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Gym Dogs Deliver Smackdown in Northeast Regional

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When I saw the Gym Dogs' draw in this Saturday's N.C.A.A. Northeast Regional, I almost opted not to cover the event. Georgia, the top-ranked gymnastics squad in the country, was the top seed in the region, followed by No. 12 Auburn, No. 13 Denver, No. 22 Penn State, No. 29 Brigham Young, and No. 30 Iowa State.

That's right . . . the Gym Dogs, whose regular season slate included No. 2 Utah, No. 3 Florida, No. 4 Alabama, No. 5 Michigan, No. 6 Stanford, No. 7 Louisiana State, No. 9 U.C.L.A., and No. 11 Arkansas, were the top seed in a region in which the second-seeded team was a squad that has never beaten the Red and Black. The results were predictably one-sided, so much so that dwelling upon them in excessive detail, frankly, would be cruel.

The Gym Dogs posted a 49.25 in the vault; the next-best score of the meet was Auburn's 49.175. The Gym Dogs posted a 49.5 on the uneven parallel bars; the next-best score of the meet was Denver's 49.175. The Gym Dogs posted a 49.575 on the balance beam; the next-best score of the meet was Denver's 49.050. The Gym Dogs posted a 49.45 in the floor exercise; the next-best score of the meet was Auburn's 49.175.

Georgia won the regional competition with an overall score of 197.775, a full two points better than second-place Denver's perfectly respectable showing of 195.775. The Red and Black received eleven scores of 9.9 or better from Katie Heenan (9.95 on bars and 9.95 on beam), Courtney McCool (9.9 on bars, 9.95 on beam, and 9.925 on floor), Grace Taylor (9.9 on bars and 9.95 on beam), and Tiffany Tolnay (9.9 on bars, 9.9 on beam, 9.925 on floor, and 9.95 on vault).

Tolnay's all-around score of 39.675 was the best tally of any gymnast for any participant in the regional. The overall team score of 197.775 matched the highest total the Gym Dogs have earned in a regional victory in the 21st century.

Next up for Georgia are the N.C.A.A. National Championships, which will be held in Athens beginning on April 24.

Go 'Dawgs!