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Beyond the Hedges 2/24/2013

SEC Heptathlon Champion Garrett Scantling, <a target="_blank" href="http://">UGA Sports Communications</a>
SEC Heptathlon Champion Garrett Scantling, UGA Sports Communications

Saturday, the men's and women's swimming and diving championships wrapped up in College Station with your UGA women's team winning its fourth consecutive conference championship. It was the program's tenth conference title. UGA's men swam strong, finishing in third place. After we last caught up with the action in the pool on Thursday night, both teams continued to excel. Friday, sophomore Nic Fink repeated his 2011 SEC title in the 100-yard breastroke, besting his time from last year by nearly half a second. Heading into Saturday, the UGA women were holding onto first place in the standings with a score of 1057, but SEC newcomer Texas A&M were coming on strong at 985. Georgia took first and second in the women's 100-yard freestyle: senior Megan Romano took the title with a time of 47.40, and redshirt senior Allison Schmitt was right behind at 47.95. Bulldogs Romano, Schmitt, freshman Chantal Van Landeghem, and junior Shannon Vreeland claimed the 400-yard freestyle relay with an SEC record time of 47.40. UGA women finished the team competition with 1,420 points to Texas A&M's 1,296. The men's team finished with 679 behind Florida and Auburn.

Georgia's freshman sensation Chase Kalisz was named SEC Freshman Male Swimmer of the Year, and Damn Good Dawg Coach Jack Bauerle was honored as SEC Women's Coach of the Year for the 14th time. Highlights of the meet will be aired on ESPNU 4 March at 4 p.m. (women) and 5:30 p.m. (men).

Earlier this evening, the SEC Indoor Track and Field Championships concluded in Fayetteville with the Georgia men finishing in fourth place and the women finishing fifth. SEC track powerhouse Arkansas took home both men's and women's titles. Several Bulldogs won individual SEC championships: freshman Chanice Porter jumped for 6.41 m to win women's long jump; junior Hilenn James won women's shot put with a 16.78 throw; and sophomore Garrett Scantling won the men's heptathlon. Freshman Maicel Uibo took second place in the heptathlon.

The softball team had a tough few days at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic in Palm Springs. After kicking play off Thursday with a 5-4 win over Colorado State, the ladies scored only two runs in the remaining four games to finish the trip 1-4, losing 5-0 to Oklahoma, 1-0 to Cal Poly, 6-0 to Stanford, and 14-2 to Washington. The west coast is way ahead of the rest of the country in softball, but it sure seemed the last few years that the SEC had caught up and that Georgia, specifically, had taken its place among the nation's elite, so the trip was disappointing. The Dawgs start the season 7-6. Let's hope Coach Harris-Champer and the team can figure something out.

We similarly hope Coach Perno and the baseball team can get it together on the diamond. Georgia hosted Belmont this weekend and dropped two of three. Georgia won the first game of a doubleheader Saturday with a 2-1 win in the tenth inning. Later, Georgia's ninth-inning, 3-run rally came up short, and the Diamond Dogs fell 10-9. This afternoon, UGA out-hit the Bruins 15-6, but dropped the game 5-4 in eleven innings. Coach Perno says we're getting there. Any time, Coach.

In case you missed the Dawg Sports coverage, the gymnastics team won on the road at Mizzou, 196.825-194.550, and men's basketball beat the Gamecocks 62-54. The Gym Dogs head to Baton Rouge Friday, and the men's basketball team will be in Nashville Wednesday night in a game against Vandy carried by FSN.

The women's basketball team won big in Athens Thursday and in Oxford Saturday. While the men were on their way to losing at the buzzer in Arkansas, the Lady Razorbacks were in Athens getting hammered en route to a 66-34 loss to the Lady Bulldogs. This was the lowest opponent point total in an SEC regular-season game in UGA history. Georgia cruised right along this afternoon, beating Ole Miss in Oxford 73-54, earning Coach Andy Landers his 900th career win. At 11-3 in SEC play (23-4 over all), Georgia is in a three-way tie with Kentucky and Texas A&M for second place in the conference standings behind first-place Tennessee. The last two games of the regular season will be played Thursday at Mississippi State Thursday and against Vandy at home next Sunday.

The No. 1 Georgia equestrian team took a tough home loss against hated Auburn, 12-8. The teams were evenly matched, with each of three events decided by a 3-2 score: Equitation on the Flat, Equitation over Fences, and Reining, with the Bulldogs edging the Tigers in the first but dropping the other three. Auburn took a big advantage in Horsemanship, 4-1. Georgia bounced back strong with an easy 17-3 victory over Delaware State this afternoon.

No. 5 Georgia took on rival Georgia Tech in women's tennis Saturday at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex. The doubles point was a close one: the Jackets won at court 2 (8-3) and the Bulldogs won 1 (8-2), so the point was decided at the No. 3 court. Junior Lilly Kimbell and freshman Mia King, behind 8-7, 40-15, won four consecutive points to force a tiebreaker and win the match, capturing the 1-0 lead for UGA. Georgia went on for the team win, 4-3. Georgia starts conference play in Knoxville Saturday.

The men's tennis team took to the courts this afternoon without three of our best players to take on visiting Furman. File under generic "coaches' decision": senior KU Singh, who didn't make the trip to the ITA National Team Indoors, was held out of the lineup. Freshman Nick Wood and junior Hernus Pieters were out with injuries. Relying on depth, the Dawgs cruised to a 6-1 victory, including four straight-set singles matches. Georgia goes right back into action tomorrow against ETSU.