Thrice is Nice: Gym Dawgs win NCAAs

SALT LAKE CITY – The Georgia Gym Dogs proved they were the team to beat in the Super Six, though no one else could surpass their 197.850 as the Gym Dogs notched the highest score of the finals to threepeat as NCAA Champions in women's gymnastics Friday night at Utah's Huntsman Center.

Tied with Utah in first place through two events, the Gym Dogs posted marks of 9.900 or better in nine of their last 11 routines to widen the lead and take the program's eighth national title and third in a row. No team has accomplished a threepeat in women's gymnastics since Utah won five straight in the 1980s.

Georgia's 197.850 was its second highest mark of the year and also the highest score any Gym Dogs team has posted in an NCAA Championship final since the 1993 team scored a 198.00. It is the fourth highest of any National Champion in the Super Six finals since current format was implemented in 1993.

Georgia's eight national titles as a program trail only Utah's nine. All of Georgia's 2007 Championship scores came from freshmen, sophomores and juniors with no seniors competing in the meet.

Following the Gym Dogs in the Super Six were host Utah (197.250), Florida (197.225), UCLA (196.925), Stanford (196.825) and Nebraska (195.975).

Georgia cemented the win with a season-high-tying 49.525 on vault in the final rotation, also tied for the highest score on that event for any team in the country in 2007. Georgia set that record in Thursday's NCAA prelims. The Gym Dogs completed their season with a final record of 31-2-1. Both of the losses came to teams Georgia beat in the Super Six on Friday in Florida and UCLA.

The Gym Dogs sat out the first rotation of competition while Florida and Stanford took a two-way lead on beam and vault, respectively, with a 49.225.

Georgia went to bars for its first event in the second rotation and came up with 49.425 to lead all teams with one event score. Three Gym Dogs scored 9.90s in Marcia Newby, Tolnay and Courtney Kupets. For Newby, that mark was a career-high. Grace Taylor added a 9.875 while Nikki Childs and Heenan both notched 9.850s.

The Gym Dogs followed on beam, where Courtney McCool's career-best 9.950 paced them to a 49.325. Heenan followed with a 9.900 while Taylor and Courtney Kupets both added 9.850s.

After three rotations and all teams posting scores for two events, Georgia and Utah tied for the lead with 98.750s. Florida trailed by only two-tenths at 98.55. The Gators posted a 49.400 on vault while both the Gym Dogs and the Utes sat out with a bye in the fourth rotation.

Georgia opened floor with a fall, but the next five competitors recovered with marks of 9.900 or better, including a 9.950 by Courtney Kupets. Tolnay's 9.925 and 9.90s by Taylor, Heenan and McCool gave the Gym Dogs a team score of 49.575, their third highest tally on that event this season.

Nebraska (195.975) and UCLA (196.925) had already finished competition, while Georgia led the teams still competing with a 148.325 headed to the finals rotation of competition.

It was there Georgia sealed its third straight national title with a 49.525 on the vault.

Georgia will have six gymnasts participating in the NCAA individual finals Saturday at 9 p.m. ET. Courtney Kupets will compete on all four events and Tolnay will be on vault and floor. Both Dowlen and Newby will go on vault, while Heenan (bars) and Taylor (beam) will compete as well.

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