Friday, February 13, 2004
LEXINGTON, KY – It was a busy night for Alabama junior Shannon Hrozek as the No. 1 ranked Alabama Gymnastics squad beat Kentucky here in Memorial Coliseum, 197.075-195.075.
For the first time this season, The Woodlands, Texas native went all four events, posting a 39.300 all-around score. A regular on the three events through the first five meets of the season, Hrozek added in the floor exercise tonight.
“Shannon did a great job,” Alabama head coach Sarah Patterson said. “She performed very well for her first all-around of the season. What I liked about tonight is that we moved different people in and out of the lineup, changed things around during the meet and we still came away with another 197 score.”
It was Alabama’s sixth consecutive 197 score of the season, adding to the best scoring start in Tide history. Alabama goes to 10-0 on the season and 4-0 in the Southeastern Conference.
“We still have some areas we need to improve in,” Patterson said. “But I thought overall we did a great job tonight and our execution was much cleaner.”
The Tide had a flurry of debuts tonight. In addition to Hrozek, sophomore Larissa Stewart made her season debut on the uneven bars and junior Alexis Brion made her Alabama debut on the balance beam. In exhibition, sophomore Ashley Miles went on the balance beam for the first time in a Crimson Tide uniform. Patterson’s lineup shuffle also gave Miles and senior Jeana Rice a rest on the floor exercise.
“Every decision we made tonight was designed to give us experience and depth down the road,” Patterson said. “It was great to be able to get to rest Jeana and Ashley on the floor exercise and I’m especially proud of Dana Pierce, because I substituted her into the balance lineup at the last second to give her some more experience and she handled it beautifully.”
Alabama rocked the vault, posting its second highest total of the season, a 49.500, capped by another 10.0 from Miles. It was the fourth 10.0 vault of the defending NCAA Champion’s career and the second in three meets. Out of her 19 career UA vaults, Miles has scored 9.9 or better 18 times. Rice and junior Alexis Brion both posted 9.925s and Hrozek got the Tide started with a 9.9, tying her career best. Kentucky scored a 48.825 on the vault, keyed by senior Aronda Primault’s 9.825.
“It was great to see Ashley rewarded with a 10.0 for that vault,” Patterson said. “I think she’s done that same vault several times this season and it’s great to see it recognized that way.”
Alabama started things off with a 49.200 on the uneven bars, led by a 9.925 from Rice, a 9.85 from sophomore Mari Bayer and a 9.825 from sophomore Larrissa Stewart. It was Rice’s sixth consecutive uneven bars score of 9.9 or better this season. For Stewart it was her 2004 competitive debut. Stewart cut a tendon in her hand during the fall in a household accident. She returned to full practice in December and has gone exhibition in the last two meets. Stewart earned second team All-SEC on the uneven bars last season. Kentucky posted a 49.150 on the uneven bars, led by a pair of 9.85s.
On the floor exercise, Alabama came up with a 49.200, led by Brion’s 9.925 in the final spot. Alabama counted a trio of 9.825s in its total, coming from senior Lauren Holdefer in the lead off spot, Bayer and senior Stephanie Kite. Hrozek made her 2004 floor exercise debut, posting a 9.8. Kentucky, led by a 9.9 from junior Michelle Gale, posted a 49.050 on the floor exercise.
Alabama finished off the night with a solid 49.125 on the balance beam, highlighted by 9.85s from junior Michelle Reeser and Bayer. Sophomore Rachael Delahoussaye added a 9.825 and Hrozek and Pierce posted 9.8s. Kentucky posted a 48.000 on the beam led by a 9.85 from sophomore Staci O’Keefe.
Alabama returns to Tuscaloosa and Coleman Coliseum Friday, Feb. 20 against the Georgia Bulldogs. Fans are encouraged to get their tickets early for this blockbuster event. Tickets are available through the Alabama Ticket Office (205.348.2262) located in the Coliseum lobby, or online at www.rolltide.com.