April 5, 2014
SEATTLE, Wa. -
The Alabama gymnastics team won its NCAA-best 29th regional championship Saturday night in Seattle, Wa., outscoring second-place Nebraska 197.550-196.975. Both schools advance to the NCAA Championships which will be held April 18-22 in Birmingham, Ala.
"Advancing to the finals of the NCAA Championships never gets old," UA head coach Sarah Patterson said. "I think there's a lot of pressure around this meet and certainly we traveled a long way to get here, but we were able to come out and do our job and advance to the NCAA finals, and that has been our goal since day one of the season."
Senior Kim Jacob led the way with a 39.500 in the all-around while fellow senior Sarah DeMeo scored a 39.425 in her first all-around appearance since Feb. 14. Freshman Katie Bailey scored a 39.400 in the all-around, her second highest tally of her season.
"Not everything was perfect tonight, we had some struggles, but people just kept going and making adjustments and doing exactly what we needed them to do," Patterson said.
Alabama started things off with a 49.300 on the uneven bars led by senior Kim Jacob's 9.9 before moving to the balance beam were matching 9.9s from Jacob and freshman Aja Sims paced the Crimson Tide to a 49.325 team mark. On the floor exercise senior Diandra Milliner led Alabama to a 49.325 with a 9.900.
After a good start on its first three events, Alabama dominated the vault, scoring a 49.600 behind a 9.95 from sophomore Lauren Beers and 9.9 or better scores from freshman Katie Bailey, junior Kaitlyn Clark, Jacob and Milliner.
In addition to winning its 29th NCAA Regional Championship, Alabama is advancing to the NCAA Championships final site for the 32nd year in a row, the second-longest streak in the history of collegiate gymnastics.
The victory also gives Sarah Patterson the 1,000th win of her career. Patterson is only the second coach in collegiate gymnastics to earn 1,000 wins and she is the fastest to a 1,000, notching the total in the 12th meet of her 36th year, while Utah head coach Greg Marsden, who passed the 1,000 win barrier earlier this season, did it in the fourth meet of his 39th season at the helm.