The Georgia Gymdogs will make its 32nd appearance in the NCAA Gymnastic Championships Friday and Saturday in Texas.
The ninth-seeded Gymdogs (12-13) will compete Friday at the Fort Worth Convention Center Arena in the first semifinal session at 2 p.m. along with No. 2 seed Florida, No. 3 seed LSU, No. 6 seed Auburn, No. 16 seed Minnesota and No. 18 seed Stanford. The second session at 8 p.m. will feature No. 1 seed Oklahoma, No. 4 seed Alabama, No. 5 seed Utah, No. 8 seed UCLA, No. 10 seed California and No. 12 seed Nebraska.
The top three from each session will advance to the Super Six on Saturday at 9 p.m. And in a change in the national format, the individual national champions will be crowned based on the Friday performances.
Georgia has faced each team in the national meet except Minnesota, California and Nebraska. The Gymdogs saw LSU three times; Florida, Auburn, Alabama and Stanford twice; and Oklahoma, Utah and UCLA once.
ESPNU will televise each round of the meet. U.S. Olympic medalists Bart Conner and Kathy Johnson Clarke will provide analysis throughout the competition, while interviews with coaches and athletes will be conducted by ESPN’s Laura Rutledge.
“The gymnasts and the coaches never stopped believing that this team could make it to nationals,” Georgia head coach Danna Durante said. “We learned so much about ourselves along the way. We faced adversity head on and we’re stronger and much more confident than we’ve ever been. We’re in a great place heading into this meet.”
Georgia will open on beam, followed by a bye, floor, vault, a bye and bars. That is the same rotation the Gymdogs had at the Athens Regional as they came in second. Washington’s Allison Northey will rotate along with the Gymdogs.
“Having the same rotation is huge for us,” said senior Brandie Jay, who will open the meet as the Gymdogs’ first performer on beam. “We’ve done it once, so we’re accustomed to the march-in, the warm-ups and the first event. It’s nice to have that experience under our belts. There’s no substitute for experience.”
Georgia leads the country with 10 NCAA titles, with five coming from 2005-2009. The Gymdogs have finished third or better in the NCAAs in 21 of their last 28 appearances. Georgia advanced to the Super Six each year from 1993-2009. Georgia leads all other teams nationally in number of individual NCAA champions with 40.