April 20, 2014
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - The last trophy given out on the final day of the 2014 national championships went to Alabama senior Kim Jacob as the NCAA All-Around champion, who received the highest individual honor of the championships in front of a cheering throng of gymnastics fans.
"I'm so proud of Kim," UA head coach Sarah Patterson said. "She has been a quiet star for us throughout her career. She flew under the radar at times, but there has never been any doubt in my mind that she is a champion."
Jacob scored a 39.625 in the all-around during Friday's semifinal, the only day in which all gymnasts who qualified for the championships compete. It was Alabama's sixth national all-around title and 25th individual NCAA championship.
During Sunday's individual event finals, Jacob competed on the uneven bars, balance beam and floor exercise, boosting her overall event total to 11 of a possible 12 over the three days of NCAA competition the most of any gymnast in the Birmingham-based competition.
"We don't compete two days in a row during the season, much less three days, so it's a long weekend for our ladies," Patterson said. "For Kim to be the only gymnast at the championships to compete 11 routines in three days, that's pretty amazing."
The Raleigh, N.C., native was fifth on the floor exercise with a 9.9375, sixth on the uneven bars with a 9.85 and, after a fall, scored a 9.375 to finish 15th on the beam.
The Tide had a trio of seniors competing in event finals, with Diandra Milliner on the floor exercise and Sarah DeMeo on the balance beam. Junior Lauren Beers also made finals on the floor exercise.
"I think it was fitting that Sarah, Kim and Diandra were able to close out their career together on the last day," Patterson said. "That whole senior class has meant so much our program."
Milliner took sixth on the floor exercise with a 9.9125 while DeMeo was 12th on the balance beam with a 9.85. Beers scored a 9.9 as the first gymnast up on the floor exercise, taking eighth place overall.
Milliner closed the final routine of her career with an Arabian double front, bringing the entire arena to its feet and making her the only gymnast in event finals to close her routine with an "E" tumbling pass, the most difficult skill level in collegiate gymnastics.
As a team, Alabama took fourth during Friday's NCAA Super Six Team Finals, for its sixth top-four finish in a row. The Tide is the only program in the nation to be on the floor the last night to team competition with a chance to win a national title.