Danna Durante Coaching

Georgia gymnastics head coach Danna Durante said that last season’s finish was “like a divorce” for her athletes, but still stressed team work ethic for 2012.

The No. 11 Georgia gymnastics team is in its final days of preparation for the first meet of the 2013 season, against No. 4 Oklahoma in Athens Saturday.

However, coming back from break with only a few practices separating the Gym Dogs from their first competition wasn't ideal.

"Coming out of the break there was a little tension that it's here," Georgia head coach Danna Durante said. "We've worked hard the last few days to diffuse that."

Durante knows she is a role model for many of the girls, so the strategy has been to stay calm.

"I know as the coach, the girls take their lead from me," Durante said. "It's been a process for me to relax and enjoy it. That's what we are trying to narrow our focus to — to just enjoy it. We've been prepared for a long time."

The meet against Oklahoma is the first for Durante as head coach of the Georgia program, a moment she's been anticipating.

"I've been visualizing it for a long time," Durante said. "I'm really excited to be standing there and watch the team come out for the first time and see the energy that I know they are going to have. I'm really looking forward to it."

This will be the 28th all-time meeting between Oklahoma and Georgia, with the Gym Dogs holding an 18-4 advantage.

The two teams have competed in six dual meets with the last coming in 2006 when the No. 1 ranked Gym Dogs took down the No. 6 Sooners.

This won't be the only meeting between the Gym Dogs and Sooners this season as they will face off again on Jan. 26 in the Metroplex Challenge alongside LSU, Oregon State and Washington.

The competition will be a difficult one for the Gym Dogs, but they feel up to the task.

"We've really been ready for a long time," Durante said. "They have done a great job and have gotten better as we've continued to prepare."

Saturday's meet against the Sooners is the first of many challenges for the 2013 Gym Dogs.

"We've talked about having great energy and being excited about being out on the floor," Durante said. "This is step one of a long process."

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