Gym Dogs win 2006 SEC title

BIRMINGHAM - Top-ranked Georgia notched its third consecutive Southeastern Conference Championship and 15th overall with a score of 197.275 in front of 7,607 on Saturday night at the BJCC Arena.

Fifth-ranked Alabama finished in second place 196.975, followed by No. 3 Florida (196.275), No. 8 LSU (195.9), No. 14 Auburn (194.975), No. 19 Arkansas (195.9) and No. 18 Kentucky (191.15).

"Every year is a new year," said Georgia head coach Suzanne Yoculan, "so even though Georgia has 15 this is the first for this team. It is really special. We really set the pace tonight."

Georgia tied for the highest bars score of the night in the first rotation at 49.325. Kelsey Ericksen and Courtney Kupets tied for first overall with scores of 9.9 and Nikki Childs and Tiffany Tolnay scored a 9.85.

On beam the Gym Dogs finished with a 49.2 as Courtney Kupets tied for second place with a 9.875. Ericksen scored a 9.85 in the leadoff position and Childs, Tolnay and Katie Heenan all posted 9.825s.

Georgia's 98.525 after two events led the meet.

The Gym Dogs exploded on the floor exercise for their third event, ending with the nation's best score of 49.6. Five gymnasts finished with a 9.9 or better including Ashley Kupets (9.9), Tolnay (9.9), Ericksen (9.95), Heenan (9.925) and Courtney Kupets (9.925).

For Ericksen her 9.95 tied a career high and tied for first place overall.

Georgia wrapped up the championship on vault with a 49.15, highlighted by Ericksen's 9.925, tying her career high. Courtney Kupets scored a 9.85 and Tolnay added a 9.825.

Ericksen's scores earned her a victory in the individual all-around with a season-high 39.625. Courtney Kupets finished third at 39.55 and Tiffany Tolnay had a 39.4 to place in a tie for fifth.

Georgia's 15 conference titles are more than all other teams in the league combined (11).

All-SEC honors are handed out for individuals who finish with one of the top two scores on each apparatus or one of the top six scores in the all-around. Georgia's representatives on this year's All-SEC squad are Ericksen, Courtney Kupets, Heenan and Tolnay.

Georgia is off next week and will host the NCAA Southeast Regional competition on April 8 at 6 p.m. in Stegeman Coliseum.

FINAL TEAM SCORES

Georgia 197.275

Alabama 196.975

Florida 196.275

LSU 195.9

Auburn 194.975

Arkansas 194.65

Kentucky 191.15


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