Ninth ranked UGA and the Gymdogs will be playing host to LSU, Oregon State, Arizona, George Washington and Michigan State for an NCAA Regional on Saturday, April 2. LSU is the number 3 overall seed and Oregon State is the number 15 overall seed. Georgia is one of six regional hosts along with Alabama, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota and Utah.
Last July, it was announced that Florida and Georgia, previously 2016 and 2017, respectively, were swapping years due to renovations at the O’Connell Center. So now as the 2016 host, the Gymdogs will be seeded second in the Athens Regional and 10th overall.
The top two teams and the top two all-around competitors who are not on an advancing team from each regional will receive a berth to the NCAA Championships in Fort Worth, Texas, April 15-16. In addition, the event winners at the regionals will advance to the NCAAs in that event only if they are not part of a qualifying team or the all-around qualifiers.
The meet on Saturday, April 2, will begin at 4 p.m. and will be shown on SEC Network +. Tickets for the Athens Regional are available at gado.gs/gymtix or by calling 1-877-542-1231.
“The great thing about hosting regionals is you don’t have to worry about travel, you don’t have to worry about hotels, you don’t have to worry about reservations,” Georgia head coach Danna Durante said. “We knew where we were going, so it was just a question of who was going to come in and see us. We’re excited to have LSU, Oregon State, George Washington, Michigan State and Arizona. It’s going to be a great competition all the way around. I’m excited for our fans. I’m excited for our athletes that we’re home and get to sleep in our own beds and compete on our own equipment.”
“It’s awesome this year that we walked into regionals,” senior Brandie Jay said. “We were facing it knowing where we were going to be, what we were going to do, and knowing the equipment. That’s a huge plus for us. We knew we were going to have a top seed ahead of us, and we’re just excited that it’s LSU and we’ve already seen them and we’ve already defeated them here at home. It’s just exciting. We’re really excited to put it out there on the floor.”
The individual all-around competitors include Brittni Watkins of North Carolina State, Morgan Lane of North Carolina, Tyra McKellar of Towson, Brittany Stover of William & Mary and alternate Chelsea Knight of North Carolina State. The individual event specialists are Kathy Tang of Maryland, Chelsea Knight of North Carolina State and alternate Dominiquea Trotter of Maryland on vault; Abbie Epperson of Maryland, Kaitlynn Hedelund of North Carolina and alternate Kathy Tang of Maryland on bars; Mary Elle Arduino of Towson, Nicole Wild of North Carolina State and alternate Evelyn Nee of Maryland on beam; and Kathy Tang, Macey Roberts and alternate Emily Brauckmuller, all of Maryland.
Georgia’s rotation for the regional will be beam, bye, floor, vault, bye, bars.
In the Road To Nationals poll released Monday, Georgia came in at No. 9 with a 197.010 regional qualifying score (RQS). The Gymdogs are third on vault with a 49.415 RQS, ninth on bars (49.280), 18th on beam (49.180) and ninth on floor (49.385). Jay is rated fourth on vault and ninth in the all-around, senior Brittany Rogers is fifth on vault and eighth on bars, and senior Mary Beth Box is No. 12 on both on both beam and floor.
Ten-time NCAA champion Georgia has won a total of 24 NCAA regionals, including 14 in the last 18 years.
The top 18 teams in the 36-team field include No. 1 seeds Auburn, LSU, Oklahoma, Florida, Utah and Alabama; No. 2 seeds Georgia, Michigan, Nebraska, Denver, UCLA and California; and No. 3 seeds Stanford, Oregon State, Arkansas, Minnesota, Washington and Boise State.