|Courtney McCool had a 9.95 on the balance beam to help Georgia win.
(Diane Cebula / Staff)
SALT LAKE CITY – The hugs never stopped.
Several minutes after Georgia captured its third consecutive national championship, the Bulldogs were still embracing each other, tears of joy streaking their faces.
Even though Friday’s NCAA Championships weren’t officially over and the official scores hadn’t been totaled, Georgia’s gymnasts and coaches knew the result.
They had done it again, thanks to their strong finish and a 197.85. For the eighth time in program history, they were national champions.
“This was the hardest year ever,” Georgia coach Suzanne Yoculan said. “Just the coaching, the dynamics, the chemistry. We had so much to overcome. They kept their focus and they fought. I can’t express how hard they fought.”
Georgia (31-2-1) didn’t flinch at the Huntsman Center, where the pro-Utah crowd filled the arena with cheers whenever a Ute finished her routine.
That didn’t matter to the Bulldogs, who scored a 9.9 or higher on nine of their final 11 routines to become the first team since Utah (1982-86) to win three consecutive national titles.
The Utes were second with a 197.25, also finishing ahead of No. 1 Florida, which had a 197.225. UCLA (196.925), Stanford (196.825) and Nebraska (195.975) rounded out the field.
Katie Heenan, who had a 9.9 on floor and beam, and a 9.95 on vault, has three national championship rings and has already predicted winning another one next year, when Georgia hosts the 2008 NCAA Championships.
“I’m not leaving here without four championships,” she said. “I’m going out 4-and-0.”
|Georgia’s Courtney Kupets competes in the vault event during the NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Championships on Friday, April 27, 2007, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Douglas C. Pizac)|
SALT LAKE CITY — Georgia’s gymnasts celebrated another NCAA title with a little style.
The “Gym Dogs” were unofficially crowned with plastic fedoras that had “Hat Trick” written on the band after they clinched their third straight national title Friday night at the NCAA
Georgia needed the last two rotations to pull ahead of host Utah, which was tied with the Gym Dogs for the lead with two to go. Georgia took over with a stellar floor exercise, capped by Courtney Kupets’ 9.95.
The Gym Dogs led the Georgia fans at the University of Utah’s Huntsman Center in a chant of “U-G-A! U-G-A!” before the official scores were announced. When they finally were, Georgia had won it handily with 197.850 points.
Utah was second for the second year in a row with 197.250 points and Florida finished third (197.225).