March 24, 2014
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - In a little bit of Crimson Tide déjà vu, for the second time in three years the Alabama gymnastics team will be heading to Seattle, Wash. and Alaska Airlines Arena as the No. 1 seed at the NCAA Seattle Regional Championships the NCAA announced Monday.
"The ladies were so excited when they learned they would be heading back to Seattle," UA head coach Sarah Patterson said. "They know that the last time we were out there in 2012, we had a great meet and had a lot of fun. It was probably one of the most spectacular trips of their careers."
The Crimson Tide goes into the Seattle Regional, which will be held on Saturday, April 5 at 4 p.m. PDT, having won an NCAA-best 28 regional titles. Alabama has also advanced to the NCAA Championships 31 years in a row. The top two teams from each of the six regionals across the country will move on to the NCAA Championships, which will be held April 18-20 in Birmingham, Ala.
"It's going to be a great competition," Patterson said. "At the regional championships you're going against the best of the best. You can't leave anything on the table."
Alabama, which won its eighth SEC Championship last Saturday, will be joined by No. 2 seed Nebraska, No. 3 seed Boise State, host-school Washington, Denver and BYU. The top-18 teams in the nation by regional qualifying score are seeded into the six regional sites. The remaining three teams come from within the region. Alabama already faced Nebraska earlier this season at the Ozone Classic in Knoxville, Tenn.
"At last week's SEC Championships everything was focused on the win, at regionals it's all about advancing," Patterson said.
It will only be Alabama's second trip to Seattle and its second trip to the west coast for a regional since 2006.
The Tide will start the regional on a bye before starting competition on the uneven bars. From there, Alabama will move to the balance beam before going to the second of two byes. The Tide then goes to the floor exercise and finishes on vault. The last time Alabama competed in Seattle, they also started competition on the uneven bars.
Each regional team will have an individual gymnast from a school that did not advance rotating with it. Sacramento State's Jessie Williams will rotate with the Crimson Tide. In a final bit of déjà vu, the last time Alabama competed in Seattle, their all-arounder also hailed from Sacramento State. The top two all-arounders from each regional from a team that is not advancing will also earn a bid to Birmingham.
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