Georgia’s four-month preseason workout regimen has almost ended.
The Gym Dogs will mark the occasion and the end of final exams by holding their Sneak Peek on Saturday.
“It’s like a little preview of a meet,” Georgia junior Cat Hires said. “It’s our first time to get in front of a crowd. For our freshmen especially, it’s good because they’re getting out there for the first time and getting some experience performing in front of people. We’re going to put a little pressure on them that they haven’t had in a while. It’s fun too. We’re going to split up into two teams and get into a competitive atmosphere. But it’s also really fun to dress out and everything and get some experience. We’re really excited about it.”
Georgia will hold its Sneak Peek at 11 a.m. on Saturday at the Stegeman Coliseum Practice Facility. It will also be the first time Georgia will perform in public under first-year Gym Dogs coach Danna Durante.
“They’re looking really good,” Durante said. “They’re really strong. We’ve worked a great deal this preseason on conditioning and on endurance so when we go in there to compete, it shouldn’t be that challenging.
“If you make practice really hard, then the competition should be easy. That’s exactly the approach we’ve taken. Fitness-wise, they look great. Strength-wise, they look great. They’re really excited to get into the competition and really enjoy competing.”
Georgia will have four seniors this season — Kati Breazeal, Noel Couch, Christa Tanella and Shayla Worley. This will be their last Sneak Peek as competitors.
“We love Sneak Peek because it is a sneak peek at all of our hard work,” Tanella said. “It’s not just a preview of the season, you’re going to see the results of our hard work in the fall. It’s not necessarily a beginning as much as it is a great finish to all of our training in the preseason. Hopefully we can show that off. We’ve done more numbers and more consistent figures in everything.”
Couch and Worley have been major contributors almost from the moment they stepped onto campus. Durante has been especially impressed with Tanella’s offseason work. Tanella has struggled with consistency most of her career. But Durante said she feels that Tanella is in position to have maybe her best season.
“Christa is really doing well,” Durante said. “Shayla and Noel have really been a steady force in all their time here. Christa has had some of that. But she has been training really hard on all four events. I would love to see her out there on vault. She’s done such an amazing job this preseason, and I have some expectations of herself and some goals that she really wants to achieve. She’s taking a very intentional route to get to the point where she wants to be.”
After Saturday’s Sneak Peek, the Gym Dogs will break for the Christmas holiday and reconvene on Dec. 27 for serious preparation leading into the season opener against Oklahoma on Jan. 5.
“I’m excited about it,” Georgia freshman Anysia Unick said. “It’s our first chance to show everybody what we can do and how much hard work we’ve been putting into everything. It’s been hard at times. It’s been a lot to get used to with school and practicing less hours a week coming from elite gymnastics. There’s a lot more cardio work and a lot more conditioning than I’m used to. It’s a really different team atmosphere than I’m used to. It’s a lot less serious that it was in elite but at the same time everybody’s here to get their job done.”