Georgia returns 13 gymnasts from the 2014 NCAA Super Six squad including All-Americans Brittany Rogers, Sarah Persinger, Brandie Jay, Chelsea Davis and Mary Beth Box. This year’s roster includes three seniors, four juniors, six sophomores and five freshmen for a total of 18 gymnasts on the 2015 roster – the largest roster in program history.
Saturday’s meet marks the beginning of head coach Danna Durante’s third season at UGA. She has led the Gymdogs to back-to-back NCAA Super Six appearances in her first two seasons in Athens.
Due to live coverage of SEC gymnastics on the SEC Network, pre-meet festivities and introductions will begin earlier this season. Fans are encouraged to be in their seats by 3:45 on Saturday, and the meet will start promptly at 4:06 p.m.
This marks the 49th all-time meeting between Georgia and Michigan with the Gymdogs holding a 41-7 advantage. In 19 dual meets between the two schools, Georgia is 15-4.
Georgia won the last dual meet in the series, 196.575-195.300, in 2012. That competition was held on the campus of Eastern Michgian University in Ypsilanti, Mich., while UM’s Crisler Center was undergoing renovations. Michigan won the last dual meet in Athens, 196.800-196.050 in 2011. This is the second consecutive year that Michigan has competed in Stegeman Coliseum. UM won the NCAA Athens Regional in April 2014, while UGA came in second as both teams advanced to the NCAA Championships in Birmingham where Georgia came in fifth and Michigan was 11th.
Georgia In Season Openers
Georgia is seeking its first win in a season-opener since 2012 after falling to Oklahoma to start the 2013 and 2014 seasons. This is the third straight year Georgia has opened the season with a top-10 opponent. The Gymdogs turned in a 196.500 at Oklahoma last year, which was their best score in a road opener since 2009.
Gymdogs Welcome Five Newcomers
Georgia has five freshmen on the 2015 roster: Jasmine Arnold (Murfreesboro, Tenn.), Vivi Babalis (Montreal, Quebec), GiGi Marino (Scottsdale, Ariz.), Hayley Sanders (McKinney, Texas) and Natalie Vaculik (Whitby, Ontario). Georgia had six freshmen last year, its most since 2004.
A Look At The 2015 Schedule
Georgia will again face one of the nation’s toughest schedules in 2015 with nine meets against teams ranked in the preseason top-25, including five in the top-10. Three of Georgia’s first six meets are against teams in the top-10, two of which are on the road. For the first time, three of Georgia’s meets will be televised live on the SEC Network: the home meet against Alabama on Feb. 20 and road meets at Florida (Jan. 30) and LSU (Feb. 6).
In the preseason coaches’ poll, Georgia came in at No. 7, which is two spots below where it finished the 2014 season. The Gym Dogs opened the 2013 season ranked 11th and have been in the top-nine of each edition of the rankings since. Michigan is ranked No. 8.
Georgia will welcome Missouri to Stegeman Coliseum for a 7 p.m. meet on Friday, Jan. 16. The Gymdogs will travel to Denver for a meet againt the Pioneers three days later.