCAA violations is a big problem. Now, Bauerle has never had any such issue pop up before, and his resume as a coach speaks for itself (see all the titles as a Dawg, the success the U.S. swimmers had at the 2008 Olympics, etc). That he had to watch from afar as his squad gave him his 500th and 501st win as the man in charge of UGA swimming and diving is a shame. As the article notes, there is no timetable for the investigation to be completed. And considering the serious nature of charges of NCAA and academic malpractice, as well as the stellar reputation of Bauerle, you have to assume this investigation will be given all the time it needs to figure out what went down.

In the pool part of Georgia's water Dawgs, and as said above, they've still been excelling and winning (the girls are ranked 4th nationally, and the boys sit 10th), and will head to Texas to face A&M tonight and the Longhorns tomorrow.

We'd like to congratulate Josh Lauer on being named assistant head coach by volleyball's top Dawg, head coach Lizzy Stemke. And the cross country crew for their success in the classroom.

The Track Dawgs, as you can see in that link, also had a strong fall academically, as they prepare for a challenging 2014 campaign. Their indoor schedule begins next weekend in Auburn (cue outrage over Auburn having an indoor track while we don't. We could have it double as an Indoor Practice Facility too!), while nobody will be running in Athens until the Bulldog Decathalon and Spec Towns Invitational in early April.

The NCAA Tennis Championships, due to be held in Athens this spring, will return to their rightful home again in 2017 (when Georgia will also host a gymnastics regional). On the courts, the women were ranked 4th in the preseason rankings after bringing back the majority of last year's SEC Champions. Their season begins in Hawaii next week, before returning home to host the ITAs on that last weekend in January. The men meanwhile took it one step higher, listed 3rd in the preseason rankings. They'll be in Atlanta for Georgia Tech's invitational next weekend before hosting Columbia, and either Stanford or Washington, at the ITAs on the 25th and 26th.

Georgia softball announced their 2014 schedule, beginning with Winthrop on February 7th.

For the horsey set, Georgia senior Abby O'Mara will be joined by her highly accomplished younger sister Meg on this year's squad. Meg is currently a freshman, and should be available when things get going on the 24th this month at Tennessee-Martin.

On the hardwood, you may have already seen new Dawgsports' staff member Kris Willis' recap of last night's hard fought victory at a top 25 Missouri to open SEC play. They'll host Alabama Saturday in Stegeman at 4. Meanwhile the #25 Lady Dawgs get ready to face Mizzou as well, as they head to Columbia in hopes of turning around a 2 game losing streak. Lander's girls will host Texas A&M Sunday at 2, which will be aired on SEC TV if you can't get to Stegeman to watch.

And we'll close with some baseball news. New manager Steve Stricklin let georgiadogs.com know how things were going in his program as the pitchers will start throwing soon, with preseason practice starting at the end of the month on the 24th. He discusses his likely starting rotation, how he's projecting his bullpen, and loads of other stuff for those who call Kudzu Hill home in the spring. Stricklin can also claim a top 25 signing class in his first haul as the lead Dawg in Athens. Former players Johnathan Taylor and Chance Veazey were among the Diamond Dawgs who graduated after last semester, and a huge congratulations goes out to both paralyzed players as they continue with their recoveries and lives. Season tickets are on sale, and that might make for a great Valentine's Day surprise since their season gets going when Georgia Southern joins us in Foley Field on the celebrated/hated date of February 14th.

Until next time folks, GO DAWGS!strong>

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