The top teams in the country will converge this weekend in Ft. Worth, Texas for the Metroplex Challenge. Expect a heated battle as three of the top 10 teams in the country are competing in what could be a preview of this year's Super Six Finals. The energy and excitement of collegiate gymnastics creates an explosive atmosphere filled with bitter school rivalries and proud tradition.
The #2 Oklahoma Sooners will take the floor on Saturday expecting a victory. The Sooners are on fire this season and are determined to win their first national title. OU is coming off of last week's dominating performance against #11 Denver where OU had their best home opener score in history with a huge 197.325. The #2 ranked Sooners are the top team in the country on the balance beam and the only team in the country to have three athletes ranked in the top 12 all-around. A win this weekend at the Metroplex Challenge will put the pressure on Michigan for the #1 spot, and could move the Sooners one step closer to that elusive National Title.
The University of Georgia wants to forget their last performance against the Sooners. OU and UGA faced off in a highly anticipated season opener where the Gym Dogs lead for three rotations before stumbling badly on their final event. Oklahoma delivered on the treacherous balance beam, where they are currently ranked #1 in the country, to overtake the Gym Dogs and earn their first win in Athens
The University of Georgia has undergone a number of changes this season and the Gym Dogs are on a mission to return to the Super Six Finals. Legendary Georgia Head Coach Suzanne Yoculan built a dynasty from 1983-2009, leading UGA to 10 NCAA and 16 SEC titles. Largely responsible for the massive success of Georgia was was the man who coached alongside Yoclan for 20 years, Jay Clark. Yoculan retired in 2009 following five straight NCAA titles, and Clark stepped up as the Gym Dog's Head Coach.
Georgia was of course expecting Clark to bring home more NCAA championships. With seemingly impossible expectations for Clark, the Gym Dogs struggled, failing to make the Super Six finals three years in a row. Clark resigned last season and is now leading a rival team as the Associate Head Coach at LSU.
Georgia brought in Danna Durante, Head Coach at Cal for one season and longtime assistant at Nebraska, to lead the Gym Dogs. Interestingly enough, Durante brought in Philip Ogletree, who was the assistant coach at LSU. Durante's hiring of Ogletree allowed Clark to make the move to Baton Rouge.
The LSU Tigers are impressively ranked 7th nationally. After a thrilling start to their season, they struggled against the 2-time defending champions Alabama last weekend and are looking to regroup in Fort Worth. Prior to the Alabama loss, the Tigers shocked the country knocking off the University of Florida in an SEC duel meet. The #7 LSU Tigers come to Ft. Worth eager to put last week's disappointing performance behind them. And on top of that, this weekend will be the first time Clark will face the program he spent 23 years building with Yoculan.
This is make it or break time for the Tigers and Jay Clark. If LSU performs to their full potential, I believe the Tigers will win the competition, and it would be a very meaningful victory for the team and coach Jay Clark.
The powerhouse top 10 teams will be joined by 16th ranked Oregon State and Washington. Competition kicks off Saturday night at 7pm CST.
You can WATCH EVERY ROUTINE FROM THIS EVENT LIVE! Click here to watch live on Gymnastike!