Red Rocks finish third

By The Associated Press

LINCOLN, Neb.8212;It was a perfect start and finish for Courtney Kupets, and a perfect ending to Suzanne Yoculan’s 26-year career at Georgia.

The Gym Dogs sent out their retiring coach with a fifth straight national title and record 10th overall at the NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Championships on Friday night.

“It really is a magical team that has so much fortitude and just love for the sport and passion, and they never quit,” Yoculan said. “I feel blessed, and I actually lived it every day being around them, and that’s the thing I’m going to miss the most.”

The Gym Dogs also are going to miss Kupets. The senior from Athens, Ga., who won her third all-around title in four years on Thursday, opened the evening with a 10 on the uneven bars and wrapped up her collegiate career with a 10 on the vault.

As Kupets stuck her final landing, Yoculan pumped her fist, let out a “Yes,” and raced to embrace the woman Alabama coach Sarah Patterson calls the “queen of college gymnastics.”

Tiffany Tolnay, a star in her own right who was overshadowed by Kupets here, followed with a 9.95 to give Georgia a season-high 49.625 in the event.

Georgia finished with a four-event score of 197.825, its second highest of the year and better than the 197.450 it posted at last year’s national meet. Alabama, which upset Georgia at the Southeastern Conference meet, was runner-up with a season-high 197.575.

Utah, second the last three years, was third with 197.425. Florida (196.725), Arkansas (196.475) and LSU (196.375) followed as the SEC sent five of its seven gymnastics programs to the Super Six, an unprecedented feat for a conference.

The Associated Press

The Red Rocks pose with the third place trophy at the NCAA gymnastics championships in Lincoln, Neb., on Friday.