Jan. 9, 2014
Is it time yet? (videos)
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The wait is over. The No. 2 Alabama gymnastics team opens its 2014 season this Friday at 7:30 p.m. against Southeastern Conference foe Missouri in Coleman Coliseum.
"Our ladies are ready to go out and compete," UA head coach Sarah Patterson said. "We're at that point in our season where we're probably not going to get a lot better until we have a meet."
The Crimson Tide returns 11 veterans, including a trio of All-American seniors - Kim Jacob, Diandra Milliner and Sarah DeMeo - and six All-Americans overall. There are also six freshmen on this year's team, including two, Aja Sims and Keely McNeer, who graduated early from high school and have joined the Tide for the spring semester.
"Every year, we start with a new team," Patterson said. "It doesn't matter if we have two freshmen, like we did last year, or six like we do right now, every team has its own personality, its own chemistry and its own story to tell."
Friday marks the second year in a row that Alabama has opened the season with Missouri, now in its second year as a member of the SEC. The meet has been designated as "Youth Night" in Coleman Coliseum with $3 admission for kids under 12 using the promo code GYMYOU.
There will also be numerous giveaways during the meet, including a flat screen television, iPad minis and gift cards. Tickets are available through the Alabama Ticket Office (205.348.2262) located in the lobby of Coleman Coliseum and online at RollTide.com.
Missouri, led by first-year head coach Shannon Welker, is considered one of the nation's up and coming programs.
"I think Shannon is doing a great job and has his team moving in the right direction," Patterson said.
The Tide will start the 2014 season on the vault, where it has been one of the nation's top teams over the last several years, anchored by Milliner, the 2013 NCAA vault champion. Alabama will close the night on the floor exercise, another traditional strength for the Tide.
"I can't wait for our fans to see this year's routines, especially on the floor exercise," Patterson said. "I think everyone will love what we bring to the floor this season. It is definitely going to be exciting."
The radio broadcast of the meet, featuring Leesa Davis and Rich Robinson, will be carried on WVUA 90.7 FM and can also be heard over the internet via a link that can be found on the meet central page at RollTide.com. Fans can also keep up with the Tide via Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube by following BamaGymnastics.