April 4, 2009


Courtesy of Georgia

RALEIGH, N.C. --- The No. 1-ranked Georgia gymnastics team won the NCAA Southeast Regional on Saturday at North Carolina State’s Reynolds Coliseum to qualify for the NCAA Championship.

Behind 10.0s from Courtney Kupets and Courtney McCool, the Gym Dogs rolled up a score of 197.7. Kupets was selected as the Southeast Regional Gymnast of the Year.

The NCAAs will take place April 16-18 in Lincoln, Neb. The Gym Dogs will be going for the 10th national title in school history and their fifth in a row.

“This is absolutely the way we wanted to get into the NCAAs,” said Coach Suzanne Yoculan, who guided Georgia to its 21st NCAA Regional title. “It really helps with confidence to have a good meet before the NCAAs. When they set their mind to it and really have that focus, we’re an unbeatable team. Our expectations are very high.”

Kupets won the all-around title for the 12th time in 13 meets, posting a score of 39.675. Kupets recorded a 10.0 on vault, giving her the grand slam of perfection this year with 10.0s on all four events. McCool posted her second 10.0 of the year on beam.

Kupets notched 10.0s on bars and beam against Alabama on Jan. 23 and added a 10.0 on floor against Florida on Feb. 28. Heather Stepp (1993) and Karin Lichey (1996) are the only other Gym Dogs with 10.0s on all four events in the same season, and Lichey’s came in one meet as she recorded the only 40.0 in college history.

Georgia opened the meet with a 49.225 on floor. Kupets paced the Gym Dogs with a 9.9. Cassidy McComb added a 9.875, followed by Grace Taylor at 9.85, and Hilary Mauro and Abby Stack each with a 9.8.

Kupets’ 10.0 led the Gym Dogs to a season-best 49.525 on vault. Georgia also got 9.9s from McComb and Tiffany Tolnay, a 9.875 from Marcia Newby and a 9.85 from Mauro. Through two rotations, the Gym Dogs had a score of 98.75.

The Gym Dogs added a 49.4 on bars. Kupets paced Georgia with a 9.925, followed by Taylor with a 9.9, McCool with a 9.875, and Kathryn Ding and Gina Nuccio each with a 9.85. After three events, Georgia had a score of 148.15.

With McCool getting her 10.0 on beam, the Gym Dogs ended the meet with a season-best-matching 49.55. Taylor and Tolnay followed with 9.9s, while Mauro and McComb each had a 9.875. That gave the Gym Dogs a final tally of 197.7, their third-best figure of the year.

Said Taylor, “There’s a lot of fight in this team.”