One More Makes Four: Gym Dawgs win again...

ATHENS - The Georgia gymnastics team once again proved to be the best in the country as the Gym Dogs won their fourth straight national title with a 197.450 Friday at the Super Six held at Stegeman Coliseum.

Georgia is now tied with Utah with nine NCAA titles and is the first team to win four straight titles since the Utes ran off a string of five consecutive championships from 1982-86.

Georgia's 197.450 was its fifth highest score in the Super Six.

"I can't say enough about this team," Georgia head coach Suzanne Yoculan said. "They just get it. They know what it takes to win at the highest level and under extreme pressure, and proved that again tonight.

"This senior class will leave Georgia with four titles in four years," she continued. "Not many athletes in any sport get to accomplish that, but these girls have deserved everything they've gotten. They are the kind of gymnasts that make being a coach worth it."

Utah finished second with a 197.125 followed by Stanford (196.750), Florida (196.700), LSU (196.350) and Alabama (196.125) to round out the field.

The Gym Dogs opened the competition on floor, the same rotation they used to win the SEC Championship. Georgia's 49.475 was its highest score of the four postseason meets. Katie Heenan led the team with a 9.95 while Cassidy McComb and Tiffany Tolnay both posted 9.900s.

Georgia scored a 49.225 on vault in the second rotation behind McComb's 9.900, her highest vault of the postseason. The freshman also matched the 9.900 she scored on floor in last night's prelims

After a bye in the third rotation, Georgia led with a 98.700 at the midway point, ahead of Stanford's 98.400 and Utah's 98.375.

Georgia had a few miscues on bars from All-Americans Heenan and Grace Taylor, but McComb and Courtney McCool both stepped up, tying career-best 9.900 and 9.925 marks, respectively as the Gym Dogs scored a 49.375.

"Leading off on the floor exercise was the difference for us tonight," Yoculan said. It was a great rotation and really set the pace for the night. We had people step up in critical situations. It was close all night but after bars we knew that we were close to victory."

Georgia cemented the title on beam in the fifth rotation with a 49.375. Heenan and McCool wrapped up the rotation for the Gym Dogs with scores of 9.950 and 9.900, respectively.

Entering the sixth rotation, Georgia led Utah by a margin of 49.675 and Stanford by 49.825. In the final rotation the Utes posted a 49.350 on bars and the Cardinal scored a 49.125 on vault, not enough to dethrone the Gym Dogs.

Georgia has now won 24 of its last 33 NCAA meets dating back to 1998. In the last four years, the Gym Dogs have finished first at every session - Prelims and Super Finals.

"I love this place," said Heenan. "When we first came here, we didn't know what we were getting into. It has been a great ride and I think tonight was a culmination of all four years. I think we left there tonight without a doubt in anyone's mind that we should have won. This is what we have all dreamed of and we accomplished it. It's been amazing."

Yoculan also passed the 800 win mark in Friday's Super Six. She is now 804-166-7 in 25 years at Georgia.

"It was a storybook ending...a fairy tale and a dream come true," senior Audrey Bowers said. "To win four in a row is amazing, but this year we couldn't have asked for anything more. Our team fought to the end. No one gave up. This group is all about the team. There are no 'I's' on this team. It was amazing tonight."

Georgia will have seven gymnasts participating in the NCAA individual finals Saturday at 6 p.m. ET. Heenan and Tolnay will compete on all four events. Marcia Newby will go on vault, Nikki Childs on bars, Taylor on bars and beam, and McComb and McCool will compete on floor.

SCORING

Team Competition

1. Georgia - 197.450 (VT - 49.225; UB - 49.375; BB - 49.375; FX - 49.475)
2. Utah - 197.125 (VT - 49.400; UB - 49.350; BB - 49.100; FX - 49.275)
3. Stanford - 196.750 (VT - 49.125; UB - 49.225; BB - 49.175; FX - 49.225)
4. Florida - 196.700 (VT - 49.400; UB - 49.050; BB - 48.850; FX - 49.400)
5. LSU - 196.350 (VT - 49.225; UB - 49.200; BB - 48.800; FX - 49.125)
6. Alabama - 196.125 (VT - 49.100; UB - 49.075; BB - 48.425; FX - 49.525)


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