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Gym Dogs Advance to National Semifinals

Used with permission of

Something about this seems familiar. The University of Georgia Women’s Gymnastics team advanced from regionals to the national semifinals and a chance to compete for the national championship. You know how many national championships Georgia has won in gymnastics? 10.

You know what score sophomore Marissa Oakley scored at regionals on the uneven bars Saturday night? Also 10.

As in perfect. As in flawless. As in the the first 10 on bars since 2009 (by none other than now head coach Courtney Kupets Carter).

Athens was one of four sites for the bracket-style regional competition. The others being Baton Rouge, Ann Arbor, and Corvallis. As host, Georgia was a #8 seed, and others in the regional were overall #1 Oklahoma, #9 Kentucky, #16 Cal, Missouri, NC State, Maryland, and Iowa State. During Friday afternoon’s round, Georgia squared off against Kentucky, Missouri, and Iowa State. Georgia scored a 197.300 to advance, along with UK, to face the squads from the other half of the draw, Oklahoma and Cal. Then in Saturday night’s mash-up, both Georgia and Oklahoma emerged on top to advance to the National Championships April 19-20 in Fort Worth.

The Gym Dogs Saturday score of 198.050 was admittedly well behind Oklahoma’s 198.475, but was also comfortably ahead of Kentucky’s 197.600 and California’s 197.675. Still, Oakley’s perfect 10 on bars didn’t hurt.

Georgia started with a 49.550 on floor, thanks to Sabrina Vega’s 9.975. And Rachel Lukacs’ 9.925 along with Rachel Dickson’s 9.900 set the tone. Vault (49.375) was next, and senior Sydney Snead lead the way as usual with a 9.950 (which won the event). The Gym Dogs next swung over to bars, and that is when Oakley made her mark. Snead, Dickson, and Alexa Al-Hameed contributed 9.900’s of their own and a team score of 49.575. Beam was the final event for the Georgia, and a 9.950 from Vega was balanced against the same from Dickson and Rachel Baumann.

As stated above, Georgia will next travel to Fort Worth, TX on April 19th for a semi-final competition of 4 teams, the top 2 advancing. Georgia will face Oklahoma (again), Denver, and Oregon State. This will be extremely tough as the Sooners have looked invincible all year, while Denver has consistently been top 10 and snuck past Georgia at the end of the season to claim a #5 seed. Oregon State is #13, and are riding high after advancing from their own hosted regional.

UCLA and Michigan captured the Ann Arbor regional, while LSU and Utah moved on from Baton Rouge Saturday. Those four will make up the other semifinal. So the national championship will likely be made up of gymnastic blue bloods. There are some notable exceptions. Nowhere in the national championship will you find Alabama, nor will you find Florida. Their seasons are over.

Congratulations to Marissa Oakley on her perfect 10, Coach Kupets Carter on an improvement over last season, and all the ladies who are steadily returning the Gym Dogs to national prominence, and a team to be feared. Well done, Gym Dogs, well done. And as always...