Rachel Dickson dances to the music of her floor routine eventually scoring a 9.950 for Georgia. The University of Georgia gymnastics team hosted the Kentucky Wildcats in Athens, Georgia on Feb 15th, 2019 to defeat their opponent with a final score of 197.300 to 197.225. (Photo/Kathryn Skeean)

The 2019 SEC Gymnastics Championship in New Orleans did not go as planned for Georgia. But the GymDogs are now focused on the road to nationals as they prepare to host the NCAA Athens Regional.

“We picked apart little things [from the SEC championship] that we can work on,” senior Sydney Snead said. “And we’ll work on it this week.”

Snead said some of these things are technical and some are mental aspects of the sport. She said the team will need to work on landings and sticking its dismounts, as well as having “no wobble routines.” Confidence and composure are also important for the GymDogs, and Snead said circling up after events to regroup and refocus could help the team.

The GymDogs will return home to Stegeman Coliseum to host seven other teams in the NCAA Regional meet April 4-6. In the two weeks between the SEC Championship and regionals, the team is focused on balancing rest and recovery with working hard to prepare for its second postseason meet.

“The next two weeks are strategic practices,” head coach Courtney Kupets Carter said. “Still working on a few things, making sure we utilize the time wisely without overdoing it.”

Kupets Carter said the first week of the two-week stretch will follow a normal practice schedule, including an intersquad on March 29. The team has utilized intersquads, in which it runs through an entire meet in practice, all season to build endurance and prepare for meets.


Georgia's score at the SEC championship

The second week will be more of a rest week. The GymDogs will have regular practice on April 1 and April 2, before having April 3 and April 4 off. Kupets Carter said that the team will do a team bonding activity on April 4.

“It’s that point in the season where they really need that rest and they need the sharp, quick mindset when they get into the gym,” Kupets Carter said.

The GymDogs plan to advance to nationals by “starting with momentum.” At SECs, the team started on beam and had a few routines that lost points due to wobbles or failure to stick landings. After a slow start, Georgia had to fight the rest of the meet to get its momentum back.

Kupets Carter wants to ensure that this is not the case at regionals. The team will start on vault, an event in which it is ranked fourth nationally.

At regionals, the GymDogs want to focus on themselves. But the meet isn’t the final destination.

“Nationals is always the goal: top three at nationals,” Snead said.

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