Feb. 16, 2012
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -
The No. 6 Alabama gymnastics team hosts No. 5 Arkansas Friday, Feb. 17 at 7:30 p.m. in Coleman Coliseum in the eighth annual Power of Pink meet. Head coach Sarah Patterson's Power of Pink initiative, sponsored by Tuscaloosa Toyota, helps raise awareness in the fight against breast cancer.
"It's going to be a great meet and I fully expect it to come down, once again, to the last two athletes on each side on the last rotation," Patterson said. "But more than that, it's for a tremendous cause, one that this community has truly embraced."
Both the Crimson Tide and the Razorbacks, who also competed in the 2008 Power of Pink meet, will put aside their school colors for the night and wear pink leotards. Fans are also encouraged to "Think Pink and Wear Pink" for the event.
The meet will be broadcast, on a tape delayed basis, on ESPNU with Olympians Bart Conner and Kathy Johnson Clarke calling the action. The Tide's radio broadcast can be found locally on WVUA-FM 90.7 or online through RollTide.com.
Heading into the meet, Alabama is 7-0 on the season and 4-0 in Southeastern Conference competition while Arkansas, which has been ranked as high as No. 1 this season, is 9-3 overall and 3-2 in the SEC. In Alabama's last home meet against the Florida Gators, the Tide posted the third highest score in the nation this year with a 197.725, while the Razorbacks posted a school-record 197.225 against LSU earlier in the season.
Senior Ashley Priess, who made her return to the all-around against Florida, is ranked No. 1 nationally in the all-around and ninth on the uneven bars. Juniors Ashley Sledge and Marissa Gutierrez are ranked in the top-10 nationally on the vault, coming in at No. 5 and No. 9, respectively.
The Razorbacks, which are celebrating their 10th anniversary as varsity program this season, are led by senior Jaime Pisani, who is No. 1 nationally on the floor exercise and is seventh on the uneven bars. Senior Mariah Howdeshell is ranked fourth on the uneven bars while sophomore Katherine Grable is ranked fourth on the vault, fifth on the balance beam and is seventh in the all-around.
In addition to the normal array of giveaways and promotions that go along with an Alabama gymnastics meet the Tide and Tuscaloosa Toyota will be giving away 2000 pink t-shirts, a laptop, a television, a dozen iPod Shuffles, hats and umbrellas in honor of the Power of Pink.
In addition to being the Tide's annual "pink" meet, Friday is also Alabama gymnastics' alumni night. Prior to the meet, past members of the Alabama gymnastics family will be recognized, including the 2002 NCAA Championship team, which is celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Tide's fourth national title.
Tickets for Friday's Power of Pink meet are available through the Alabama Ticket Office (205.348.2262) located in the lobby of Coleman Coliseum, and online at RollTide.com.