|UGA Gymdog Courtney Kupets wins big in Corvalis, OR, at the NCAA Championships (photo: Diane Cebula/ABH)|
Congratulations to UGA Gymdog freshman sensation Courtney Kupets on three, incredible days of gymnastics excellence. Coach Yoculan had this to say:
“Three in three days. We’ve had national champions before, but not ones who have performed three days in a row at this level, with this consistency,” coach Suzanne Yoculan said. “So few mistakes the entire weekend. That’s just incredible. She’s just going to continue to get better. She’s got the temperament. She’s just smooth.”
So, just what did she accomplish?
On Thursday she captured the all-around title. On Friday the Gymdogs won the team competition. And, on Saturday Courtney competed in three, individual events — beam, bars, and floor. She tied for first in beam and bars, and was second on floor. Damn. From the Athens Banner-Herald:
Kupets added to her growing trophy collection by tying for first on beam and bars and finishing second on floor in the individual portion of the NCAA Championships at Oregon State’s Gill Coliseum on Saturday.
Kupets tied UCLA’s Kristina Baskett on bars with a 9.85 and tied LSU’s April Burkholder on beam with a 9.9125. It appeared she would also win the floor exercise, but UCLA’s Kate Richardson finished with a 9.95 to best Kupets’ 9.9375 on that event.
“I’m definitely a little tired,” said Kupets, who became just the third Georgia gymnast to win a national beam title. Teammates Jenni Beathard and Kim Arnold tied for the title in 1998.
“Having Courtney as the national beam champion is something that I’m personally very proud of because it’s the one event where we have the least number of champions on,” Yoculan said. “It’s the hardest event … you have to be perfection to be the beam champion, and that’s what she had, not only (Saturday), but all weekend. All three days.”
Several teammates had a good Saturday as well.
Fellow freshman Tiffany Tolnay was third on beam with a 9.85 and sophomore Nikki Childs tied for fifth with a 9.8125.
“I feel like I peaked at the right time,” Childs said. “I was having trouble at the beginning of the season, but Suzanne believed in me and the team believed in me and I believed in myself and it came together this weekend.”
Sophomore Katie Heenan was fourth on bars with a 9.8 and junior Kelsey Ericksen was seventh on floor with a 9.85.
Yoculan said Tolnay’s improvement was obvious. She entered Georgia as a Level 10 gymnast and wasn’t sure if she could compete against Olympians and Elite Level girls.
On Saturday, Tolnay proved she could with her solid beam performance. She also qualified for vault, but finished ninth with a 9.775.
“It’s been a great freshman year. That’s all I’ve got to say,” Tolnay said. “I can’t ask for anything else right now.
Full ABH coverage here.
“UGA Gym Dogs Win National Championship”