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Gym Dogs Hunting SEC in Huntsville

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The regular season has concluded, and the Women’s Gymnastics postseason has begun. Saturday, the University of Georgia Gym Dogs will compete in the Southeastern Conference Championships, held in Huntsville, Alabama.

The eight competing SEC squads are broken up into two sessions of four teams each. Seeds 5-8 will compete against each other in Session 1 early afternoon, and seeds 1-4 will compete in Session 2 in the evening.

Georgia enters as a 7th seed, out of 8 total teams. Florida retains the #1 spot, as they are also tied for #1 in the country with Oklahoma. LSU is the second seed, followed by Alabama and Arkansas. Those four teams comprise Session 2 competition.

Georgia will be facing Kentucky (#6), Auburn (#7) and Missouri (#8). The rotation order shows UGA to start on beam (gulp), move to floor, then vault, and finish on bars. As inconsistent as the team results have been, I don’t know if this is the ideal setup or a nightmare scenario. Maybe you know better than I.

There will be no “session winners”, it’s best score wins the night and the conference. And to be frank, Coach Courtney Kupets Carter is probably not too concerned about bringing hardware home from the Rocket City. I think she is much more focused on landing a solid road score. Why, you ask?

Because the University of Georgia Gym Dogs, holders of 10 national championships and a record number of All-Americans, is in a tie for 16th place nationally with Illinois. Not sixth, but sixteenth! And this is important because of what starts April 1 - Regionals. Four regions of four teams each. My back of the napkin math says that totals 16 teams. And if UGA is tied for 16th currently and doesn’t improve it’s score, the tumbling Illini hold the tie-breaker and will advance to regionals while Georgia goes home. That just doesn’t sound right, does it?

The doom and gloom scenario is the Gym Dogs don’t have the tie-breaker. The good news is that the current NQS ranking includes a road score of 196.150. The SECs are a great chance to replace that score with something much higher. Illinois has the same current NQS, but has a higher road score of 196.300 that they’re looking to replace. So technically Georgia has a better chance to replace the low score and lock more gymnastics.

I’d like to say this is a lock, and the ladies can look forward to hosting the Athens Regional. I also thought they would score more than 195.950 at Stegeman earlier this season hosting Arkansas. I thought there was no possible way Georgia would score less than 196.200 four times -literally half the season scores were at 196.150 or below. So forget what I think.

The Gym Dogs will take the mat Saturday, 3/20, at 3:30 pm ET for said Session 1. It will be broadcast on the SEC Network with Session 2 to follow at 8:00 pm ET. It is a close-run thing, but one good meet will change the fortunes and allow the Gym Dogs to advance. So as always...