Jan. 10, 2013
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -
The two-time defending NCAA Champion Alabama gymnastics team opens the 2013 season against newly-minted Southeastern Conference opponent Missouri, traveling to Columbia to face off against the Tigers this Friday at 6:30 p.m. CT in the Hearnes Center.
Friday also marks Missouri's season opener and its first SEC meet. While the meet marks the first time Alabama has competed in Columbia, the two teams have met several times in the past, including a dual meet in Tuscaloosa last season when the Crimson Tide came out on top 197.175-195.375.
"We're excited to get going," UA head coach Sarah Patterson said. "Our ladies are ready to get their season started, to start this journey together. We're also at a point in the season where we need a competition in order to see where we are and to get our starting point."
Alabama returns seven All-Americans to its lineup, including a trio of seniors in Ashley Priess, Ashley Sledge and Marissa Gutierrez. Priess, who is finishing a Master's degree in sports marketing, is just the second fifth-year senior in Alabama gymnastics history. The Tigers are led by sophomore All-American Rachel Updike. Patterson is in her 35th season as the Tide's head coach while Missouri coach Rob Drass is in his 13th season with the Tigers.
This week's meet marks the 20th times since 1979 that the Tide has opened its season on the road. Alabama goes into Friday's meet sporting a 56-8-1 record in season openers, including last year's 196.475-196.325 win at home against Georgia.
The meet will be broadcast, on a tape-delayed basis, by CSS with Melissa Lee and Courtney Puckett calling the action. CSS will show the meet on Jan. 15 at 8 p.m. CT. The meet will be aired live on the radio via WVUA 90.7-FM by Rich Robinson and Leesa Davis.
After facing off against the Tigers on Friday, Alabama returns to Tuscaloosa for its home opener against another set of SEC Tigers when LSU makes its way to Coleman Coliseum on Jan. 18. Season and individual meet tickets are on sale now through the Alabama Ticket Office (205.348.2262) located in the lobby of the coliseum, or online at RollTide.com.