Jan. 15, 2009
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -
When the Alabama gymnastics team opens its 2009 home schedule Friday, Jan. 16 at 7:30 p.m. against the Kentucky Wildcats, it will mark the Crimson Tide's only glimpse of the home crowd in the season's first month.
"Our ladies are so excited to compete in front of our fans, and I think Friday will be even more exciting for them knowing it's the only time we'll be at home in the month of January," Alabama head coach Sarah Patterson said.
The No. 6 ranked Tide opened the year at Auburn, earning its 96th consecutive win against the Tigers by a narrow 195.675-195.650 margin. The Wildcats, ranked 24th in the preseason coaches' poll, opened their season at home last weekend with a win over Utah State.
"We knew coming into the season, with the challenges we have been working through, that we would be a team that would build week-to-week," Patterson said. "Last week was all about getting our starting point and I think that on three events, this team couldn't have done much better than we did and on the balance beam I thought we were superb for the first meet of the season."
Alabama scored a 49.225 on the balance beam with a lineup that included three freshmen, Ashley Priess, Geralen Stack-Eaton and Caitlin Sullivan, to clinch the win against the Tigers. Stack-Eaton and Priess anchored the lineup, scoring 9.825 and 9.875 respectively.
For her first meet in an Alabama uniform, Priess was named SEC Freshman Gymnast of the Week while junior Morgan Dennis, who scored a 9.925 to win the vault against Auburn, is ranked second in the nation in that event. Senior Brittany Magee and junior Ricki Lebegern both come into Friday's meet ranked in the top-10 nationally in the all-around.
Tickets are available through the Alabama Ticket Office (205.348.2262) located in the lobby of Coleman Coliseum, and online at RollTide.com. UA students are admitted free with their Action Card. The first 125 students at each meet are eligible to sit on the floor in the Ten Troupe area and will receive a free t-shirt as well.
It will be "Kids Rock" night in Coleman Coliseum with giveaways that include the High School Musical Game, a Hannah Montana DVD, a Hannah Montana MP3 Player, a High School Musical MP3 Player, a Camp Rock DVD and a Camp Rock Game. In addition, at every meet there will be the Tuscaloosa Toyota Best Seat in the House, where the winner will be moved to floor seats and will win a 42" plasma television.
Each home meet will also see UA students win prizes in the Tuscaloosa Toyota Student Sweepstakes. One student each meet will qualify to win $1000 off tuition, one student will win $100 in Bama Cash, another will win a $250 book scholarship and seven students will win a $100 gas card.