Brittany Rogers already feels butterflies going into her first collegiate meet.
Christa Tanella does a flip while performing on floor during the gymnastics meet between Georgia and Arkansas on Feb. 12 at Stegeman Coliseum.
But she already has some experience in performing on a big stage.
Rogers is an Olympic veteran who helped Canada to its best finish in history last summer in London.
“I’m getting a little nervous,” Rogers said. “It’s a change from elite and what I’m used to. I feel like I’m kind of being thrown to the wolves a little bit. But I’m catching up. I’m really excited and I hope to get into a few events and we’ll see how it goes.”
Rogers, a freshman from Coquitlam, British Columbia, took the fall semester off after competing for Canada in the London Olympics. She joined Georgia about a week ago and will be with the team when it runs onto the floor for its first meet of 2013 today.
“I was just talking to my mom and she told me it’s a completely different ball game,” Rogers said. “We didn’t have a lot of expectations being from Canada in the Olympics. But here, you’re the Georgia Bulldogs and there’s a lot of really high expectations. You have that extra pressure on you. But it’s good pressure and it keeps you motivated.”
Canada made the Olympic team finals for the first time in a non-boycotted year and Rogers helped Canada record its highest finish in history at fifth. Rogers also placed seventh in the individual vault finals.
“It was just unbelievable,” Rogers said. “I still can’t believe I was there. It feels like it was so long ago, but it also feels like it was yesterday. It was a dream come true, that pretty much sums it. I don’t think I can describe it any other way. It was a dream come true. As soon as I stepped into the arena and there’s 20,000 people there cheering, I just got tingles all over. It was the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen. It was a blast.”
Oklahoma an attention-getter to start season
Georgia competes in the Southeastern Conference, so it’s fitting that it starts the season against one of the top teams in the nation.
Oklahoma is ranked No. 4 in the preseason after finishing seventh at last year’s NCAA championships.
“It’s not exactly a cakewalk for the first meet,” Shayla Worley said. “Yeah, we’re starting with somebody hard. But at the same time, I have a hard time believing that somebody else is as prepared as we are for this meet. It’s common around the country that people are getting thrown out there for the first time. But I just really feel like we’re in a better place and this confidence I have, I just don’t think anybody else has that. I hope we perform like that but it feels good going into it.”
This is just the sixth dual meet between Georgia and Oklahoma. Georgia beat Oklahoma in 2006 but Oklahoma beat Georgia in 2005.
Senior Worley eager to start 2013 season
Worley begins her final campaign today and the meet against Oklahoma couldn’t come fast enough for the senior from Orlando, Fla.
“I’m just busting at the seams to get out there. I’m tired of practicing,” Worley said. “It’s time to go.”
This will be Worley’s fourth and final season opener at Georgia. But her eyes will be on the Gym Dogs’ rookies as they take the floor for the first time.
“For me, the biggest thrill for opening night is watching the freshmen,” Worley said. “It’s always fun to watch them and experience it with them. It’s their first time, so it’s extra-magical with them. The first meet’s even better with the freshmen. I vividly remember my first meet. That first time I ran out of that tunnel, you feel all the excitement and you see all the people. It’s just surreal for a little bit. Then as you get older, you almost take it for granted. As a senior, I think I’m going back to that point where I appreciate it more because the times I get to run out of that tunnel now are limited.”
Durante impressed with Tanella’s preseason
Christa Tanella has seen
plenty of ups and downs in her Georgia career. But first-year Gym Dogs head coach Danna Durante said she likes how the senior has prepared for her final season.
“I keep coming back to Christa Tanella,” Durante said. “She’s done an incredible job of working hard. She’s in incredible shape. She’s looking beautiful on bars, floor and beam. She’s working vault, she’s not ready yet but she’s working it. She just works so hard and she’s doing a really good job.”
Tanella has been a regular on bars the last two seasons but fell twice and scored an 8.6 in Georgia’s first routine of the 2012 NCAA preliminaries. She has not competed on vault at Georgia.