Georgia Gym Dogs Sneak Peek from the Free Seats


A preview of the Georgia Gym Dogs 2015 season.

Georgia Bulldogs
Georgia Bulldogs /

Georgia Bulldogs

Before the craziness of the holiday season started, I headed to Athens on December 14 to check out the routines of the 2015 Gym Dogs. Admissions was free, but we were asked to donate to The Cancer Foundation of Northeast Georgia.

The event was emceed by my friend and former college classmate, Matt Chastain, who was joined occasionally by former Gym Dogs coach, Suzanne Yoculan.

Celebrity judges included Gym Dogs alumna Karin Lichey Usry, Hilary Mauro, Cory Fritzinger, Grace Taylor Johnson, Shayla Worley, Heather Stepp McCormick and Caroline Harris Ward, and former coach Doug McAvinn.

As they would in a real competition, the top five scores per routine were counted, and the Gym Dogs finished with a score of 196.275. Nine scores of 9.9 or higher. Kiera Brown and Brittany Rogers delivered near flawless routines on bars. The Dawgs look like they can repeat as the best in bars again. Brown was also the only all around competitor, finishing with a 39.4.

On the beam, senior Sarah Persinger had the high score of the day, a 9.95. Mary Beth Box has taken over the moonwalk tradition started by Nikki Childs 10 years ago. Incidentally, Childs was the first Gym Dog that I tutored!

Lindsey Cheek continued the moonwalk after Childs until her senior year last year. Brittany Rogers showed off her Olympic talent, including her Rogers skill, a one-armed handstand that no one else does. The team finished with a 49.55 on beam.

Senior Chelsea Davis (injury) and freshman GiGi Marino (illness) did not compete, but should be significant factors during the season. Three other freshmen, Natalie Vaculik, Vivi Babalis and Hayley Sanders, performed their first routines at Stegeman Coliseum.

Brittany Rogers does “The Rogers”

Photo courtesy of All Flipped Out

The Gym Dogs held a Twitter vote for one of the gymnast’s beam song, and I voted for The Beatles’ “Here Comes The Sun” from my four Twitter accounts because I didn’t want to hear Taylor Swift.

I’ve been a Gym Dogs season ticket holder since 2005, including three years in the student section, and I’ve enjoyed every season, whether or not they win the national championship. The 2005-2009 seasons with five national championships in a row were, of course, the best, but they always put on a good show.

It is a pleasure to walk into Stegeman Coliseum, and see all of those banners for SEC and NCAA championships. I look forward to seeing one up there for 2015 by this time next year.

Next: UGA Track & Field Releases 2015 Schedule