Georgia gymnastics

Gymnastics at the University of Georgia


Alabama in the Season Opener

January 12, 2018

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It has been a sad period for many people in Athens, Georgia, especially for the Gymdogs team and for many Gymdogs fans. Everyone reading this probably knows what I’m talking about. There was some concern about the team having a 15-15 won-lost record, but … well, let me reproduce the short Associated Press article that appeared in newspapers nation-wide:

It is easy to understand the sadness that Danna and many of the Gymdogs must be feeling. Greg McGarity’s decision, however, probably is irreversible, so the obvious question is: What now? I have two major hopes: (1) I hope that — in alphabetical order — Gigi Marino, Rachel Dickson, Sabrina Vega, Sydney Snead, and Vivi Babalis each will stay the course. It would be a blessing to have them with us next season. And: (2) I hope that Athletic Director Greg McGarity will consult with Suzanne Yoculan about what qualities a new gymnastics Head Coach should have. Also, talking with Courtney Kupets (Carter) probably would be worthwhile. As highly intelligent, knowledgeable, and accomplished “insiders,” both probably would have insights that others would not. What differentiates a K.J. Kindler from others who have not had her level of success, and how does one recognize those qualities?

§ § §

The Tradition of Georgia Gymnastics

“In her four years as a GymDog from 2006 to 2009, with one season missed due to injury, Courtney Kupets Carter won four team national championships, eight SEC event championships, nine individual NCAA titles and was a 15-time All-American. She was Team MVP in 2006 and 2009, and won the Honda Award in 2007 and 2009. Kupets Carter holds the distinction for being the first gymnast to win individual championships in all four events and the all-around title.”

“In collegiate gymnastics, no program boasts more excellence, consistency and rich tradition over a span of a quarter century than the University of Georgia. The woman behind the success is Suzanne Yoculan Leebern, who spent 26 years as the GymDogs coach. From 1984 - 2009, she guided Georgia to an NCAA-best 10 National Championships (including the last five in a row), 16 Southeastern Conference titles and 22 NCAA Regional crowns. Nineteen times, Yoculan Leebern led her team to either an SEC title, an NCAA title or both. In 2010, Yoculan Leebern was inducted into the State of Georgia Sports Hall of Fame.”

                            — UGA Gymnastics

2018 Gymdogs Roster
Gymnast Class Hometown
Jasmine Arnold SR Murfreesboro, TN
Vivi Babalis SR Montreal, QC
Caroline Bradford JR Prairieville, LA
Gracie Cherrey JR Woodbury, MN
Rachel Dickson SO Canton, MI
Ashley Foss FR Tobacco, NJ
Lauren Johnson SR Atlanta, GA
Gigi Marino SR Scottsdale, AZ
Madison McPherson FR Watkinsville, GA
Marissa Oakley FR Huntersville, NC
Jordyn Pedersen SO Burlington, ON
Hayley Sanders SR McKinney, TX
Emily Schild FR Huntersville, NC
Sydney Snead JR Raleigh, NC
Natalie Vaculik SR Whitby, ON
Sabrina Vega SO Carmel, NY

Gymdogs 2018 Competition Schedule1
Date Opponent / Event Location Time (ET)
Regular Season Including the SEC Championships
01/12/18 Alabama Tuscaloosa, AL 8:00 p.m.
01/15/18 Oklahoma Athens, GA 7:00 p.m.
01/19/18 Auburn Athens, GA 7:00 p.m.
01/26/18 Arkansas Fayetteville, AR 8:00 p.m.
02/03/18 Missouri Athens, GA 7:00 p.m.
02/09/18 Kentucky Lexington, KY 8:00 p.m.
02/16/18 Florida Athens, GA 7:00 p.m.
02/23/18 LSU Athens, GA 7:00 p.m.
03/02/18 Illinois, Nebraska,
Augusta, GA 7:00 p.m.
03/10/18 Boise State Athens, GA 7:00 p.m.
03/17/18 Utah Salt Lake City, UT 9:00 p.m.
03/24/18 SEC Championships St. Louis, MO TBD
NCAA Post Season Competitions
04/07/18 NCAA Regional TBD 4:00 p.m.
04/20/18 NCAA Prelims St. Louis, MO TBD
04/21/18 NCAA Super Six St. Louis, MO 9:00 p.m.

1Some times may need to be adjusted. When a TV
network agrees to televise a meet, they may require
a time that fits well with the rest of their schedule.
§ § §

Courtney Kupets Carter

A brief account of the new UGA gymnastics staff follows: 5/9/2017 — Courtney Kupets Carter named the new UGA Head Gymnastics Coach; 5/26/2017 — Charlie Tamayo added as a Gym Dog Assistant Coach; 5/31/2017 — Josh Overton added as an Assistant Coach; and 6/26/2017 — Heather Stepp McCormick named Director of Gymnastics Administration. In addition Doug Contaoi (Athletic Trainer) and Heather Wallace (Administrative Associate) are in important possions.

Except for Heather Wallace, these are new members of the gymnastics staff. Each has very strong credentials. I’m looking forward to seeing the team in action!

In women’s collegiate gymnastics, the season runs from early January to the middle of April. As this is written, we have entered the off-season. Therefore, this webpage will hibernate for a while. Any notable news will be reported, but otherwise this webpage will be dormant.

Over the Years:
2016-2017 Season
2015-2016 Season
2014-2015 Season
2013-2014 Season
2012-2013 Season
2011-2012 Season
2010-2011 Season
2009-2010 Season
2008-2009 Season
2007-2008 Season

Of some interest to persons who may visit this webpage, I’ve included summaries of Georgia gymnastics competitions over the last ten seasons, which makes this site practically unique in providing historical context for better understanding Georgia’s national championships during that period, and their more recent efforts to get back to that level of performance, especially changes that have occurred during the previous five years. Between season 2011-12 and season 2016-17 there has been a modest resurgence; and a goal for next season, of course, will be to continue that resurgence.

Signees for the 2018 - 2019 Academic Year

Samantha Davis | Cranford, N.J. | North Stars
Samantha Davis, who trains at North Star Gymnastics, was a part of the 2017 All-Star Region 7 gymnastics winning team in Peru. In 2016 she was the Level 10 Floor National Champion with a 9.825 and finished fourth overall. Additionally, she was a member of the 2016 and 2017 Junior Olympics National team.

Rachael Lukacs | Hillsborough, N.J. | North Stars
Rachel Lukacs finished first and second all-around at the 2016 and 2017 Nastia Liukin Cup, respectively. Lukacs also competed at the Junior Olympic National Championships in 2016 and 2017. In 2016 she finished first in all-around, vault, and tied for first on floor, in addition to placing second on beam and seventh on bars. In 2017, she finished tied for fourth in all-around, tied for fifth on beam and floor, and seventh on vault. Lukacs was a part of the 2017 All-Star Region 7 gymnastics winning team in Peru, along with fellow signee, Samantha Davis.

Mikayla Magee | League City, Texas | Pearland Elite
Mikayla Magee comes to Georgia after finishing top-10 in all-around, beam, vault, and floor at the 2017 Junior Olympic Nationals. She finished third all-around and on bars, and second on vault at the 2017 Level 10 Regionals. She also qualified for the Nastia Liukin Cup in 2017 and the 2016 Junior Olympic Nationals.

Megan Roberts | Toronto, Canada | East York
Megan Roberts was the first alternate to the Canadian Olympic team for the 2016 Olympic Games. She finished eighth on beam and second on floor at the 2017 Gym Nix Senior Cup. In 2016, she finished second all-around, third on floor, and eighth on bars at Elite Canada.

Measuring Gymnastics Performance More Accurately

Is a 9.850 on vault today the same as a 9.850 on vault ten years ago? The answer is NO! Every few years, the NCAA makes significant changes in the code used to score women’s gymnastics. The Women’s NCAA Gymnastics Modifications are currently due for another update. One modification that has some support is for the NCAA to simply adopt the USA Gymnastics Level 10 Code of Points in its entirety. It’s well known by the judges, the coaches, and the athletes. Moreover, compared to the current NCAA code, the skills are better defined and more precise. Adopting the Level 10 Code of Points would help to reduce the overly-large number of “ties” we currently see in NCAA meets.

If we go back in time a generation or so, the collegiate code was indeed borrowed from the Level 10 code. Since then, however, there have been many changes. At first the changes were intended to loosen up the scoring standards, making collegiate gymnastics scores considerably higher than Level 10 scores. More recently, the changes sometimes have increased the average scores, and sometimes have decreased the average scores. That is true for vault, bars, beam, and floor. Committees make scoring code modifications, and those affect scores.

Since the absolute value of a score (e.g., 9.850) depends in part on the decisions of a committee, not merely on the performance of a gymnast, there are times when we would like to replace the absolute value of a score with the comparative value of that score: how good is (say) an uneven bars score in comparison with the average uneven bars scores obtained by the relevant pool of athletes?

Individual RQSs and Percentile Rank

In many areas where performance matters, if you know that your score is, say, in the 90th percentile, that means you did better than 90% of the people who also performed in that area. That is more meaningful than just giving your average score or your RQS. Can we translate individual RQSs into percentile ranks? Yes. The most commonly used formula is the following:

C𝓁 + 0.5 f𝒾

Percentile Rank = ————— × 100%


In that formula, c𝓁 is the number of scores that are less than the score of interest; f𝒾 is the frequency of the score of interest; and N is the total number of scores that are relevant.

Let’s consider Gigi Marino’s percentile rank on the floor exercise. Her floor-RQS is 9.930. There are 458 collegiate gymnasts that have floor-RQSs that are lower than hers. She and four other gymnasts are tied at 9.930, i.e., the frequency of the score of interest is 5. And the total number of gymnasts who have floor-RQSs is 471.

Let’s now put those numbers into the formula. The numerator of the fraction is 458 + (0.5 × 5), which is 460.5. When that is divided by 471, we get 0.9777. And multiplying that number by 100 gives us a percentile rank of ≈ 97.8% — a percentile rank near the top. The beauty of percentile rank is that it tells us how an athlete has performed relative to the performances of others in a pool of performers in that event. That is more meaningful than a measure of performance that stands alone, without any comparisons to help us interpret it.

It might be added that if the NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Scoring Committee were to change the scoring code so that scores were increased by (say) 10% — or decreased by 10% or any other percentage — the percentile ranks would remain exactly the same. And that’s how it should be.

I wish you blessings.
Have a great day!

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