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Kupets, Yoculan, Taylor Earn SEC Honors As Gym Dogs Come In Second .


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NASHVILLE, Tenn. --- Georgia’s Courtney Kupets won the all-around title and was named the SEC Gymnast of the Year, Suzanne Yoculan was named Coach of the Year, and the top-ranked Gym Dogs came in second in the SEC Championship on Saturday in front of 5,045 fans at the Sommet Center.

The Gym Dogs had a total of 196.925 to finish as the runner-up to Alabama, which notched a 197.3. Georgia, which lost for the first time this season, slipped to 17-1.

“We did enough to win on three events, but we didn’t do enough on beam,” said Yoculan, who garnered SEC Coach of the Year honors for the eighth time in her career. “You can’t make the mistakes we made on beam and get into that kind of hole and get out of it in a championship event. You make mistakes like that and you pay the price. The good news is that we showed a lot of fight and a lot of fortitude the rest of the meet, and I am sure we can come back stronger at the NCAAs. We’re not done yet, that’s for sure.”

Kupets is the sixth SEC Gymnast of the Year in Georgia history. She picked up her 11th all-around title in 12 meets with a score of 39.775. Kupets also outright won the bars crown and shared the vault, beam and floor titles. Of a possible 60 individual crowns this year, Kupets has won or shared 47 of them.

“Courtney was like an angel out there tonight,” Yoculan said. “It was like she had wings holding her up. There are no more adjectives to describe her. Everything that can be said about her has been said. She is absolutely amazing.”

In addition, Grace Taylor was chosen as the SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

Beam had been one of Georgia’s best events this season, but the Gym Dogs had to count a fall and managed just a 48.6 – its second-lowest figure of the year – to open the meet. Kupets paced the Gym Dogs with a 9.9, followed by Grace Taylor at 9.875, Tiffany Tolnay with a 9.775, Courtney McCool with a 9.75 and Hilary Mauro with a 9.3.

Georgia righted the ship with a 49.5 – its second-best total of the season – on floor exercise. The Gym Dogs got a 9.95 from Kupets, a 9.925 from Taylor, a 9.9 from Mauro, a 9.875 from Cassidy McComb, and 9.85s from Abby Stack and Marcia Newby. At the midway point, Georgia had a score of 98.1.

The Gym Dogs maintained their momentum with a 49.325 on vault. Kupets led the way with a 9.95, while Newby, Tolnay and Kathryn Ding each had a 9.85, and McComb added a 9.825. Through three rotations, the Gym Dogs had a score of 147.425.

Georgia capped the night with a 49.5 on bars. Kupets paced the Gym Dogs with a 9.975, followed by Ding at 9.925, Tolnay with a 9.9, Gina Nuccio at 9.875, and Newby and Taylor at 9.825.

Georgia next will participate in an NCAA Regional on Saturday, April 4.

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