Friday, March 10, 2006
After a three-week break, the No. 3 ranked Alabama Gymnastics team returns to Coleman Coliseum this Friday, March 10 to take on No. 8 Stanford starting at 7:30 p.m.
It marks the Pac-10 power’s third trip to Tuscaloosa and first since the 2002 NCAA Championships. It is Stanford’s first regular season appearance at the Capstone since the 2001 Super Six Challenge. Friday’s meet, the fourth regular season meeting between the two programs, is part of a home-and-home series that started with the Tide’s West Coast trip last season.
When Alabama and Stanford tied for third at the 2004 NCAA Championships held in Los Angeles it was the Cardinal’s highest ever national finish and it earned their coach, Kristen Smyth coach of the year honors.
“Stanford is a very talented team and they are obviously on a roll right now,” Alabama head coach Sarah Patterson said.
After an injury plagued 2005 season, Smyth has her charges right back in the top 10 this year. Stanford jumped from 12th to 8th in the rankings this week and is coming off its first ever dual-meet win against the UCLA Bruins, winners of three of the last five NCAA Titles.
The Cardinal are led by sophomore Liz Tricase, the nation’s No. 1 ranked uneven bars worker. Tricase has scored three consecutive 10.0s on the bars coming into Friday’s meet. Stanford is 12-2-0 overall coming into the weekend and 5-1-0 in the Pac-10.
Alabama is 12-1-0 overall and 5-1-0 and coming off a win at No. 7 LSU and has been steadily building to this point in the season.
“I think we’re ready to take some significant steps forward this weekend,” Patterson said. “We’ve been getting better throughout the season, as I think you have to with a young team, and now we’re at the point where several things are ready to click in place at once.”
The Tide is paced by senior three-time NCAA Champion Ashley Miles, who is No. 1 in the nation on the vault and No. 2 on the floor exercise. Sophomore Terin Humphrey, the defending NCAA Uneven Bars Champion, has been on a roll of her own lately. She has won three of her last four all-around appearances and posted a season best 39.425 in the all-around at LSU last weekend.
The Tide’s freshman class, the largest in school history, has been doing its part as well. Of the Tide’s 194 routines to this point in the season, nearly half have been from the rookies. Freshmen Melanie Banville, Brittany Magee and Cassie Martin have all chalked up wins during the season.
Friday is also Alumni Night for the Crimson Tide with a number of former Tide gymnasts making their way back to Tuscaloosa. The 1996 NCAA Championship team in particular will be celebrating their 10th anniversary.
Tickets for the Tide’s last two home meets (Stanford on March 10 and Auburn on March 17) can be purchased online at http://www.rolltide.com/ or at the Alabama Ticket Office (205.348.2262) located in the lobby of Coleman Coliseum.