Gym Dogs rank 11th in preseason poll

Georgia will start the 2013 rankings the same place it finished 2012, just outside the top 10.

The Gym Dog were ranked No. 11 in the GymInfo Top 25 released on Tuesday. The Gym Dogs placed 11th at the NCAA National Championships in Duluth last spring followed by the resignation of three-year head coach Jay Clark.

Defending champion Alabama is No. 1, followed by UCLA, Florida, Oklahoma, Utah, Stanford, Nebraska, LSU, Oregon State and Michigan.

“I’m not surprised we are ranked 11th,” first-year Gym Dogs coach Danna Durante said. “Typically, the preseason poll puts teams fairly consistent with their finish the previous year. Those of us close to this team know the work we have put in, the hurdles we’ve overcome and most importantly, the heart and desire of this team.

Georgia has 11 returnees off of last year’s team, including All-Americans Noel Couch, Shayla Worley, Lindsey Cheek, Chelsea Davis and Sarah Persinger. However, they lost three-time individual event champion Kat Ding.

Georgia will face seven teams in the preseason top 10, starting with No. 4 Oklahoma in the season opener on Jan. 5. Three Southeastern Conference teams are also in the top 10 — No. 1 Alabama, No. 3 Florida and No. 8 LSU.