GYM DAWGS WIN NATIONAL TITLE

CORVALLIS, OR - The Gym Dogs completed a perfect season at the Women's Gymnastics Championships on Friday night with a score of 197.75, the team's highest since winning last year's national title.

For Georgia (36-0) it is the second time in program history to complete back-to-back NCAA championship seasons (also in 1998-99) and the fourth time to finish undefeated. Georgia is the only program in NCAA history with an undefeated national title season.

To win the title Georgia had to outlast second-place Utah (196.8) and Alabama (196.725), which both put up impressive performances. The Gym Dogs only led the Crimson Tide by .025 entering the final rotation.

Florida (196.275) placed fourth followed by Nebraska (196.175) and Iowa State (194.725).

"I want to first congratulate Alabama and Utah," said Georgia head coach Suzanne Yoculan. "I love the fact that they came after us. We had to perform tonight and have our best meet to win – and that's what we did. They were right on our heels the whole way.

"This team is very special. We set a goal at the beginning of the year to go undefeated. I'm so proud to have this national title and the fourth undefeated season. It just shows the work ethic and focus this team had. It was a total team effort," Yoculan said.

It was the vaulting event in the final rotation that helped the Gym Dogs pull away at the end of the competition. The team score of 49.65 is the highest in at least three years. In that rotation Courtney Kupets (9.975) and Kelsey Ericksen (9.95) had career highs while Megan Dowlen (9.875) tied her career best in the leadoff spot. Tiffany Tolnay had a 9.95 as the anchor and Katie Heenan and Ashley Kupets added a 9.9 and 9.85, respectively.

Georgia started the night by tying its season high on the uneven bars of 49.475 which it set in a meet at Auburn on Feb. 24. Ericksen tied her season best of 9.95, Heenan scored a 9.925 and Courtney Kupets had a 9.9. Nikki Childs and Tolnay finished with a pair of 9.85s.

In Georgia's second rotation, the team fought off a fall in the first spot of the order to score a 49.2. Courtney Kupets led the Gym Dogs with a 9.95, tying her career high for the second consecutive night. Heenan anchored with a 9.9. Tolnay scored a 9.85 and Childs had a 9.8, while Audrey Bowers posted a 9.7.

When all teams had completed two events Georgia trailed Alabama 98.775 – 98.675. Alabama started its meet on the floor and vault.

On the floor the Gym Dogs moved into the lead by .025 over Alabama with a score of 49.425. Ericksen was the high scorer with a career-high 9.95 and Courtney Kupets had a 9.925. Ashley Kupets tied her season high at 9.9 and Abby Stack finished with a 9.85. Tiffany Tolnay rounded out the five counting scores with a 9.8.

Courtney Kupets was the high all-arounder for the second consecutive night with a score of 39.75. Courtney's vault score (9.975) was also a meet high and she tied for first on the balance beam with Utah's Ashley Postell at 9.95. Ericksen won the bars and floor events.

On Saturday five Georgia gymnasts will compete in the individual finals competition which begins at 10 p.m. ET. Childs is entered in the balance beam event, Ericksen will compete on floor, Heenan will be on bars, Courtney Kupets is slated to compete on beam, bars and floor, and Tolnay will be on vault and beam.


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