For the first time since 2014, Georgia is back in the evening session at the SEC Championships.
“To be part of that session you expect some really big gymnastics and some really great teams,” junior Gigi Marino said. “Being in that session, that’s what Georgia does, it’s who we are. It’s not surprise to us.”
The eighth-ranked Gymdogs are the fourth seed with a 197.005 RQS heading into the event in Jacksonville, Fla. No. 2 LSU (197.785), No. 4 Florida (197.495) and No. 6 Alabama (197.285) will also compete in the 6 p.m. session. No. 12 Kentucky (196.750), No. 14 Missouri (196.540), No. 21 Auburn (196.135) and Arkansas (195.775) will compete in the afternoon session at 2 p.m. The afternoon session will be shown on ESPNU. The evening session will air on the SEC Network.
The separation between session encourages teams to get their jobs done during the regular season, Durante said.
“Supposedly the champion can come from either session but I think people know it’s typically going to come out of that night session, especially when you’ve got those four teams in the top eight,” Durante said. “It’s great energy and it’s exciting to be back in that night session. We’ve spent the last two years in the afternoon session which is not where Georgia belongs. They knew this going in, we had to do our job during the year.”
Georgia hasn’t won an SEC title since 2008 and took fifth in the last two seasons. They haven’t finished higher than fourth during Durante’s tenure, which began in 2013.
Georgia has posted its two highest scores of the season against some of the nation’s top teams. The Gymdogs topped No. 5 Utah 197.250-196.650 March 11. They fell to Alabama 197.700-197.325 on March 5, but posted their highest score of the year.
“It’s an advantage because in our heads, we’re like we made it here, it shows that you’re on the right track,” Marino said. “We’re where we need to be going into the postseason. It’s where we expect to be, where we want to be. I think it’s definitely an advantage for us.”