Head gymnastics coach Courtney Kupets Carter looks at the scoreboard during a meet against Arkansas at Stegeman Coliseum in Athens, Georgia, on Friday, Feb. 1, 2019. The Georgia GymDogs defeated Arkansas with an season-record high of 197.475 to 196.125. (Photo/Rebecca Wright)

On May 9, 2017, Courtney Kupets Carter took over as the head coach of the Georgia gymnastics program. A GymDog alum and four-time national title winner, Kupets Carter has coached the gymnastics team through highs and lows nine years after her own time on the floor.

2018 season

By the end of her first season leading the GymDogs, Kupets Carter coached the squad to a No. 7 ranking in the NCAA. The 2018 GymDogs under Kupets Carter made history in Stegeman by welcoming the largest home crowds to date with 10,102 average fans attending each meet. Kupets Carter’s first team included strong competitors like Sydney Snead, Marissa Oakley, Rachel Dickson and Sabrina Vega, all of whom earned NCAA first team All-America honors that season.

The GymDogs claimed sixth place at the 2018 SEC championship meet in St. Louis and a subsequent fourth place finish at the NCAA championship semifinal meet with a score of 196.6875. In her first year, Kupets Carter signed six gymnasts for the upcoming 2019 season, with four still competing on the team today.

2019 season

In 2019, Kupets Carter’s GymDogs came out strong to their highest season-opening score since 2007 against Ohio State with 196.600 points. She later coached the No. 7 Georgia team to a 197.450-197.375 upset of then No. 3 ranked Florida in Gainesville, its first defeat over the Gators on their home turf since 2008.

She also led the program to a fourth place finish at the SEC championships and the highest meet score in ten years at the NCAA Regional meet to advance to the semifinals of the NCAA national championship with a 198.050. Those accomplishments propelled Kupets Carter to be named the Women’s Collegiate Gymnastics Association (WCGA) Southeast Region Coach of the Year. Many gymnasts performed well under Kupets Carter, including Sabrina Vega who was named SEC Specialist of the Year and Marissa Oakley who scored the GymDogs’ first perfect 10 on bars since 2009.

The GymDogs finished the season with a No. 8 overall ranking in the NCAA. Each individual event’s ranking also improved considerably since Kupets Carter’s first year, with the most significant change coming in the vault event. Georgia was ranked 19th in 2018 but jumped 15 spots up to 4th in 2019.

2020 season

Prior to the cancellation of the remainder of the 2020 season due to concerns over the spread of COVID-19, Kupets Carter was guiding a hot and cold season in her third year at Georgia. The team suffered the loss of two gymnasts — senior all-around competitor Rachel Dickson and freshman Amanda Cashman — to Achilles tendon injuries less than three months into the season. Georgia gymnastics ultimately went 2-4 in the SEC before the conference championship meet was canceled.

Although the GymDogs finished with their lowest ranking under Kupets Carter at 12th in the NCAA, they still managed to achieve the highest floor rotation score in Kupets Carter’s three seasons. Five routines earning a 9.9 or higher for an overall event score of 49.6 during Georgia’s meet against Auburn on Feb. 2. Eight returning gymnasts earned 16 new career-high scores in Kupets Carter’s third season at the helm.

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