After Gymdogs finish third in SECs, team set to host regionals April 2- Q&A with Coach Clark
by Chelsea Lipocky
Head Coach Jay Clark and his Gym Dogs are gearing up for the NCAA Athens Regionals
meet on April 2nd. I caught up with him before practice to talk about how this
year’s team stands apart from the rest and what we can expect in the post season.
How would you say this team is unique?
It is unique in that it doesn’t have the superstar out there that we have grown accustomed
to having out there for so long. There is really not that one name that jumps off the
page and everyone says ‘that’s the face of the team.’ In a way that has really been a strength
for us this year; that they all understand that they have to rely on each other and that it
takes everybody in order for us to be successful. That part is really good.
What do you think has been the number one reason for this team’s success so far?
Just that chemistry and that togetherness. They faced an awful lot of adversity this
year, so just the success that we’ve had has been in large part due to they have a resiliency
and a toughness that comes from the togetherness that they have had.
Is that something unique to this team or something you have experienced before?
Our best teams have always had that chemistry. When I look at that run we were on
from 2005-2009 that chemistry was a big part of the success there, particularly in 2005
with a team that no one predicted would win. They were a number twelve seed coming
into Nationals and they pulled it off. It had to do with an investment in one another. They
were more concerned about each other’s success than they were their own, and because of
that, everybody’s success continued to climb.
We’ve got a little bit of that on this team now. I would like to see it grow a little more,
but I think it’s there and it’s been strength this year.
What kind of advantage is it to have girls on the team that have won championships?
Well, if you have never won, it is hard to figure out how to. There is a reason that
Georgia and UCLA have won 13 of the last 14 NCAA Championships. We have two
classes on this team who have done it at least once, and so they understand what it takes.
There is an advantage to that. It is sort of an intangible thing that you can’t put your finger
Looking ahead at Regionals, what are you most apprehensive about?
You know what, I don’t think we are ever apprehensive when we compete at home.
We love the friendly confines of Stegeman Coliseum, and we love our fans. It is never really
an apprehensive thing when we compete here, and I think that is reflected in our performance
more times than not.
Going along with that, how important is it to have this meet at home?
I think it is important for us. After how last year ended for us, it puts us in a comfort
zone and a place where we are familiar with the environment. I think it definitely is an advantage
for us this year.