GymDogs claim top spot at NCAA Athens Regional
Sami Davis fell in love with Georgia gymnastics as a fourth grader. She spotted former assistant Jay Clark at a meet and grasped onto one of the program’s famed championship rings. From then on, she realized a dream of becoming a GymDog.
After a season of taking the Stegeman Coliseum floor and soaking in those picturesque scenes, Davis’ ambitions will take a different path. Davis, a Cranford, N.J. native, is no longer on the team’s active roster after electing to medically retire from the sport over the summer.
“Because of injuries to my back, I haven’t been able to do gymnastics the way I used to,” Davis said in a statement issued to The Telegraph. “I decided it was important for me to take a step back and maintain a healthy lifestyle.”
Davis had opportunities in the spotlight last season amongst a nine-deep group of newcomers who all showed promise and advanced to NCAA nationals. She competed on floor routine, alternating the rotation’s opening spot with Mikayla Magee, and made seven starts for Georgia.
Davis notched a career-high 9.825 score against Utah, and closed her career with a 9.7875 as the GymDogs bowed out of the 2019 campaign in Fort Worth, Texas. Davis came to Athens from North Stars Gymnastics in Boonton, New Jersey, a highly-touted gymnastics club that is home to a number of former GymDogs, along with sophomore Rachael Lukacs.
While Davis’ competing days are over, she will remain within the program’s inner workings. Her role is yet to be determined, but Georgia has found duties for its gymnasts who have previously retired due to medical reasons. Gracie Cherrey assisted with the team’s social media platform for two seasons after suffering a career-ending ailment. Davis could possibly serve in a similar role.
“I am very excited to continue to be a part of this team in other aspects,” Davis added in her statement. “I’m so thankful for the support of my coaches and teammates.”
Georgia head coach Courtney Kupets Carter enjoyed Davis’ qualities to the team. Those will continue to show away from the gym floor.
“Sami is so lighthearted, but very focused,” Kupets Carter said last season of Davis’ competitive nature that came from mastering a craft at the club level. “She wants to do her job well. ... She also embraces people right when you walk in a room.”
A dream takes a detour. Davis’ memories can be equally as sweet.
“I went through so much to get here,” she said. “It was all worth it. I’m so glad I can experience this.”