ESPY Award winner Maya Moore
Los Angeles, CA (July 19, 2009).— The 2009 ESPY Award for Best Female College Athlete went to Maya Moore, Connecticut (Women’s Basketball). The other finalists were Kerri Hanks, Notre Dame (Women’s Soccer), Courtney Kupets, Georgia (Women’s Gymnastics), Danielle Lawrie, Washington (Women’s Softball), and Dana Vollmer, California (Women’s Swimming). Hosted by actor Samuel L. Jackson, the awards ceremony actually took place on Wednesday evening, July 15, at Los Angeles’ Nokia Theatre, where it was taped for official airing on the following Sunday (July 19). Begun by cable sports channel ESPN in 1993, the annual ESPY Awards allows sports fans worldwide to join in, voting online for their favorites in such categories as Best Male Athlete, Best Female Athlete, Best Coach/Manager, and Team of the Year.
Moore had earlier been selected as the 2009 John Wooden Award winner after leading Connecticut to an undefeated season and the NCAA National Championship. In the category of Best US Female Olympian, gymnast Shawn Johnson got the most votes, the other finalists being Natalie Coughlin (swimming), Dawn Harper (track & field), and Nastia Liukin (gymnastics).
Congratulations to all the winners and nominees for their consistently superior athletic performances!
This page is about the University of Georgia’s women’s gymnastics team, including 2009 dual meet results, tournament results, gymnastics photos, and articles. If you are a Gym Dog fan, you might find this little portion of cyberspace worth viewing from time to time. I hope that you will have a nice visit!
Row 1: Courney McCool, Tiffany Tolnay, Hilary Mauro, Gina Nuccio,
and Grace Taylor. Row 2: Lauren Johnson, Marcia Newby, Lauren
Sessler, Cassidy McComb, and Paige Burns. Row 3: Mariel Box,
Kathryn Ding, Abby Stack, Amber Trani, and Courtney Kupets.
Lincoln, Nebraska.— Jenny Hansen, a former University of Kentucky gymnast and a 13-time all-American, dominated her competition, winning eight individual NCAA gymnastics championships titles. She is the first and only woman to win three straight NCAA all-around titles (1993, 94, 95), and she also captured NCAA individual titles on the balance beam (1994, 1995), vault (1994, 1995), and floor exercise (1995). Gym Dog fans may recall that, as a member of a non-qualifying team, she went through the rotations of a preliminary session with the Gym Dogs at the 1995 NCAA Championships.
Gym Dog All-Americans Grace Taylor,
Kathryn Ding, Tiffany Tolnay, Courtney
McCool, and Courtney Kupets
If anyone thought that Jenny Hansen’s accomplishments would never be matched, however, Georgia’s Courtney Kupets put that thought to rest this spring. Kupets is now a 15-time all-American with nine NCAA gymnastics championships titles. On Saturday, April 18, 2009 she captured the bars and beam titles outright, shared the floor title, and (if that’s not enough) shared third place on vault. Two days earlier, the former US Olympian had captured her third NCAA all-around title. Making her totals even more remarkable, she missed the 2008 NCAA Championships with a torn Achilles tendon, meaning that her accomplishments were made in three seasons rather than the usual four — and following a serious injury that might have driven less determined athletes into retirement.
Besides Courtney Kupets’ individual achievements, Georgia’s Courtney McCool captured second place on the beam, scoring just behind her teammate. Tiffany Tolnay (vault and floor) and Grace Taylor (bars and beam) also were scheduled to compete for individual titles, but Tiffany Tolnay’s season-long foot injury flared up, forcing her to withdraw, while Grace Taylor re-injured her ankle on her bars routine, causing her to withdraw from the beam competition.
Lincoln, Nebraska.— The Gym Dogs powered to their fifth consecutive NCAA team title on Friday night during the Super Six Team Finals at the Bob Devaney Sports Center in Lincoln, Nebraska. Courtney Kupets posted perfect 10’s on bars and vault to lead the Gym Dogs to their 10th NCAA title in the history of Georgia gymnastics.
Alabama finished second, Utah took third, and Florida finished fourth. Arkansas, which made its first Super Six appearance, managed a fifth-place finish, ahead of LSU in sixth-place. Notably, the Utah Utes were the only team in the Super Six finals that was not a member of the Southeastern Conference. No Big 10 team, no Big 12 team, and no PAC-10 team qualified for the finals.
On Thursday, Georgia’s Courtney Kupets (right) won the individual all-around title with a 39.800, including a perfect 10 on balance beam. Kupets became just the second three-time NCAA All-Around champion in history. Utah’s Kristina Basket finished second with a 39.600, while UCLA’s Vanessa Zamarripa placed third with a 39.575.
The NCAA Championships will conclude Saturday evening when the individual events finals take place. The competition for individual national championships will begin at 6:00 PM (7:00 PM Eastern Time). Georgia qualified three athletes for the vault final, three for the bars final, three for the beam final, and two for the floor final.
Lincoln, Nebraska.— In the afternoon session, held at 1:00 PM local time, the teams advancing to the Super Six were Georgia, Florida, and LSU. In the evening session, held at 7:00 PM local time, the teams advancing to the Super Six were Alabama, Arkansas, and Utah. After the final routines of the evening, Utah and UCLA appeared to be in a dead heat for the final spot in the Super Six competition; however, the NCAA uses a tie-breaker rule that involves counting all six routines in each of the four events and recomputing the team scores of the teams in question. Following that rule, Utah emerged as the third-place finisher in the evening session.
Tiffany Tolnay garnered 4 more
All-American honors, bringing
her career total to a
Besides deciding the lineup for the Super Six, the preliminary sessions also decide the individual all-around competition. Forty-seven athletes took part in this competition for first- and second-team All-American honors. Below is a listing of the top finishers amoung the 47 gymnasts who competed. In terms of Regional Qualifying Score (RQS) from the regular season, the top two all-arounders in the nation were Georgia’s Courtney Kupets and Utah’s Kristina Baskett; these same two athletes finished first and second, respectively, at the NCAA Championships.
Not too surprisingly, seven of the top ten finishers were from the evening session, only three from the afternoon session. This is a pattern that we find year after year. For whatever psychological reasons, the judging tends to become a little more forgiving as the competition goes on. This has little or no effect on which teams advance to the Super Six, but it does affect the competition for All-American honors in the individual all-around. Be that as it may, Gym Dogs Courtney Kupets and Tiffany Tolnay both made First Team All-American, Tiffany Tolnay being sixth in the combined-sessions listing.
|Place||Gymnast and School||Score|
|01||Courtney Kupets, Georgia||39.8000|
|02||Kristina Baskett, Utah||39.6000|
|03||Vanessa Zamarripa, UCLA||39.5750|
|04||Ariana Berlin, UCLA||39.5250|
|04||Michelle Stout, Arkansas||39.5250|
|06||Tiffany Tolnay, Georgia||39.5000|
|07||Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs, UCLA||39.4750|
|08||Ricki Lebegern, Alabama||39.4500|
|08||Ashley Priess, Alabama||39.4500|
|08||Maranda Smith, Florida||39.4500|
|11||Mandi Rodriguez, Oregon St||39.4000|
|11||Daria Bijak, Utah||39.4000|
|11||Nina Kim, Utah||39.4000|
|11||Susan Jackson, LSU||39.4000|
Update.— Regarding the tendency for the judging to become a little more forgiving as the Championships wear on, seven of the first-team All-Americans in the all-around also did the all-around in the Super Six competition a day later, three from the afternoon preliminary session, four from the evening preliminary session. Anyone who wants details can do the calculations from the data given; suffice it to say that the all-around scores were higher on the final night of team competion, but this was especially true for those athletes who competed in the first preliminary session, who would have been most affected by the stricter early judging.
Raleigh, NC (April 4, 2009).— North Carolina State University hosted the 2009 NCAA Southeast Regional Championships, which were held in Reynolds Coliseum on the NC State campus. The participants were Georgia, NC State, Nebraska, North Carolina, Penn State, and West Virginia, plus several individual athletes from non-qualifying teams.
Georgia had a very good night, scoring 197.700, which not only won the Southeast Regional, but which also should give them the top seed at the NCAA Team Championship. Penn State took a surprising second, edging Nebraska 195.800 to 195.450. NC State’ Taylor Seaman of NC State won the floor exercise with a career-high tying 9.950 to advance to the NCAA Championships as an individual, even though her team did not advance.
For the 26th straight year, Georgia advanced to the NCAA Championship, which this year will be held in Lincoln, Nebraska, on April 16-18. Penn State qualified for the first time since 2005 with a 195.800.
The Gym Dogs will be seeking to send Head Coach Suzanne Yoculan out with a record-setting 10th NCAA Championship in less than two weeks. As much as Saturday was redemption for Georgia after losing the Southeastern Conference Championship to Alabama, it also was the next step toward winning their fifth straight national title.
The Gym Dogs started the competition on a bye and then recorded a 49.225 on the floor exercise. Courtney Kupets anchored the event with a team-best 9.900. Cassidy McComb scored a 9.875; Grace Taylor hit a 9.850; and Abby Stack and Hilary Mauro each scored a 9.800. This was a slow start by Gym Dog standards, but it put them in contention.
Georgia refocused on its second event with a season-best 49.525 on vault. After a near-flawless vault at the SEC Championship two weeks ago, Courtney Kupets achieved perfection Saturday, being awarded the fifth 10.0 of her career, her first ever on vault. Hilary Mauro had a 9.850; Lauren Sessler had a 9.800; Cassidy McComb and Tiffany Tolnay each added a 9.900; and Marcia Newby had a 9.875.
Courtney McCool, who would be competing on the last two events — bars and beam — was restless. Watching the vaulters gave her the itch to compete even more. “I was anxious to get out there because I had been waiting for six hours,” she said. She went on to score a 9.875 on bars and a 10.0 of her own on the beam. The 10 on beam was her second this year, even though she’s been sidelined for much of the season with a foot injury.
Georgia totaled a 49.400 on bars, led by Courtney Kupets’ 9.925 and Grace Taylor’s 9.900. Gina Nuccio and Kathryn Ding added 9.850s to round out the counting scores on their third event, putting them in complete control of the competition.
Yet their nemesis at the SEC Championships still remained: the balance beam. At this point, the focus was not on beating Penn State or Nebraska; it was on scoring well on the beam, where they had put themselves into a deep hole two weeks earlier. They matched a season-best 49.550. Both Hilary Mauro and Cassidy McComb, who at the SECs had fallen off the beam, scored 9.875s to give the Gym Dogs a solid start. Tiffany Tolnay and Grace Taylor each scored 9.900s and Courtney McCool capped off the night with a 10.
Courtney Kupets won the individual all-around title for the 12th time in 13 meets with a score of 39.675. Penn State’s Brandi Personett was second with a 39.350 and Georgia’s Tiffany Tolnay was third with a 39.300.
Looking ahead, at the NCAA Team Championship, Utah and Alabama are going to be very tough opponents. Although Georgia defeated both teams early in the season in dual meets, Alabama handed the Gym Dogs their only defeat of the season at the Southeastern Conference Championships two weeks ago; and Utah has been dominating their opponents in the last month of the dual meet season. Florida and L.S.U. also won their regional competitions, as did Arkansas.
Nashville, TN.— Performing in front of a crowd of 5,045 fans at Nashville’s Sommet Center, the Gym Dogs got off to a shaky start, but then they bounced back to score a team total of 196.925 and finish as the runner-up to the Alabama Crimson Tide’s winning score of 197.300. Alabama hit 23 of 24 routines and did not have to count a fall or other major deduction, whereas Georgia hit 22 of 24 routines, having two falls off the beam, and thus having to count a 0.500 deduction. Florida (196.750) finished third; LSU (196.550) finished fourth; Auburn (196.350) finished fifth; Arkansas (195.650) finished sixth; and Kentucky (195.000) finished seventh.
Georgia’s Courtney Kupets won the individual all-around title and was named the SEC Gymnast of the Year, while Georgia Head Coach Suzanne Yoculan was named SEC Coach of the Year. The Gym Dogs are now 17-1-0 on the season.
“We did enough to win on three events, but we didn’t do enough on beam,” said Coach Yoculan in a post-meet interview. “You can’t make the mistakes we made on beam and [then catch up] in a championship event. You make mistakes like that and you pay the price. The good news is that we showed a lot of fight and a lot of fortitude the rest of the meet, and I am sure we can come back stronger at the NCAAs. We’re not done yet, that’s for sure.”
Georgia’s next competition will be in the NCAA Southeast Regional on Saturday, April 4, at 6:00 PM Eastern Time.
Athens, GA.— Led by a perfect 10.0 from Grace Taylor, the Georgia gymnastics team won a decisive victory on Senior Night over the #14-ranked Michigan Wolverines at Stegeman Coliseum. Performing in front of a home crowd of 10,225, the Gym Dogs posted a 197.400 to 195.825 victory.
Georgia opened with a season-high 49.475 on vault, with Lauren Sessler and Hilary Mauro’s 9.850s starting off the meet. Cassidy McComb led the Gym Dogs with a 9.950; Tiffany Tolnay added a 9.925; and Courtney Kupets had a 9.900. Michigan started with a 49.100 on bars, led by Tatjana Thuener-Rego’s 9.875.
In the second rotation, Georgia had a strong performance on the uneven bars, scoring a 49.525, which proved to be its highest event score of the evening. The Gym Dogs got a 9.850 from Kathryn Ding to begin and then 9.900s from Courtney McCool and Gina Nuccio. Tiffany Tolnay paced the event with a 9.950 before Courtney Kupets completed it with a 9.925. With the Wolverines posting a 49.175 on vault, Georgia led at the halfway point, 99.000 to 98.275. Notable for the Wolverines’ was Kylee Botterman’s 9.900, but it should also be mentioned that Michigan had only five competitors (not the allowed six), due to injuries to some of their key team members.
Moving to the third rotation and the beam, Georgia got a perfect score of 10.0 from Grace Taylor to lead the Gym Dogs to a 49.200. Hilary Mauro received a 9.825 to begin; Tiffany Tolnay added a 9.900; and Courtney Kupets concluded the rotation with a 9.925. Michigan had a score of 49.250 on floor, led by a 9.900 from Kylee Botterman, to give Georgia a 148.200 to 147.525 lead heading into the final rotation.
The floor exercise opened with back-to-back 9.925s by Hilary Mauro and Grace Taylor. Abby Stack tied a career high with a 9.900, Tiffany Tolnay pitched in with a 9.500 and Georgia also got a 9.950 from Courtney Kupets en route to a 49.200. Michigan, competing on the beam, ended with a 48.300, led by Becky Bernard’s 9.825; however, they had two falls and had to count a 9.300 in their final team score.
Grace Taylor’s 10.0 was her second career perfect score, her first on the balance beam, as her other perfect score was on the uneven bars last March (also on Senior Night) against Iowa State University.
“It was definitely a great meet, but it was not perfect,” Courtney Kupets said in an interview after the meet. “We had some errors, but everything can be fixed if we stay mentally with it. It has been a blast competing here and I have enjoyed every minute of it. Every time I have competed here I have been blessed.” Needless to add, so have the Gym Dog fans.
The Gym Dogs will begin post-season competition with the SEC Championships next Saturday in Nashville, Tennessee, at 5:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time (4:00 PM local time).
Los Angeles, CA.— Courtney McCool didn't need long to achieve perfection. In just her second meet after sitting out the first half of the season with an injury, the Georgia gymnast executed a flawless routine on balance beam, scoring the second 10 of her career and helping top-ranked Georgia to a 197.725 to 196.125 victory over UCLA on Sunday at Pauley Pavilion. It was McCool's first 10 on balance beam, her first one having been on the floor exercise last season.
The Gym Dogs started off the competition strong on uneven bars. Gina Nuccio scored a career-high 9.925 and Courtney Kupets won the event title with a 9.950. After the first rotation, Georgia led 49.425 to 49.375. UCLA was led by Vanessa Zamarripa, who scored a 9.925 in the anchor position on vault.
A week after hitting a career-high 9.900, Hilary Mauro surpassed that Sunday with a 9.950 on vault. The sophomore reached a career-high and a meet-high score after training a Yurchenko 1 1/2 vault for less than a month. Courtney Kupets scored a 9.925 in the anchor position and Georgia totaled a 49.425 on vault. The Gym Dogs led 98.850-98.575 midway through the competition. UCLA suffered a fall on bars when Anna Li fell on her Tkachev and did not finish her routine, scoring a 8.550. While that score did not count, it meant that UCLA had to count a 9.775 by Elise Hopfner-Hibbs.
In the third rotation, while the Gym Dogs cruised to a 49.475 on floor exercise, UCLA fell apart on balance beam, suffering three falls. Scores from Marci Bernholtz (9.325) and Aisha Gerber (9.300) were counted, as Vanessa Zamarripa scored only a 9.250. The Bruins totaled a 48.175 on the beam.
UCLA rebounded in the final rotation, but they were unable to close the gap on the Gym Dogs. Besides Courtney McCool's perfect 10.0 (mentioned above), Georgia received a 9.925 from Hilary Mauro and a 9.850 from Cassidy McComb. Over on the floor, UCLA received 9.925s from Vanessa Zamarripa and Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs, with nothing below 9.825
Courtney Kupets won the individual all-around with a 39.650. UCLA's Ariana Berlin was second with a 39.500; UCLA's Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs was third with a 39.450; and UCLA's Vanessa Zamarripa was fourth with 39.000. The Gym Dogs made the trip without their other main all-arounder, Tiffany Tolnay, who was sick last week and still not at her best.
Georgia will spend the day in Los Angeles today before traveling back to prepare for next Saturday's last home meet and Coach Suzanne Yoculan's final meet in Stegeman Coliseum, as she will retire at the end of the season. The Gym Dogs host Michigan at 7:30 p.m.
Athens, GA.— With sounds of the Rocky theme song, “Gonna Fly Now,” playing in the background, the nationally top-ranked Gym Dogs greeted fans lined along the walls of Stegeman Coliseum, dressed for a fight (red boxing gloves and all, a bit of melodrama). Two hours later, Georgia triumphed with a 198.200-196.650 knockout of #7 ranked Florida.
Georgia’s 198.200 on Saturday is the highest score the program has produced in a decade. In a 1999 tri-meet, the Gym Dogs posted a 198.375. The last time Georgia reached a 198.000 or higher was in a win over Alabama in 2007.
As the home team, the Gym Dogs opened the competition on vault, with the Gators on bars. Georgia set the tone for the rest of the meet as they hit a season-high 49.425, capped by Courtney Kupets’ 9.925 in the anchor position. Three gymnasts scored 9.850s and Tiffany Tolnay notched a season-high 9.900, as did Hilary Mauro. Over on the bars, Florida’s Alicia Goodwin, Maranda Smith, and Melanie Sinclair each posted a 9.875 in leading the Gators to a team score of 49.275.
In the second rotation, Kat Ding and Gina Nuccio started the Gym Dogs off with career-high scores of 9.875 and 9.900, respectively, on the uneven bars. Grace Taylor and Tiffany Tolnay hit 9.900s and Courtney Kupets finished with a near-perfect 9.975, giving the Gym Dogs a season-high team score of 49.550. On vault, Florida showed the effects of injuries to key athletes, including Corey Hartung, arguably their best all-arounder. Competing only five gymnasts, they had to count every score — with six athletes, a team can discard its lowest score. When Courtney Gladys sat down her landing, Florida found itself needing an otherwise strong set of scores to post a team score of 48.625, putting them more than a full point behind the Gym Dogs at the meet’s halfway point.
Moving to the balance beam, Paige Burns (9.850) and Hilary Mauro (9.900) turned in career-high scores to kick-start the Gym Dogs to a season-high 49.550. Former US Olympian Courtney McCool, coming back from a stubborn injury, supplied the Gym Dogs with a 9.950 in her first beam routine of 2009. Tiffany Tolnay added a 9.850; Grace Taylor added a 9.900; and Courtney Kupets equaled Courtney McCool’s score of 9.950. On the floor, Florida’s Melanie Sinclair and Maranda Smith each notched a 9.925 in leading the Gators to a 49.450 team score.
In the final rotation, Georgia attained its highest team score in any event this season: a 49.675. Suffice it to say that Abby Stack (9.900), Marcia Newby (9.925), Hilary Mauro (9.875), Grace Taylor (9.925), Courtney Kupets (10.0), and Tiffany Tolnay (9.925) had hardly a bobble among them. Over on the beam, Florida received a 9.900 from Melanie Sinclair and a pair of 9.875s from Corey Hartung and Amanda Castillo as they notched a team score of 49.300.
Gym Dog Courtney Kupets won the individual all-around with an extremely impressive 39.850. Tiffany Tolnay and the Gators’ Melanie Sinclair tied for second with 39.575s. The Gators’ Amanda Castillo (39.425), Maranda Smith (39.350), and Elizabeth Mahlich (39.200) rounded out the all-around competition.
Next up the Gym Dogs will be a dual meet with UCLA on Sunday, March 8, 2009, in Pauley Pavilion (Los Angeles, California) at 2:00 p.m. PT (5:00 p.m. Eastern Time).
Fayetteville, AR.— In the final rotation, the Gyms Dogs knew that a fall from the beam could easily send them down to defeat for the first time this season. Arkansas had made up some ground in the third rotation, and now Georgia led by only .125 heading into the finale. But let’s back up and try to understand the events leading up to this nail-biting finish.
The #2 ranked Georgia team was well aware that the the #7 ranked Arkansas Razorbacks were going to be a tough opponent, particularly in Barnhill Arena, where they would enjoy an enthusiastic home crowd hoping for an upset.
Arkansas led the meet 49.450 to 49.350 after the first rotation as four straight Razorbacks hit 9.900s on the vault. Georgia, ranked #1 in the nation on uneven bars, was led by Grace Taylor, who tied a season-high 9.925, and Courtney Kupets, who won the event title with a 9.950.
The Gym Dogs moved ahead of Arkansas after a solid vault performance. Lauren Sessler set the tone for the second rotation as she hit a career-high 9.900 as the leadoff competitor. Prior to Friday, she had a season-high of a 9.800 and a career-high of 9.850. Cassidy McComb tied a season-high 9.875, while both Marcia Newby and Tiffany Tolnay tied season-high 9.900s. Even though the Gym Dogs had to count a 9.750 by Kathryn Ding after Courtney Kupets scored a 9.650, her lowest vault score of the season, they scored a season-high event score of 49.325.
Moving to the floor for the third rotation, the Gym Dogs scored their third-lowest floor exercise total this season with a 48.900, while the Razorbacks were scoring 49.000 on the beam to close the already narrow gap. Abby Stack led off on floor with a 9.825. Hilary Mauro followed with a career-high of 9.875, then Cassidy McComb hit a season-high 9.875, and Grace Taylor scored a season-high 9.900. Things were looking good for Georgia. But then Tiffany Tolnay, who had appeared to be on fire during warm-ups, ran into problems that included a fall, scoring only 9.250. In the anchor position, Courtney Kupets also had to count a fall, which even with an otherwise excellent performance left her with a 9.450 and left the Gym Dogs in need of a strong final rotation to win the meet.
Still, Georgia led by .125 heading into the final rotation. Hilary Mauro led off on beam and posted any encouraging 9.875, marginally ahead of Molly Lewis’s 9.850 in the lead-off position for Arkansas on the floor. When Cassidy McComb plummeted to the mat in the second spot, however, the Gym Dogs knew that another fall would cost them the meet. Tiffany Tolnay responded with a 9.900, Grace Taylor scored a 9.950, and Courtney Kupets added a near-perfect 9.975. At this point, the Gym Dogs could still pull out a victory, but it would be necessary for Paige Burns, competing in the anchor position, to stay on the apparatus. Head Coach Suzanne Yoculan instructed her to aim for a clean routine with a score in the 9.7 range. Although she showed a few nervous bobbles, she nonetheless stayed on the apparatus and scored a 9.650. Meanwhile, Arkansas’ Casey Jo Magee was going for broke on the floor and was paying the price, scoring only a 9.050, well below her floor RQS of 9.845.
Arkansas’ Jaime Pisani won the individual all-around with a 39.350. Arkansas’ Sarah Nagashima was second with a 39.175, Georgia Courtney Kupets was third with a 39.000, Georgia’s Tiffany Tolnay was fourth with a 38.900, and Arkansas’ Casey Jo Magee was fifth with a 38.675.
Georgia returns to action on Saturday, February 28, against the Florida Gators in Athens at 4:00 p.m. Currently, Florida is nationally ranked #6 as a team. Melanie Sinclair, Corey Hartung, Maranda Smith, and Amanda Castillo all are highly ranked as individuals, making it apparent that the Gym Dogs must once again bring their A-game. Stay tuned!
Lexington, KY.— The Gym Dogs remained unbeaten in the 2009 season, posting a team score of 196.975 at Kentucky’s Memorial Coliseum to outdistance #29 ranked Kentucky’s 195.150 and #52 ranked Centenary’s 187.350. Georgia improved to 8-0 overall and 4-0 in the SEC.
The Gym Dogs opened with a 49.475 on bars. After Marcia Newby began the scoring with a 9.825, Kathryn Ding and Hilary Mauro each added a 9.850, getting Georgia off to a solid start. Then Grace Taylor scored a 9.925, Tiffany Tolnay posted a 9.900, and Courtney Kupets anchored with a 9.950. Kentucky, starting on vault, was led by Whitney Rose and Jasmine Minion, each of whom scored a 9.825, helping the Wildcats to a 48.975 team score. Centenary College had their problems on beam, ending up with a team score of 45.425.
Moving to the beam for the second rotation, Georgia recorded a 49.175, Courtney Kupets leading the way with a 9.900. Hilary Mauro began with a 9.850; Tiffany Tolnay put in a 9.825; and Cassidy McComb and Grace Taylor each scored a 9.800. On bars, Kentucky was led by Natalie Rubinstein’s 9.825; and on floor, Centenary was led by Courtney Hawkins’ 9.700.
Next rotating to the floor, Abby Stack started for the Gym Dogs, scoring a 9.775. Grace Taylor added a 9.850, followed by Hilary Mauro with a 9.825, Cassidy McComb with a 9.800, and Courtney Kupets with another 9.900 to pace Georgia to a 49.150 team score. Meanwhile, on beam, Kentucky was led by Heather Hite’s 9.800, as the Wildcats accumulated a team score of 48.575. On vault, Centenary received their best score of 9.600 from Alyssa Zawieja.
The Gym Dogs finished the meet on vault, scoring a 49.175. Kathryn Ding’s 9.900 in the second spot was an encouraging, though somewhat unexpected, boost for Georgia, as she had not been a regular part of the Gym Dogs vault lineup this season. Tiffany Tolnay recorded a 9.850, and Courtney Kupets and Marcia Newby each earned a 9.825. Hilary Mauro and Cassidy McComb each posted a 9.775 to round out the scoring for Georgia. Finishing on floor, Emily Green provided Kentucky with a 9.825, to which Heather Hite added a 9.850 and Hillary Ferguson added an impressive 9.900. On bars, Marisa Schneider’s 9.600 was Centenary’s top score.
Gym Dog sophomore Hilary Mauro debuted as an all-around competitor in this meet, finishing an impressive second to Courtney Kupets (39.300 to Kupets’ 39.575). Georgia’s Tiffany Tolnay recorded a 39.250 for third, followed by Kentucky’s Hillary Ferguson (39.050) and Centenary’s Courtney Hawkins (36.700).
Georgia will return to action next Friday at Arkansas.
Athens, GA.— The currently #3 ranked Gym Dogs defeated the #5 ranked Auburn Tigers 197.250 to 195.925 Friday afternoon before a sold-out crowd 10,224 fans in Stegeman Coliseum.
Georgia opened with a 49.250 on vault, with 9.900s by Marcia Newby and Tiffany Tolnay leading the way. The Gym Dogs also got a 9.875 from Courtney Kupets and a 9.825 from Cassidy McComb. Auburn started with a 48.825 on bars, led by Krissy Voss (9.800) and A.J. Mills (9.825).
In the second rotation, Georgia got scores of 9.850 from Marcia Newby, Kathryn Ding, and Courtney Kupets, plus a 9.800s from Grace Taylor and Lauren Sessler, giving them a 49.150 on the uneven bars. The Tigers posted a 49.025 on vault, led by A.J. Mills (9.825) and Lindsey Puckett (9.875). At the halfway point, Georgia had a comfortable but not insurmountable lead of 98.400 to 97.850.
Georgia got a score of 9.975 from Courtney Kupets to lead the Gym Dogs to a 49.475 on the balance beam, their highest event score of the afternoon. Hilary Mauro and Cassidy McComb led off the rotation with 9.825s. Tiffany Tolnay followed with a 9.900 and Grace Taylor earned a 9.950 before Courtney Kupets’ near-perfect performance in the anchor position. Auburn had a score of 49.075 on the floor that included a creative routine by Rachel Inniss, which the judges liked well enough to award it a 9.875.
Moving to the floor exercise for the final rotation, Abby Stack opened for the Gym Dogs with a score of 9.825. Hilary Mauro and Grace Taylor followed with a pair of 9.875s; Cassidy McComb then added a 9.825. In the fifth position, Courtney Kupets scored 9.925, and Tiffany Tolnay anchored with a 9.875, giving the Gym Dogs a team score of 49.375. Auburn ended with a 49.000 on beam, which featured Kylie Shields’ 9.825 and Lindsey Puckett’s 9.875.
Individually, Courtney Kupets won the all-around with a 39.625, followed by Auburn’s Lindsey Puckett with a 39.325 and A.J. Mills with a 39.125. Tiffany Tolnay had to count a fall on bars, but finished with 38.950.
The Gym Dogs will travel to Lexington, Kentucky next Friday to face the University of Kentucky Wildcats and Centenary College at 7:00 PM.
Raleigh, NC.— Although the Gym Dogs easily defeated NC State 195.000 to 193.150 at Reynolds Coliseum in Raleigh, North Carolina, it was a mistake-filled victory. On the positive side, it was the Gym Dogs’ fifth victory of the year, making them 5-0-0 as they wrapped up their first month of competition in the 2009 season. On the less positive side, after moving into the #1 ranking in the nation last week, Georgia dropped into a tie for #3 with Arkansas this week, Utah moving up to #1 and UCLA moving into the #2 spot. Of course, there still are 2½ months to go in the 2009 season.
Georgia began on the bars, where they suffered their first major deduction of the night, although they came out of the rotation with a respectable 49.225 team score, well ahead of NC State’s 48.875. Gina Nuccio scored a 9.850; Abby Stack added a 9.825; Grace Taylor had a strong 9.900; and Courtney Kupets anchored with a 9.925. Over on the vault, NC State received a 9.775 from Taylor Seaman, a 9.825 from Brittney Hardiman, and a 9.850 from Brook Barr.
Moving over to the vault, Georgia had no major deductions, but Lauren Sessler’s 9.750 was their highest score through their first three competitors. At that point, they started to find their rhythm, Cassidy McComb scoring a 9.800, Marcia Newby adding a 9.900, and Courtney Kupets finishing with a 9.950 to give them a team score of 49.125 for the rotation. Over on bars, NC State was having problems, although Taylor Seaman posted a nice 9.825. At the halfway point, Georgia led 98.350 to 96.875, which would turn out to be their largest lead of the evening.
In the third rotation, Georgia was on the floor and NC State was on the beam. Hilary Mauro posted the Gym Dogs’ highest score, a 9.850, but Georgia as a team could only manage a 48.450. Meanwhile, on the beam, NC State posted a team score of 48.575, chipping away at the Gym Dogs’ lead, led by Taylor Seaman’s 9.800.
To conclude the meet, Georgia marched over to the beam, while NC State finished on the floor. NC State again won the rotation, posting a team score of 48.700 to the Gym Dogs’ 48.200. Three falls, two of which had to count, were Georgia’s undoing. Hilary Mauro had a 9.775 to lead Georgia’s first four competitors; however, their last two competitors, Grace Taylor and Courtney Kupets, posted a 9.925 and a 9.975, respectively, salvaging a 48+ team score.
Individually, Georgia’s Courtney Kupets won the all-around with a 39.350, followed by NC State’s Taylor Seaman with a 39.275. The Gym Dogs were without all-arounder Tiffany Tolnay, who sat out the meet to rest a foot injury.
Georgia returns home next Saturday to compete against the Auburn Tigers at 4 p.m. Auburn is coming off a 196.575 to 195.300 victory over LSU and they currently are ranked #5 in the nation.
Athens, GA.— The nationally 4th ranked Georgia gymnastics team received two perfect 10.0s from Courtney Kupets in a win over 9th ranked Alabama Friday night at Stegeman Coliseum. Competing in front of a crowd of 9,938, the Gym Dogs posted a 197.175 to 196.275 victory over the Crimson Tide.
Georgia opened with a 48.975 on vault, with Hilary Mauro’s 9.775 starting off the meet, a score Marcia Newby also achieved. Kupets led the Gym Dogs with a 9.875; Cassidy McComb added a 9.800; and Lauren Sessler had a 9.750. Alabama started with a 49.275 on bars to lead the competition after one rotation.
Behind Kupets’ perfect 10.0 performance, the Gym Dogs scored a season-high 49.525 on the uneven bars. The Gym Dogs got three 9.875s from Newby, Grace Taylor, and Gina Nuccio, and Tiffany Tolnay added a 9.900. With the Crimson Tide posting a 49.075 on vault, Georgia took over the lead, 98.500 to 98.350.
Georgia got another perfect 10.0 score from Courtney Kupets on the beam to lead the Gym Dogs to a season-high 49.475 on this event. Grace Taylor had a career-high 9.975 and Tolnay received a 9.850. Hilary Mauro and Cassidy McComb both added 9.825s. Alabama had a series of miscues on the floor, scoring a relatively low 48.675 to make the overall score 147.975 to 147.025 heading into the final rotation.
Abby Stack opened for the Gym Dogs on the floor exercise with a 9.800, and Grace Taylor followed with an impressive 9.875. Tiffany Tolnay then had a strong 9.900 and Courtney Kupets pitched in with a 9.950 to give Georgia a 49.200. To their credit, though, Alabama did not give up, ending with a strong 49.250 on the balance beam.
“We were really challenged tonight,” said Alabama head coach Sarah Patterson. “We had some difficulty on the floor, and when you are a young team making those mistakes and going up against a team like Georgia, it’s going to be really tough to win.”
The Gym Dogs will face NC State in Raleigh, North Carolina next Friday at 7:00 PM.
Athens, GA.— With the meet on the line, Georgia’s Courtney Kupets gave her team some guidance. “Don’t worry about winning. Let’s just do what we know how to do.” The two-time NCAA all-around champion and former U.S. Olympian eased her teammates’ minds as they went into their last rotation — floor exercise — with the score tied against Utah. With their highest floor exercise score of the season, the fourth-ranked Gym Dogs defeated the third-ranked Utes 197.150 to 196.725 on Monday at Stegeman Coliseum.
“We knew this meet was going to be close,” senior Tiffany Tolnay said. “We absolutely knew that it was going to come down to every tenth. Going into the last rotation, I wasn’t surprised when the announcer said, ‘We have a tie.’ ”
Abby Stack and Hilary Mauro started the Gym Dogs off in the final rotation with 9.875s on floor. Grace Taylor and Cassidy McComb each scored 9.850s, Kupets scored a 9.900 and Tolnay anchored the event with a 9.875 to clinch the win. Mauro’s score was a career-high and came after she fell in her last two competitions. “On somebody else’s floor, you’ve got to assume that they’re going to do a good job and finish strong,” said Utah coach Greg Marsden. “This is what it’s all about — to come into this kind of situation and challenge yourself and see how you perform and hold under the pressure. Their team is always the best, or among the best, so you know you’re going to get a dogfight every time you come.”
Utah led 49.400 to 49.300 after the first rotation. The Utes suffered a fall on uneven bars in the leadoff position from freshman Stephanie McAllister, but managed to hit the rest of their routines. They were led by seven-time All-American Kristina Baskett, who anchored the event with a 9.925. Meanwhile, Georgia tied its highest vault total of the season with a 49.300. Courtney Kupets won the event title with a 9.950 and Tiffany Tolnay anchored the event with a 9.900.
The Gym Dogs took the lead halfway through the competition with a 49.450 uneven bars score, as the Utes were flat on vault — the event where they are ranked first in the nation — with a 49.075. Grace Taylor, Tiffany Tolnay, and Courtney Kupets led the Gym Dogs’ highest bars score of the season with a 9.925, 9.900 and 9.975, respectively.
Beginning the third rotation, Georgia’s leadoff competitor, Paige Burns, fell off the beam. After several more miscues, the Gym Dogs finished with a 49.025, while Utah was accumulating a 49.300 on floor. However, Grace Taylor, the 2008 NCAA balance beam champion, won the beam event title with a season-high 9.900.
Tiffany Tolnay, who competed for the first time this season on floor, closed out the meet with a 9.875. “It was fun. That was the first time for me to compete that floor routine at home,” she said. “It was a lot of excitement and a lot of fun. It’s my favorite floor routine in all the time I’ve been at Georgia.”
Kupets, who is first in the nation in all-around and bars, won three event titles (vault, bars and floor). She shared the floor title with Utah’s Nina Kim and Annie Diluzio. Kupets also won the all-around for the third straight meet — this time with a 39.600. Utah’s Kristina Baskett finished second with a 39.450, and Tiffany Tolnay finished third with a 39.425.
Georgia’s team score was their highest of the season. “It was great because we started off rough,” Hilary Mauro said. “We just keep working our way up there. Just to be able to beat one of the best teams in the country, it only builds our confidence.”
Next up for the Gym Dogs will be the Alabama Crimson Tide, whom the Gym Dogs will host on Friday, January 23, at 7:30 p.m. That should be another hard fought, exciting competition — the Crimson Tide are never an easy opponent!
Baton Rouge, LA.— Led by seniors Tiffany Tolnay and Courtney Kupets, Georgia defeated L.S.U. 196.850 to 195.950 on Friday at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center. Courtney Kupets posted a 39.650 all-around score, with Tiffany Tolnay adding a solid 39.400 in her first all-around outing of the season. The Gym Dogs are now 2-0-0 on the season, 1-0-0 in the always tough Southeastern Conference (SEC).
As the visiting team, Georgia began the evening on the uneven bars, with L.S.U. beginning on the vault. Freshman Gina Nuccio scored 9.825, Grace Taylor added a 9.800, and Tiffany Tolnay added a 9.850. Courtney Kupets anchored with a near-perfect 9.925. Meanwhile, over on the vault, L.S.U was getting off to a solid start, led by Susan Jackson’s 9.850 and Ashleigh Clare-Kearney’s near-perfect 9.950. At the end of the first rotation, L.S.U. led Georgia 49.225 to 49.175.
The Gym Dogs then moved to vault, where they recorded a team score of 49.300, led by Courtney Kupets’ 9.950, Tiffany Tolnay’s 9.900, and Marcia Newby’s 9.850. Over on bars, L.S.U. achieved solid 9.800s from Samantha Engle and Summer Hubbard, Ashleigh Clare-Kearney adding a 9.875. This put Georgia ahead 98.475 to 98.200 at the meet’s halfway point, a lead they would not relinquish.
Moving to the floor exercise, Georgia increased their lead to 147.550 to 147.000 after three rotations, as the Gym Dogs scored a 49.075. Georgia received a 9.875 from Courtney Kupets, a 9.825 from Cassidy McComb, and 9.800s from Tiffany Tolnay and Grace Taylor. Meanwhile, over on the beam, L.S.U. was led by Susan Jackson’s 9.850.
Wanting to finish strong, the Gym Dogs did just that in the final rotation, recording a 49.300 on the beam. Cassidy McComb scored a 9.825; Hilary Mauro and Tiffany Tolnay added 9.850s; Grace Taylor posted a 9.875; and Courtney Kupets anchored with a 9.900. L.S.U. had to count a 9.625 on the floor exercise, but otherwise they had a solid finishing performance, led by Ashleigh Clare-Kearney’s 9.825 and a pair of 9.850s from Kayla Rogers and Susan Jackson.
Georgia will return home on Monday to take on the University of Utah Utes at 4:00 p.m. in Stegeman Coliseum. Utah is coming off of a narrow victory over UCLA (196.175 to 196.075), so this upcoming meet should be a stern test for both teams of where they are at this point in the young season. Stay tuned!
While the Gym Dogs started the 2009 season with a 195.425 to 194.075 win over the West Virginia University Mountaineers, this was their lowest season-opening dual meet score since 1999, dropping them from a preseason #1 ranking to a current ranking of #8 in the country. The national rankings are based on season averages until February 16, after which they will be based on regional qualifying scores (RQSs) for the remainder of the regular season.
Florida grabbed the #1 spot with a 196.500 after a win over Oklahoma this past weekend. Utah (196.175) is ranked second, UCLA (196.075) is third, Auburn (196.012) is fourth, and Arkansas (195.775) is fifth. Alabama (195.675) is ranked sixth, Stanford (195.600) is seventh, Oklahoma (195.075) is ninth, and Missouri (195.050) is 10th.
One particularly bright spot in the rankings for Georgia was produced by two-time NCAA all-around champion Courtney Kupets. The senior, who made her first appearance since her season-ending Achilles tendon tear last March, is ranked #1 in the nation in the all-around (39.450), floor exercise (9.950), and uneven bars (9.975). She also is tied for 13th on balance beam (9.850) along with sophomore Hilary Mauro.
Senior Abby Stack is tied for second on the floor exercise with four other gymnasts after hitting a 9.9 routine Friday. Sophomore Cassidy McComb is 15th on floor exercise with a 9.850. Grace Taylor, the 2008 NCAA beam champion, is tied at No. 24 on the apparatus with a 9.825. In addition, senior Tiffany Tolnay is tied for third on the uneven bars with three other gymnasts with a 9.900, and junior Marcia Newby also ranked on the event, her 9.825 tying her with 10 other gymnasts for #21. Finally, both Cassidy McComb and Tiffany Tolnay are tied at #8 on vault with 9.875s and Marcia Newby is tied for 25th with a 9.825.
As a team, Georgia is ranked third on vault, 10th on both balance beam and uneven bars, and 17th on the floor exercise.
The Gym Dogs travel to currently-ranked #14 LSU on Friday for their second meet of the season, after which they return to Stegeman Coliseum in Athens to compete against currently-ranked #2 Utah on Monday.
|Fri, Jan 09||West Virginia||Athens, GA||7:30 p.m.|
|Fri, Jan 16||LSU||Baton Rouge, LA||8:00 p.m.|
|Mon, Jan 19||Utah||Athens, GA||4:00 p.m.|
|Fri, Jan 23||Alabama||Athens, GA||7:30 p.m.|
|Fri, Jan 30||NC State||Raleigh, NC||7:00 p.m.|
|Sat, Feb 07||Auburn||Athens, GA||4:00 p.m.|
|Fri, Feb 13||Kentucky||Lexington, KY||7:00 p.m.|
|Fri, Feb 20||Arkansas||Fayetteville, AR||8:00 p.m.|
|Sat, Feb 28||Florida||Athens, GA||4:00 p.m.|
|Sun, Mar 08||UCLA||Los Angeles, CA||5:00 p.m.|
|Sat, Mar 14||Michigan||Athens, GA||7:30 p.m.|
|Sat, Mar 21||SEC Championships||Nashville, TN||To be announced|
|Sat, Apr 04||NCAA Regionals||To be announced||To be announced|
|04/16 - 04/20||NCAA Championships||Lincoln, NE||To be announced|
|Box, Mariel||Fr.||Calhoun, GA|
|Burns, Paige||Sr.||St. Cloud, FL|
|Ding, Kathryn||Fr.||Sparks, NV|
|Johnson, Lauren||Jr.||Cartersville, GA|
|Kupets, Courtney||Sr.||Athens, GA|
|Mauro, Hilary||So.||Boston, MA|
|McComb, Cassidy||So.||Henderson, NV|
|McCool, Courtney||Jr.||Lees Summit, MO|
|Newby, Marcia||Jr.||Virginia Beach, VA|
|Nuccio, Gina||Fr.||Naperville, IL|
|Sessler, Lauren||Jr.||Snellville, GA|
|Stack, Abby||Sr.||Matthews, NC|
|Taylor, Grace||Jr.||Aiken, SC|
|Tolnay, Tiffany||Sr.||Grapevine, TX|
|Trani, Amber||Fr.||Richlandtown, PA|
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Most gymnasts mix together parts of one or more songs in developing their floor-routine music. The athlete seeks a blend that meshes with the elements of her routine, that is compatible with her personality and style, and that matches the energy level of her performance. To be sure, choreographing a routine and selecting music to enhance it are not sufficient for getting high scores — performing the tumbling and dance elements well are crucial. But these more artistic aspects nonetheless are essential ingredients of a first-rate floor routine.
While some gymnasts like to choose and arrange their own floor-routine music, most seek help from their coaches and others. The most celebrated arranger of music for floor routines is Barry Nease, who has arranged for 2008 Olympic Gold Medalist Shawn Johnson among many others. At the highest levels of gymnastics, developing floor-routine music takes a serious collaborative effort among athletes, coaches, choreographers, and skilled arrangers.