Gym Dogs qualify for nationals

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AUBURN , Ala. — On a night when another fidgety performance could have meant the end of the season, Georgia delivered one of its most consistent efforts.

The Gym Dogs dealt out a steady diet of clean routines spiced with more than enough spectacular moments to carry them to 197.1 points and the championship in the Auburn Regional on Saturday night.

Kat Ding and Noel Couch finished 1-2, respectively, in the individual all-around competition.

“This feels great, it really does,” Couch said. “It was great to be able to put that kind of performance on the floor. We were so much more consistent than we were two weeks ago at SECs. We knew what we wanted to do, and that’s what we did. We had an attack mind-set the whole meet and stayed after it.”

Saturday’s win was the Gym Dogs’ first in a postseason meet since 2009 and their highest point total on the road this season. Georgia and second-place Oregon State qualified for the NCAA championships April 22-24.

“We’ve experienced just about everything you could possibly experience in the last three years in regionals,” Georgia coach Jay Clark said.

Georgia only had three scores of less than 9.8 in the entire meet and did not have to count any of them. Ding finished first in all-around with 39.5 points and Couch tied for second in all-around with 39.425.

“It’s exciting and it’s certainly a positive,” Couch said. “But the main thing though is we finished first as a team, so we’re really happy about that.

“We certainly improved on how we competed from two weeks ago (SECs) and that’s what we set out to do. We worked on that in the gym the last two weeks, so for us to come out here tonight and do this was a big accomplishment.”


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