Gymnastics at the University of Georgia: 2010 - 2011 Season

Team Photo

Roster for the 2011 Season
Gym Dog 01 Gym Dog 02 Gym Dog 03 Gym Dog 04 Gym Dog 05
Gym Dog 06 Gym Dog 07 Gym Dog 08 Gym Dog 09 Gym Dog 10
Gym Dog 11 Gym Dog 12 Gym Dog 13 Gym Dog 14 Gym Dog 15

Row 1 (top): Bekah Bennetts, Mariel Box, Kati Breazeal, Lindsey Cheek, and Noel Couch.
Row 2: Kat Ding, Kaylan Earls, Cat Hires, Hilary Mauro, and Cassidy McComb. Row 3: Laura
Moffatt, Gina Nuccio, Christa Tanella, Shayla Worley, and Jay Clark (Head Coach).


Up Next: The NCAA Championships
(April 15-17, 2011)

Gymnastics National Championship Fields Decided

Denver Pioneers
Utah Utes
W Virginia Mountaineers
Auburn Tigers
Kentucky Wildcats
Arkansas Razorbacks
Florida Gators
L.S.U. Tigers
Alabama Tide
UCLA Bruins
Michigan Wolverines
SEC Championships
NCAA Regionals
NCAA Indiv.

2011 NCAA

April 15-17, 2011

digit digit digit colon digit digit colon digit digit colon digit digit

Athens, GA.— On Saturday, April 02, 2011 the six NCAA Regional competitions were held, with the top two teams from each Regional qualifying for the National Team Championship to be held in Cleveland, Ohio on April 16-17. The twelve teams that qualified for the NCAA Team Championship, and their seeds at the Nationals, are #1 UCLA (197.425), #2 Oklahoma (197.350), #3 Alabama (197.275), #4 Michigan (197.075), #5 Oregon State (197.025), #6 Georgia (196.750), # 7 Nebraska (196.550), #8 Arkansas (196.550), #9 Utah (196.475), #10 Florida (196.425), #11 Illinois (195.925), and #12 Kent State (195.450).

The 12 highest ranked teams in the ranking of March 28 were the favorites to advance to the NCAA Team Championship; and, for the most part, that is how the Regional competitions unfolded. Surprises were the triumphs of 14th ranked Illinois and 24th ranked Kent State University, neither of which had ever qualitied for the National Championships before; and the failures to qualify of 4th ranked Stanford and of 11th ranked Penn State. If we could predict the winners in advance, there would be no reason to hold the competition; but we cannot always do so.

Semifinal 1 (12:00 Noon)

  • Arkansas (begins on vault)
  • Illinois (begins with bye)
  • Georgia (begins on bars)
  • Michigan (begins on beam)
  • UCLA (begins with bye)
  • Oklahoma (begins on floor)

Semifinal 2 (6:00 PM)

  • Nebraska (begins on vault)
  • Kent St (begins with bye)
  • Utah (begins on bars)
  • Florida (begins on beam)
  • Alabama (begins with bye)
  • Oregon St (begins on floor)

Athens NCAA Regional Competition
(02 April 2011)

McComb & Ding
Cassidy McComb and Kat Ding
celebrate the Gym Dogs’ finish
(Photo by David Manning/Athens Banner-Herald)

In the Athens Regional, defending NCAA Champion UCLA won the competition, chalking up a score of 197.425, earning 49.400 or higher on three events and earning 49.200 in their weakest effort. The Gym Dogs qualified for the NCAA Championships with a second-place score of 196.750.

UCLA got off to a tremendous start on floor exercise in rotation one, scoring 49.400, while Georgia was getting off to a very tentative start on beam, scoring just 48.800. After that, Georgia and UCLA battled fairly evenly, but realistically Georgia was fighting for second place after UCLA continued to put up event scores of 49.400 or higher. Unless they faltered badly, they would be almost impossible to catch. But Georgia will have another shot at them in two weeks!

NCAA Champs

Although Georgia hoped to win their regional, the Gym Dogs’ real goal was to insure that they qualified for the Nationals. As noted previously, Stanford and Penn State, both top-12 teams in the final national ranking by RQS, did not make it out of their regional competitions, which illustrates how treacherous those meets can be. A team must be sharp and focused in the final weeks of the season. Doing well early in the year may help get a team into a Regional competition, but once it gets there it has to have a good meet to get into the Nationals. Fortunately, the Gym Dogs passed that test!

Qualifying for NCAAs as individual all-around competitors from the Athens Regional were L.S.U.’s Kaleigh Diskson and NC State’s Stephanie Ouellette.

Gym Dogs Place Third in the SEC Team Championship
(Saturday, March 19, 2011)

Laura Moffatt
Georgia’s Laura Moffatt (pictured
here) scored a career-high 9.875
on the balance beam

Birmingham, AL.— The Gym Dogs placed third in the 2011 SEC Team Championship with a score of 196.625, behind Alabama (197.225) and Florida (196.975), ahead of Arkansas (195.800), L.S.U. (195.475), Auburn (195.325), and Kentucky (193.950). Individually, Cassidy McComb took the all-around title with a 39.400, and Kat Ding reprised her SEC bars title of a year ago, this time with a 9.925. Georgia raised its RQS from 196.325 to 196.535. Whether that will make any difference in its national rank is uncertain, as all the other teams close to Georgia also were active this weekend. At the very least, the Gym Dogs will have a solid score to reassure them of their readiness as they begin to prepare for the NCAA Regional competitions.

Noel Couch finished in a tie for sixth in the all-around with a score of 39.250, which included a 9.900 on vault. Hilary Mauro tied for second on beam; Gina Nuccio tied for second on bars; and Laura Moffatt tied for sixth on beam.

Up next for the Gym Dogs are their NCAA Regional, which they will host in Stegeman Coliseum. Next week will be a week off from competition; then, on April 2 at 4:00 PM, the regional will take place. As this is written, the other teams in Georgia’s regional have not yet been announced. The top two teams in each of six regionals will advance to the NCAA Championships in Cleveland, Ohio on April 15-17.

Gym Dogs Lose to Michigan Wolverines
(Saturday, March 12, 2011)

Hilary Mauro
Hilary Mauro (pictured here)
had a strong meet for the Gym
Dogs, as did fellow senior
Cassidy McComb

Athens, GA.— The Gym Dogs were on track to notch the highest score in the country through their first two rotations, but they imploded on beam in Saturday afternoon’s 196.800 to 196.050 loss to the University of Michigan Wolverines in Georgia’s Stegeman Coliseum. Their team score of 196.050 leaves their RQS at 196.325, which means that they will be at #7 when the new national ranking comes out tomorrow morning, with Michigan at #8 by a very small margin. (Michigan’s RQS jumped from 196.045 to 196.320, leaving them barely behind Georgia.) The Gym Dogs had a 98.900 at the midway point, with a 49.575 on vault and a 49.325 on bars, but they had three falls off the beam, ultimately receiving a 47.875 team score on that apparatus.

This was “Senior Day,” the final regular season home meet in the careers of seniors Hilary Mauro and Cassidy McComb. Hilary Mauro earned scores of 9.950, 9.825, and 9.825 on vault, beam, and floor, respectively. Cassidy McComb earned scores of 9.975, 9.800, 9.750, and 9.900 on vault, bars, beam, and floor, for a 39.425 all-around score. The seniors averaged 9.861 in their combined seven events; if everyone on the team had averaged that score, the Gym Dogs would had a 197.2 team score for the meet, which they would have won. (One can only dream of what might have been!) Nonetheless, congratulations to the fabulous seniors, and thanks for four great years of contributions to Georgia’s success!

Up next for Georgia is the Southeastern Conference Championships in Birmingham, Alabama, on March 19.

Gym Dogs Defeat UCLA and Arizona
(Sunday, March 06, 2011)

Los Angeles, CA.— Georgia won this meet with a score of 196.175 to UCLA’s 195.750 and Arizon’s 194.125. In the process, they raised their RQS to 196.325 from 196.200. They missed a golden opportunity, however, to raise their RQS by a substantial amount. Oregon State will leap-frog the Gym Dogs when the March 07 national ranking is published. The Gym Dogs are not producing good “away” scores as effectively as the other top teams are doing, which is the cautionary note that must go with pleasure over their victory.

Nevertheless, the Gym Dogs did win the meet and there were some individual bright spots. Cassidy McComb put up an all-around score of 39.525, and Shayla Worley scored a 9.900 on beam to salvage a decent team score after an earlier fall by a teammate.

The Gym Dogs had a fairly good meet except for a disasterous floor exercise rotation, where their second-highest counting score was only a 9.750. As we continue into March, the seeds for the six NCAA Regionals will be determined, the top six teams getting the #1 seeds in their respective regional competitions. Tomorrow, the Gym Dogs will be ranked #7, which means that if the NCAA Regionals were held tomorrow they would not be a top seed. They probably would be the second seed behind Utah. Being ranked (say) #2 nationally is a huge advantage over being ranked (say) #7, as the #2-ranked team will face its stiffest competition from the #11 team, while the #7-ranked team will receive its stiffest competition from a higher-ranked team: the #6 team. All else (including talent) being equal, the higher a team is ranked, the easier its competition will be at the regionals, and thus the better its chances will be of surviving the uncertainties of regional competition and getting into the NCAA Championships.

Next up for the Gym Dogs will be the University of Michigan Wolverines in a home meet; then they will face six tough opponents in the SEC Championships in Birmingham, Alabama. Go Dawgs!

Gym Dogs Fall to Alabama on a Splendid Night of Gymnastics
(Friday, February 25, 2011)

Kat Ding
Christa Tanella performed on bars, beam, and floor, her best score being a 9.875 on beam

Athens, GA.— Georgia fell to Alabama 197.675 to 197.225 in a meet in which both teams posted their highest team scores of the 2011 season. Although one always wants to win, the Gym Dogs had 13 individual scores of 9.850 or higher, which indicates that they are rounding into excellent competitive form.

Beginning on vault, all six Gym Dogs scored 9.800 or higher, as Georgia took a slight lead over Alabama, 49.350 to 49.325. Kat Ding led the Gym Dogs withy a 9.925; Cassidy McComb added a 9.900. Over on bars, Alabama received a pair of 9.925s from Geralen Stack-Eaton and Kayla Hoffman.

In the second rotation, Georgia moved to bars and Alabama moved to vault. Georgia’s performance was highlighted by Kat Ding’s 9.950, along with solid contributions from Gina Nuccio (9.850), Cassidy McComb (9.825), and Shayla Worley (9.825). Georgia’s teams score of 49.225 was solid, but Alabama broke the meet open by scoring 49.500 on vault, led by a pair of 9.925s from Ashley Sledge and Geralen Stack-Eaton.

Knowing they had some catching up to do, the Gym Dogs moved to beam, where they were led by Christa Tanella (9.875), Hilary Mauro (9.875), and Shayla Worley (9.900). Because of their only major deduction of the night (a fall), they had to count a 9.775 and a 9.800 in their team score, winding up with another still-solid 49.225; however, Alabama extended their lead by a tenth of a point, led by Kayla Hoffman (9.900) and Marissa Gutierrez (9.925).

Moving to floor for their fourth and final event, the Gym Dogs scored an excellent 49.425, with Mariel Box (9.850), Noel Couch (9.900), Hilary Mauro (9.900), and Cassidy McComb (9.950) showing the way. Alabama, however, again extended their lead by a tenth of a point, scoring 49.525 with no counting score lower and 9.875 and Kayla Hoffman anchoring with a near-perfect 9.950.

Georgia improved their RQS from 196.175 to 196.200. Illustrating the importance of good road scores (see above), Alabama increased their RQS from 196.115 to 196.590, which means that they will leap-frog the Gym Dogs when the next national ranking is published on February 28. Gym Dog fans will realize, of course, that this is the nature of the RQS criterion: as teams replace their low early-season “away” scores with higher ones, they gain in RQS and quite possibly move up in national rank.

Georgia’s turn may come next week, when they travel to Los Angeles for a tri-meet against UCLA and Arizona on Sunday, March 06, 2011.

Georgia Defeats LSU with Their Highest Road Score of the Season
(Friday, February 18, 2011)

Kat Ding
Kat Ding performed on bars (9.825), (9.825), and beam (9.875) for the Gym Dogs

Baton Rouge, LA.— Georgia defeated LSU 196.500 to 196.350 in a meet in which both teams scored 49+ in each event, a rarity in the precarious world of difficult skills on unforgiving apparatuses. LSU scored 49.050, 49.000, 49.025, and 49.275 on vault, bars, beam, and floor, respectively, while Georgia scored 49.025, 49.225, 49.075, and 49.175 on those respective events. The Gym Dogs (now 7-3-0, 3-2-0 in the Southeastern Conference) have a streak of nine straight 49+ rotations going that dates back to their February 4th meet against Arkansas, which indicates that they are developing greater consistency as the season progresses.

Junior Kat Ding competed on three events, including vault and beam for the first time, scoring a pair of 9.825s on vault and bars, plus a career-high tying 9.875 on the balance beam.

In their opening event, Georgia had a 49.225 on bars with Gina Nuccio tying for first at 9.875. On vault, the Gym Dogs tallied a 49.025, with Cassidy McComb scoring a 9.850 to lead the team. Gina Nuccio scored a career-high 9.900 on floor as Georgia posted a 49.175; and the Gym Dogs closed the meet with a 49.075 on the balance beam, with Hilary Mauro scoring a 9.850 and (as mentioned) Kat Ding scoring a 9.875. Full team and individual scores can found using the “L.S.U.” above and to the left.

Now Georgia must prepare for a meet against the Univerity of Alabama Crimson Tide, which will take place in Athens at 7:30 PM on Friday, February 25.

Georgia Loses to Florida at Home
(Saturday, February 12, 2011)

Shayla Worley

Athens, GA.— Although Georgia fans had hoped for an upset, the Gym Dogs were competing against the incontrovertible #1 team in the nation. Their loss was disappointing, but their performance was quite good. If Florida were to falter down the line, due to injuries or to a loss of sharpness, and Georgia were to eliminate some of their missed landings, the result could be very different. The Gym Dogs have to believe in themselves and to believe that hard work over the next two months could pay off.

The current ranking puts Florida at #1 nationally and Georgia at #5 (calculated as of February 14, 2011). It is highly likely that Georgia will drop in the ranking next week, because the ranking will then be based on Regional Qualifying Scores (RQS’s), which place a premium on “away” scores. Through this week, the ranking has been based on average team scores. The Gym Dogs have not performed at their best on the road, and that will cost them when next week’s ranking comes out. If the Gym Dogs drop to 6th or 7th, that should not surprise anyone. It simply means that the Gym Dogs have not lived up to their potential on the road. But if the Gym Dogs have good meets in Baton Rouge (against LSU) and Los Angeles (against UCLA) in the coming weeks, they will move up.

On the Georgia-Florida meet itself, the Gym Dogs had some bright spots as well as costly errors. On bars, Gina Nuccio (9.875), Cassidy McComb (9.900), Shayla Worley (9.925), and Kat Ding (9.975) turned what could have been a low event score into a team score of 49.250. On beam, Hilary Mauro’s 9.900 tied Florida’s Ashaneé Dickerson for the top beam score of the meet. And on floor, Cassidy McComb’s 9.900 and Hilary Mauro’s 9.925 saved what could have been a low event score.

Congratulation to Florida on an excellent meet, with special mention due their three all-arounders Alaina Johnson (39.675), Ashaneé Dickerson (39.575), and Mackenzie Caquatto (39.475). Next up for the Gym Dogs are the LSU Tigers, whom they will face in Baton Rouge, Louisiana next Friday at 8:00 PM (ET).

Gym Dogs Lose on the Road to the Razonbacks
(Friday, February 04, 2011)

Kat Ding

Fayetteville, AR.— The Gym Dogs finished strong with a 49.300 team score on the beam, but by then the odds were against catching the Arkansas Razorbacks, who had accumulated a 146.650 to 146.100 lead through the first three rotations. When Arkansas hit a 49.125 in their fourth and final event, they put the meet away.

The most obvious problem for the Gym dogs was two falls on bars, one of which had to count, and two more falls on floor, again requiring one of them to count in the team score. At 0.500 per major deduction, it is clear that two of them that count reduce a team’s final score by a full point. The Gym Dogs’ meet score of 195.400 could easily have been a 196.400, which not only would have won, but it would have given them their best “away” score of the season.

In the first rotation, Arkansas was on vault and Georgia was on bars. Arkansas crafted a 49.000 team score, led by a pair of 9.825s from Jaime Pisani and Katherine Grable. On bars, Georgia earned a 48.675, led by a 9.850 from Gina Nuccio and a 9.875 from Cassidy McComb. The Gym Dogs had to count a fall, which put them in a hole early in the meet.

Switching events for the second rotation, Arkansas and Georgia went to the bars and vault, respectively. Arkansas received a score of 49.025 led by Jaime Pisani’s 9.850 and Michelle Stout’s 9.825, while the Gym Dogs built up a team score of 48.950 headed by a 9.850 from Noel Couch and a pair of 9.800s from Lindsey Cheek and Mariel Box.

For the third rotation, Arkansas went to the beam and Georgia went to the floor. It started to look like Arkansas was going to give the Gym Dogs an opening to make up the deficit they had accumulated, as the Razorbacks had to count scores of 9.550, 9.700, and 9.750 on their way to a 48.625 team score. When Christa Tanella, Noel Couch, and Shayla Worley hit scores of 9.825, 9.800, and 9.875, respectively, Georgia fans started to see the momentum shifting in their favor. But the last two Gym Dogs had falls and other miscues, and the team had to count a 9.200 in their team score of 48.475.

As the Razorbacks moved to the floor for their final event, the Arkansas fans were abuzz with anticipation of victory. Only a meltdown by their team and a very strong finish by the Gym Dogs could avert that outcome. The Gym Dogs did finish with a strong 49.300, led by a trio of 9.875s from Christa Tanella, Shayla Worley, and Cassidy McComb, with no counting or non-counting score less than 9.825; however, the Razorbacks nearly matched that performance on the floor, led by 9.875s from Katherine Grable and Jaime Pisani, to finish with a 49.125 team score for the event.

Georgia returns home to face the #1 ranked Florida Gators on Saturday, February 12, at 4:00 PM.

Gym Dogs Prevail Over the Kentucky Wildcats on the Road
(Friday, January 28, 2011)

Lexington, KY.— On Friday evening the Gym Dogs defeated the Kentucky Wildcats 195.550 to 195.000 in Kentucky’s Memorial Coliseum. Without taking anything away from Kentucky, the Gym Dogs were not consistently sharp, although they rose to the occasion in the fourth rotation when they seemed to have lost their momentum. With the meet on the line, Christa Tanella, Shayla Worley, and Cassidy McComb each hit 9.875s, the highest beam score of the meet, to hang on to what had been an endangered lead. Kentucky did not give up. In that crucial fourth rotation, Phylicia Reshard, Whitney Rose, Jasmine Minion, and Andrea Mitchell all scored 9.800 or above to give Kentucky a 49.150 event score.

Georgia had two relatively good events, two in which awkward landings cost them dearly. On vault, only Hilary Mauro (9.850) had a solid landing; and, on floor, only Noel Couch (9.800) escaped the miscues that cut into others’ scores. “I’m glad we got out of here with a win, but our team understands that they left eight- or nine-tenths out there just on landings,” said Georgia Head Coach Jay Clark. “We didn’t land well tonight.”

This score will almost certainly drop the Gym Dogs from their #3 national rank. Utah and Oklahoma clearly have a shot at moving up, but whether the Gym Dogs drop to #5 depends on how these teams do this weekend.

Solid “away” scores are crucial when the end of the season approaches and regional qualifying scores (RQSs) become the basis for assigning teams to NCAA Regional competitions, which is a critical first step toward getting into the NCAA National Championship tournament. RQSs depend crucially on “away” scores. In practically all cases, RQS is the average of a team’s three best “away” scores and their second- and third-best “home” scores (the highly unusual exceptions being the rare teams that perform better on the road than at home). When Georgia invades Barnhill Arena in Fayetteville, Arkansas next weekend, they will be looking for a strong “away” score, as well as a victory over the Arkansas Razorbacks.

Gym Dogs Defeat the Auburn Tigers
(January 21, 2011)

Lindsey Cheek

Athens, GA.— Georgia prevailed over the Auburn Tigers 196.650 to 194.975 in front of an enthusiastic Georgia crowd. Georgia was short-handed due to injuries to Gina Nuccio (missed entire meet) and Hilary Mauro (missed competing on floor), plus illness for Shayla Worley (missed entire meet); however, Laura Moffatt, Cat Hires, Mariel Box, and Lindsey Cheek performed admirably in expanded roles. Indeed, Lindsey Cheek went all-around and won it with a 39.550 total.

Georgia’s night opened on vault, where both Lindsey Cheek and senior Hilary Mauro posted career-high scores of 9.950 to lead the way. Mariel Box set her lifetime best with a 9.800 and the Gym Dogs finished with a season-high 49.375 on vault, while Auburn opened with a still-competitive 48.950 on the uneven bars.

On bars, the Gym Dogs got matching 9.925s from Kat Ding and Lindsey Cheek, while freshman Cat Hires logged her career-best score of 9.825 to pace UGA to a 48.800 on its second event. Cheek’s performance was her first bars routine in collegiate competition. The Tigers got a 48.575 on vault as Georgia built its lead to a 98.175-97.525 at the halfway point.

Next was beam, where Georgia was led by Cheek’s 9.850 and fellow freshman Laura Moffatt made her Georgia debut, coming through with a solid 9.800. Georgia scored a 49.050 on the event and AU logged a 48.900 on floor as the Gym Dogs took a 147.225 to 146.425 lead going into the final rotation.

Although the Gym Dogs had a 0.800 lead after three rotations, the meet was far from over. Auburn came into this meet nationally ranked #9 on beam, while Georgia came in nationally ranked #15 on floor, which gave rise to the thought that the meet could repeat the scenario we saw when Utah came from behind six days ago. But that was not to happen. The Gym Dogs scored three 9.900s or higher, including a career-high 9.950 from the reigning SEC Gymnast of the Week Cassidy McComb. Mariel Box also increased her career-best mark to 9.925, and sophomore Noel Couch added a 9.900 to spark the Gym Dogs to a 49.425 on their final event of the evening. Meanwhile, Auburn was having their problems on the beam, ultimately scoring a 48.550, as Georgia increased their lead by nearly a full point.

Georgia swept the event titles with Lindsey Cheek and Hilary Mauro taking vault, Cheek and Kat Ding taking bars, Cheek tying the Tigers’ Rachel Inniss for the beam title, and Cassidy McComb taking the floor title.

The Georgia-Auburn meet will be televised on ESPNU on January 27 at 2:30 PM. (Local affiliates may change the time, so check your local listings.) Up next for Georgia will be the Kentucky Wildcats in Lexington Kenducky on Friday, January 28.

Gym Dogs Defeat the West Virginia Mountaineers
(January 17, 2011)

Kat Ding

Athens, GA.— Bouncing back from their loss to Utah two days earlier, the Gym Dogs racked up their best performance of the season to beat West Virginia 196.725 to 192.125 in a MLK Day matinee in Stegeman Coliseum. With cold weather and some still-lingering ice on the roads — plus the fact that the UGA students were enjoying a three-day weekend for the MLK Day holiday — attendance was unusually low for a Gym Dogs home meet, officially 8,416 spectators, but probably about 7,000 (season ticket holders being counted as present even when they stay home to avoid risky travel conditions). Nonetheless, the Gym Dogs put on a performance that was well worth seeing. Their score was the second-highest in the nation so far this year, trailing only a 196.925 from Florida earlier in the season.

Georgia hit 23 of 24 routines and scored 9.9 or higher seven times. They scored season highs on uneven parallel bars (49.450), balance beam (49.150), and floor exercise (49.250). West Virginia had some nice routines — those of Hope Sloanhoffer and Amy Bieski stand out — but they hit only 20 of 24 routines, having to count low scores in every single event. They are a better team than their team scores indicated.

Georgia swept all the individual events with Lindsey Cheek winning vault for the second time this season, Kat Ding winning bars, and Cassidy McComb winning beam, floor, and all-around. “It feels like a totally different meet,” Georgia senior Hilary Mauro said. “Two days ago, we did great on three events, but didn’t finish it out. Today, we had a great meet all the way around. We had our share of mistakes, but as a team we kept it together, which was really, really good.”

Georgia’s most impressive performances came on bars, where Christa Tanella (9.850), Gina Nuccio (9.925) and Cassidy McComb (9.900) either tied or set career highs. Kat Ding scored 9.950 in just her second meet back from resting a stress reaction in her leg.

Georgia will be back in action this coming Friday against the Auburn University Tigers.

Georgia Loses a Close Meet to Utah
(Saturday, January 15, 2011)

Christa Tanella

Athens, GA.— Utah took advantage of Georgia’s mistakes in the final rotation as the third-ranked Utes overtook the sixth-ranked Gym Dogs to win 195.900 to 195.800 at Stegeman Coliseum — the first home loss by the Gym Dogs since falling to Alabama in 2005.

“It hurts, but you can build from here,” Georgia senior Cassidy McComb said. "It's hard. Nobody wants to lose and sometimes you've got to learn the hard way. This team has to grow. We just wanted to hit a complete meet and we didn't do it today."

Although Georgia lost the meet, their score was higher than last week's 195.575. The Gym Dogs also broke the 49-point barrier on individual events for the first time this season, doing that on both vault and bars. Cassidy McComb won the floor exercise and the all-around crown and tied for the balance beam title. Gina Nuccio tied a career high with a 9.925 to win uneven parallel bars.

The most frustrating thing about this competition was that the Gym Dogs had a relatively comfortable lead of 147.200 to 146.900 heading into the final rotation. Georgia would be on floor in front of an enthusiastic home crowd, while Utah would be on beam in front of a partisan Georgia crowd. The odds seemed to favor a Georgia win, but Utah put together a strong set of beam routines, while Georgia had a lot of small deductions for stumbles on tumbling passes, plus an out-of-bounds that turned a strong routine into one that didn't count in the scoring (not being in the top five out of six). But Utah won three of the four events, with 13 scores of 9.8 or higher. In the last analysis, their consistency carried the day.

Georgia now has to get right back into the gym to prepare for a meet with West Virginia on Monday in Stegeman Coliseum. Perhaps needless to add, they will be looking for a bit of redemption as they square off against the (currently) #13 Mountaineers at 2:00 PM Eastern Time.

Gym Dogs Take Their Season Opener at Denver
(Saturday, January 08, 2011)

Denver Quad Meet

Denver, CO.— The Gym Dogs totaled a score of 195.575 points and rolled to a season-opening win in a quad meet on Saturday at Denver’s Magness Arena. Georgia took the lead after the first rotation, and they were never threatened after that. BYU was second with 193.225 points, Denver was third with 192.925 points, and Air Force was fourth with 186.600 points.

Georgia swept the top two all-around spots as Cassidy McComb finished first with 39.150 points and Noel Couch was second at 39.050. Cassidy McComb scored 9.800 on uneven parallel bars, 9.775 on balance beam, 9.825 on vault, and 9.750 on the floor exercise.

Gina Nuccio was a double winner for the Gym Dogs, scoring 9.875 to take the bars title and 9.850 to add the floor title. In addition to Nuccio’s exploits, Georgia swept the top three spots on vault and the top four spots on beam. Freshman Lindsey Cheek won vault with a 9.850, Hilary Mauro and Cassidy McComb tying for second at 9.850. On beam, Shayla Worley grabbed the top spot with a 9.850, Noel Couch, Lindsey Cheek, and Cassidy McComb tying for second with a trio of 9.775s.

Besides Linsey Cheek’s debut as a Gym Dog, Cat Hires also made hers, scoring 9.725 on bars and 9.725 on vault.

Junior Kat Ding was held out of Saturday’s meet because of an injured foot, which the coaches feared could become a stress fracture unless it were rested.

Full individual and team scores for the Gym Dogs are accessible from the “Denver” link above on the left. Individual scores also are presented for BYU, which was Georgia’s closest competitor. The Gym Dogs have their home opener against Utah at 4 PM next Saturday.

Notes.— On the negative side, Gym Dog freshman Kaylan Earls will miss the entire 2011 gymnastics season. She ruptured an Achilles tendon while training in Athens on Thursday, December 30. Scheduled to undergo surgery today (04 January 2011), she plans to redshirt the 2011 season, begin rehab as soon as she is able, and practice skills again this coming summer. We wish her the very best in making a full recovery.

On the positive side, Lindsey Cheek has enrolled at the University of Georgia after graduating from high school in December 2010. She qualified to compete in the Junior Olympic National Championships at Level 10 while in middle school, finishing second on vault and in the all-around. When her high school discontinued its gymnastics program due to the economic recession, it was not feasible for her to train or compete very much, but her skills nonetheless were obvious to college recruiters across the US. She signed her letter of intent to compete for the Gym Dogs on Saturday, November 13, 2010, and she is currently working out with the team and is expected to contribute on at least three events.

Lindsey Cheek

Oconee County senior Lindsey Cheek (bottom center) signs with the University of Georgia
on Saturday (13 November 2010) with her father, Chris Cheek (left), her mother,
Melinda Cheek (right), and her coach, Kim Arenas (top center) looking on.

2011 Southeastern Conference TV Schedule
Event Date Gymnastics Meet TV Date & Time (ET) Network
1/14 Kentucky @ Florida 1/22 @ 10:00 PM FSN
1/21 Auburn @ Georgia 1/27 @ 2:30 PM ESPN
1/21 Florida @ LSU 1/29 @ 10:00 PM FSN
1/28 Arkansas @ Auburn 2/01 @ 8:00 PM CSS
1/28 Georgia @ Kentucky 2/05 @ 4:00 PM FSN
2/04 Alabama @ Florida 2/10 @ 9:00 PM ESPN
2/04 Georgia @ Arkansas 2/12 @ 9:00 PM FSN
2/11 Arkansas @ LSU 2/15 @ 9:00 PM CSS
2/12 Florida @ Georgia 2/17 @ 7:00 PM CSS
2/12 Auburn @ Alabama 2/19 @ 9:00 PM FSN
2/18 Georgia @ LSU 2/22 @ 9:00 PM CSS
2/19 Kentucky @ Alabama 2/26 @ 9:00 PM FSN
2/25 Florida @ Arkansas 3/01 @ TBA CSS
2/25 Alabama @ Georgia 3/03 @ 10:30 PM ESPN
2/25 LSU @ Kentucky 3/05 @ 9:00 PM FSN
3/11 LSU @ Alabama 3/17 @ 6:30 PM ESPN
3/19 SEC Championship 4/03 @ 3:00 PM ESPN2

Computing Regional Qualifying Scores (RQS’s)

Sunday (02-27-2011).— On Monday, February 28, there almost surely will be a shakeup in the national ranking of gymnastics teams, as the criterion (which through February 14 was average team score) is now regional qualifying score (RQS), having become so on February 21. Utah was unranked last week, due to not having enough “away” scores to compute their RQS, but now they have an RQS of 196.335, which will move them from unranked to #5. Alabama should move from #5 to #3 due to a major improvement in their counting “away” scores; their RQS is now 196.590, compared with 196.115 last week.

RQS will be the ranking criterion through the remainder of the regular season. So where do those numbers come from? And what is the rationale for making them the criterion? Regarding the first question, the procedure for getting a team’s RQS is: (1) find the team’s three highest “away” scores and add them to a tentative list, (2) find their three highest remaining scores, “home” or “away,” and add them to the list, (3) find the greatest of the six scores currently on the list and delete it, and (4) compute the average of the five remaining scores.

To illustrate, consider the Georgia Gym Dogs’ nine meets as of February 25, 2011. Those meets are summarized in the following table. You will notice that this table does not include whether the Gym Dogs won or lost — that is irrelevant for computing RQS. Meeting dates and opponents are listed only to make it easier to check the data against the Collegiate Gymnastics Information Center listings, but a team’s opponents and when the meets took place are irrelevant for computing RQS, too.

Gym Dogs’ RQS as of February 25, 2011
Date Team Score Home/Away Opponent
01-08-2011 195.575 A Denver + 2
01-15-2011 195.800 H Utah
01-17-2011 196.725 H W Virginia
01-21-2011 196.650 H Auburn
01-28-2011 195.550 A Kentucky
02-04-2011 195.400 A Arkansas
02-12-2011 196.600 H Florida
02-18-2011 196.500 A L.S.U.
02-25-2011 197.225 H Alabama

Georgia’s three highest “away” scores are those for LSU (196.500), the Denver quad meet (195.575), and Kentucky (195.550). Thus we tentatively add those three scores to our list. From their remaining meets, their three highest scores are those for Alabama (197.225), West Virginia (196.725), and Auburn (196.650). We again tentatively add those to our list, which now includes six scores. Among those six scores, the greatest is that from the Alabama meet (197.225), which must be deleted, reducing the tentative list to its final form. The five remaining are those for LSU, Denver, Kentucky, West Virginia, and Auburn. Thus:

RQS = (196.500 + 195.575 + 195.550 + 196.725 + 196.650)/5 = 196.200

Regarding the second question asked in paragraph two above, the effect of using RQS as the criterion for ranking teams and assigning them to NCAA Regionals at the end of the season is to reduce any effects from “home field advantage” by requiring teams to count some of their scores on the road. In most team sports, the home or hosting team is considered to have a significant advantage over the visitors, for a variety of reasons. In addition, RQS seeks to reduce the influence of possible flukes at either the high end or the low end. In the calculation above, for example, Georgia’s low score versus Arkansas is not counted, nor is their high score versus Alabama. Those may or may not be “flukes” for Georgia, but the fact remains that many teams will have some uncharacteristic scores at the end of the regular season that probably are not indicative of how they would perform at the end-of-season regional and national championships.

Final National Ranking of Teams

The final national ranking of teams is based on their finish order in the NCAA Super Six Finals (top six teams), their finish order in the National Championships semifinals (next six teams), and their NQS (all teams that did not advance to the National Championships meet). National qualifying score (NQS) is defined as the sum of a team’s final Regional Qualifying Score (RQS) and its score at its NCAA Regional meet. For instance, Stanford’s final RQS was 196.715 and its score in its NCAA Regional was 195.225; therefore, its NQS = 196.715 + 195.225 = 391.940, which gave it third place among teams that did not go to the National Championships and thus 15th place in the final national ranking.

The Gym Dogs were chosen as #07 in the preseason coaches’ poll; they finished the regular season at #08; and they finished the whole season, after the NCAA Team Championship, at #09. Results from the final performance-based ranking, earlier performance-based rankings, and the preseason coaches’ poll are listed below.

National Ranks (04-16-2011)
Rank Team Name Team NQS*
01 Alabama 394.395
02 UCLA 394.110
03 Oklahoma 394.045
04 Nebraska 392.825
05 Utah 393.045
06 Michigan 393.575
07 Florida 393.615
08 Oregon St 393.795
09 Georgia 393.285
10 Arkansas 392.610
11 Illinois 391.850
12 Kent St 390.695
13 Boise St 392.395
14 Penn St 392.060
15 Stanford 391.940
16 Ohio St 391.150
17 Denver 391.060
18 Washington 391.000
19 Auburn 390.905
20 L.S.U. 390.880

*See the explanation of NQS and
final ranking given above.

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National Ranks (03-28-2011)
Rank Team Name Team RQS
01 Florida 197.190
02 Alabama 197.120
03 Oregon St 196.770
04 Stanford 196.715
05 Oklahoma 196.695
06 UCLA 196.685
07 Utah 196.570
08 Georgia 196.535
09 Michigan 196.500
10 Nebraska 196.275
11 Penn St 196.210
12 Arkansas 196.060
13 Boise St 195.995
14 Illinois 195.925
15 Iowa 195.820
16 Ohio St 195.800
17 Washington 195.700
18 L.S.U. 195.530

National Ranks (03-21-2011)
Rank Team Name Team RQS
01 Florida 197.190
02 Alabama 197.120
03 Oregon St 196.770
04 Stanford 196.715
05 Oklahoma 196.695
06 UCLA 196.685
07 Utah 196.570
08 Georgia 196.535
09 Michigan 196.500
10 Nebraska 196.275
11 Penn St 196.210
12 Arkansas 196.060
13 Boise St 195.995
14 Illinois 195.925
15 Iowa 195.820
16 Ohio St 195.800
17 Washington 195.700
18 L.S.U. 195.530

National Ranks (03-14-2011)
Rank Team Name Team RQS
01 Florida 197.170
02 Alabama 197.040
03 Stanford 196.715
04 Oklahoma 196.655
05 Oregon St 196.640
06 UCLA 196.520
07 Utah 196.470
08 Georgia 196.325
09 Michigan 196.320
10 Penn St 196.045
11 Nebraska 196.040
12 Arkansas 195.965
13 Boise St 195.950
14 Iowa 195.820
15 Ohio St 195.800
16 Illinois 195.790
17 Washington 195.585
18 Denver 195.435
19 L.S.U. 195.330
20 Iowa St 195.285
21 Minnesota 195.255
22 Auburn 195.235

National Ranks (03-07-2011)
Rank Team Name Team RQS
01 Florida 197.170
02 Alabama 196.915
03 Stanford 196.715
04 Oklahoma 196.515
05 Oregon St 196.505
06 Utah 196.385
07 Georgia 196.325
08 UCLA 196.170
09 Michigan 196.045
10-t Nebraska 195.940
10-t Penn St 195.940
12 Arkansas 195.890
13 Boise St 195.700
14 Ohio St 195.670
15 Washington 195.585
16 Illinois 195.575
17 Iowa 195.515
18 Denver 195.290

National Ranks (02-28-2011)
Rank Team Name Team RQS
01 Florida 197.055
02 Stanford 196.710
03 Alabama 196.590
04 Oklahoma 196.345
05 Utah 196.335
06 Georgia 196.200
07 Oregon St 196.190
08 UCLA 196.170
09 Michigan 195.955
10 Nebraska 195.730
11 Penn St 195.675
12 Arkansas 195.600
13 Ohio St 195.560
14 Boise St 195.540
15 Washington 195.445
16 Iowa 195.400
17 Illinois 195.300
18 Denver 195.245

National Ranks (02-21-2011)
Rank Team Name Team RQS
01 Florida 197.055
02 Stanford 196.585
03 Oklahoma 196.250
04 Georgia 196.175
05 Alabama 196.115
06 Oregon St 195.935
07 Nebraska 195.595
08 Michigan 195.575
09 UCLA 195.355
10 Penn St 195.300
11 Washington 195.265
12 Denver 195.245
13 Boise St 195.215
14 Illinois 195.150
16-t Arkansas 195.145
16-t Iowa 195.145
17 Ohio St 195.055
18 Auburn 194.835

National Ranks (02-14-2011)
Rank Team Name Team Ave.
01 Florida 197.150
02 Stanford 196.650
03 Utah 196.300
04 Oklahoma 196.118
05 Georgia 196.043
06 Alabama 195.988
07 Oregon St 195.896
08 Michigan 195.779
09 UCLA 195.575
10 Nebraska 195.432
11 Boise St 195.215
12 Arkansas 195.204
13 Washington 195.058
14 Ohio St 194.958
15 Minnesota 194.954
16 Kent St 194.916
17 Illinois 194.900
18 Penn St 194.875

National Ranks (02-07-2011)
Rank Team Name Team Ave.
01 Florida 197.035
02 Stanford 196.656
03 Utah 196.165
04 Georgia 195.950
05 Oklahoma 195.933
06 Oregon St 195.821
07 Alabama 195.770
08 Michigan 195.635
09 Nebraska 195.438
10 UCLA 195.430
11 Arkansas 195.180
12 Boise St 195.038
13 Washington 194.975
14 Kent St 194.925
15 Ohio St 194.830
16 Illinois 194.800
17 Minnesota 194.720
18 Penn St 194.665

National Ranks (01-31-2011)
Rank Team Name Team Ave.
01 Florida 196.906
02 Stanford 196.550
03 Utah 196.075
04 Georgia 196.060
05 Oklahoma 195.860
06 Alabama 195.850
07 Oregon St 195.595
08 UCLA 195.430
09 Michigan 195.344
10 Nebraska 195.188
11 Arkansas 195.031
12 Kent State 194.925
13 Minnesota 194.819
14 Washington 194.769
15 Boise State 194.658
16 Ohio State 194.644
17 Iowa State 194.594
18 NC State 194.592

National Ranks (01-24-2011)
Rank Team Name Team Ave.
01 Florida 196.708
02 Stanford 196.413
03 Georgia 196.188
04 Utah 195.933
05 Oklahoma 195.781
06 Alabama 195.525
07 Oregon St 195.338
08 Michigan 195.167
09 UCLA 195.119
10 Nebraska 195.050
11 Kent State 195.008
12 Arkansas 194.933
13 NC State 194.850
14 Boise State 194.788
15 Iowa 194.675
16-t Southrn Utah 194.658
16-t Washington 194.658
18 Minnesota 194.567

National Ranks (01-17-2011)
Rank Team Name Team Ave.
01 Florida 196.850
02 Stanford 196.625
03 Oklahoma 195.825
04 Utah 195.800
05 Georgia 195.688
06 Oregon St 195.567
07 Michigan 195.300
08 UCLA 195.217
09 Nebraska 195.200
10 NC State 195.150
11-t Alabama 195.125
11-t Kent State 195.125
13 Arkansas 194.913
14 Minnesota 194.625
15 Boise State 194.575
16 Ohio State 194.475
17 Iowa 194.325
18-t W Virginia 194.250
18-t Washington 194.250

National Ranks (01-10-2011)
Rank Team Name Team Ave.
01 Florida 196.925
02 Stanford 196.625
03-t Utah 195.700
03-t Michigan 195.700
05 UCLA 195.613
06 Georgia 195.575
07 Oklahoma 195.475
08 Oregon St 195.388
09 Alabama 195.350
10 Arkansas 195.075
11 Nebraska 194.950
12 Kent St 194.775
13-t W Virginia 194.500
13-t N Hampshire 194.500
15 Ohio St 194.475
16 Kentucky 194.350
17 Minnesota 193.925
18-t Iowa 193.825
18-t Arizona 193.825

Preseason Coaches’ Poll
National Ranks (12-01-2010)
Rank Team Name Points
01 UCLA 1,035
02 Alabama 950
03 Florida 948
04 Oklahoma 881
05 Utah 853
06 Stanford 818
07 Georgia 749
08 Oregon St 702
09 Michigan 696
10 Nebraska 691
11 Arkansas 648
12 L.S.U. 647
13 Missouri 479
14 Penn St 456
15 Auburn 415
16 Denver 361
17 Illinois-Chm 333
18 Boise St 311
19 Arizona 274
20 S Utah 195
21 Washington 191
22 Iowa St 114
23 Minnesota 109
24 Kentucky 102
25 Arizona St 100

Gym Dogs Announce Two Signees for 2012

Chelsea Davis

Athens, GA (November 11).— Georgia Head Coach Jay Clark announced the signing of two prospects to national letters of intent to attend UGA and compete in 2012 for the Gym Dogs. The duo includes Chelsea Davis, a member of the 2010 USA World Championship team, and Sarah Persinger, a former international elite gymnast.

Davis, a native of Austin, Texas, trains at Texas Dreams. She qualified to the international elite level and U.S. Championships in 2006 and finished fourth in the all-around in the 2007 U.S. Championships to qualify for her first USA National Team. Davis was named to the 2007 Jr. Pan America Games and qualified for her second U.S. Championships in 2008. Later that year, she was named to the U.S. Olympic Training Squad. In 2010, Davis finished fifth in the all-around at the U.S. Championships and was also named to the USA World Championship Team.

Persinger, a native of Charlotte, North Carolina, trains at Southeastern Gymnastics. She won the vault and bars titles as a level 10 gymnast at the Junior Olympic Nationals in 2006, then qualified to junior international elite status. Persinger was a U.S. National Qualifier in 2007 and 2008, and in 2009 won vault and bars at the Flip Fest Invitational and finished second in the all-around.

The NCAA Early Signing Period began on November 10 and concluded on November 17.

Gym Dogs’ 2011 Schedule
Date Opponent / Event Location Time
01/08/11 Denver Quad-Meet Denver, CO 8:00 PM ET
01/15/11 Utah Athens 4:00 PM ET
01/17/11 West Virginia Athens 2:00 PM ET
01/21/11 Auburn Athens 7:30 PM ET
01/28/11 Kentucky Lexington, KY 7:00 PM ET
02/04/11 Arkansas Fayetteville, AR 8:00 PM ET
02/12/11 Florida Athens 4:00 PM ET
02/18/11 LSU Baton Rouge, LA 8:00 PM ET
02/25/11 Alabama Athens 7:30 PM ET
03/06/11 UCLA Tri-Meet Los Angeles, CA 5:00 PM ET
03/12/11 Michigan Athens 4:00 PM ET
03/19/11 SEC Championship Birmingham, AL 5:00 PM ET
04/02/11 NCAA Regional Athens 4:00 PM ET
04/15/11 NCAA Prelims Cleveland, OH 12/6 PM ET
04/16/11 NCAA Team Finals Cleveland, OH 4:00 PM ET
04/17/11 NCAA Individ Fnls Cleveland, OH 1:00 PM ET

42nd Artistic Gymnastics World Championships
Rotterdam, the Netherlands

Barbosa Fernandez
Barbosa Fernandez of Brazil on her way to a third-place finish in the individual vault competition

Rotterdam, Netherlands.— the 2010 World Championships were held on the 16th through 24th of October at the Ahoy Arena in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, one of the Netherlands’ (and indeed all of Europe’s) premier venues for indoor sporting events. As in college gymnastics, the world competitions include both team and individual championships. The top finishers in the team competition were (1) Russia, (2) United States, (3) China, (4) Romania, (5) Japan, (6) Australia, (7) Great Britain, and (8) Italy. The United States was strong, placing first or second on vault, bars, and beam; however, they could manage only a sixth place on floor; and they were edged by Russia in total score 175.397 to 175.196, due mainly to Russia’s big advantage of 2.333 points on the floor exercise. Still, anytime a team can place second in the World Team Championship, they have done well!

Scoring at the world elite level is quite different from that at the collegiate level. Each performance in a world elite competion is given both a difficulty score and an execution score, which are added together to yield the athlete’s total score. Hypothetically, each component score could be a 10.0, but the judging is very stringent, making an obviously difficult routine worth barely half of the hypothetical upper bound. For instance, the individual champion on the floor exercise, Lauren Mitchell of Australia, received 5.900 for difficulty, 8.933 for execution, giving her a floor exercise score of 14.833 (5.900 + 8.933 = 14.833), good enough to make her an individual World Champion!

In the individual all-around competition, Aliya Mustafina of Russia took the gold medal with a four-event score of 61.032; Yuyan Jiang of China took the silver with a 59.998; and Rebecca Bross of the United States took the bronze with a score of 58.966.

Closing out the championships were the individual event finals, which took place on Saturday and Sunday (23-24 October). On vault in the individual event final, unlike in the team and all-around competitions, each competitor is required to do two different vaults, her total score being the average of her two separate vault scores (with the fourth decimal value, if there is one, dropped — e.g., a 15.6665 average would be recorded as a 15.666).

In the four individual event finals, the top eight qualifiers competed for the podium positions, the results beings as summarized below:

Women’s Vault Final
Place Athlete Score
1 Alicia Sacramone (USA) 15.200
2 Aliya Mustafina (RUS) 15.066
3 Barbosa J. Fernandez (BRA)
4 Ariella Kaeslin (SUI)
5 Tatiana Nabieva (RUS) 14.599
6 Hyunjoo Jo (KOR) 14.483
7 Diana Maria Chelaru (ROU) 14.066
8 Imogen Cairns (GBR) 13.999

Women’s Uneven Bars Final
Place Athlete Score
1 Elizabeth Tweddle (GBR) 15.733
2 Aliya Mustafina (RUS) 15.600
3 Rebecca Bross (USA) 15.066
4 Bridget Sloan (USA) 14.666
5 Ana Porgras (ROU) 14.600
6 Huang Qiushuang (CHN) 14.400
7 Kexin He (CHN)
8 Elisabeth Seitz (GER)

Women’s Balance Beam Final
Place Athlete Score
1 Ana Porgras (ROU) 15.366
t-2 Rebecca Bross (USA) 15.233
t-2 Linlin Deng (CHN) 15.233
4 Lauren Mitchell (AUS) 15.200
5 Alicia Sacramone (USA) 15.066
6 Anna Dementyeva (RUS) 13.966
7 Aliya Mustafina (RUS) 13.766
8 Yana Demyanchuk (UKR) 13.733

Women’s Floor Exercise Final
Place Athlete Score
1 Lauren Mitchell (AUS) 14.833
t-2 Aliya Mustafina (RUS) 14.766
t-2 Diana Maria Chelaru (ROU) 14.766
4 Alexandra Raisman (USA) 14.716
5 Lu Sui (CHN) 14.666
6 Vanessa Ferrari (ITA) 14.600
7 Sandra Raluca Izbasa (ROU) 13.983
8 Ksenia Afanasyeva (RUS) 12.700

The Organising Committee of the Rotterdam Worlds did a pretty good job of ensuring that the 2010 edition of this competition lived up to their motto of “Fantastic Gymnastics.” For most of the sessions, especially the various finals, the Ahoy Arena was packed to capacity with thousands of spectators; and the gymnastics on display were generally superb. Kudos to both the organizers and the gymnasts!

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Floor Exercise Music

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, but they certainly help! Performing the tumbling and dance elements well are essential, but the music and related choreography may very well account for the differences between competitors who are comparable in tumbling and dance skills. In short, these are crucial 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. At the elite level, 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.

In college gymnastics, UCLA’s Head Coach, Valorie Kondos Field, has demonstrated beyond any reasonable doubt that choreography and arranging can provide a winning edge. The UCLA floor performers’ routines are beautifully choreographed and arranged, which surely is one reason for UCLA’s success.

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