March 25, 2013
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The two-time defending NCAA Champion Alabama Gymnastics team is the No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tuscaloosa Regional Championships which will be held in Coleman Coliseum Saturday, April 6 at 6 p.m., the NCAA announced today.
"This is the most important meet of the year and certainly the most pressure packed for all the teams," UA head coach Sarah Patterson said. "For us, to have a chance to defend our title, we have to do a great job at this meet."
The Crimson Tide will be joined by No. 2 seed Utah, No. 3 seed Denver, Kent State, BYU and Iowa State. The top-18 teams in the nation by regional qualifying score are seeded into the six regional sites. The remaining three teams are slotted into regionals by proximity and national ranking.
The top two teams from each regional move on to the NCAA Championships, which will be held April 19-21 in Los Angeles.
This will mark the 13th time Alabama has hosted a regional, with the last time coming in 2011 when the Tide won the regional and led the nation in regional attendance. Alabama has won an NCAA-best 27 regional titles and advanced to the NCAA Championships 30 years in a row.
The Tide will start the regional on the vault and will then move to a bye before advancing to the uneven bars and balance beam. After the balance beam, the Tide moves to its second bye before finishing the meet off on the floor exercise.
This year will mark the first time that Alabama and Utah, with 15 NCAA Championships between them, have shared the floor at a regional championship. Two of the most storied programs in the history of collegiate gymnastics, the Tide and Utes lead the nation in attendance for all women's sports. Utah has been to the most NCAA Championships, having advanced to all 31, while the Tide has been to 30 consecutive NCAA Championships.
"What you're seeing in this regional is two of the most historic teams in the history of NCAA women's gymnastics competing in the same regional," Patterson said. "They've been to 31 NCAA Championships, we've been to 30. I think Denver has been one of the great up and coming programs for a while now, so it's going to be a tough meet."
Each regional team will have an individual gymnast from a school that did not advance rotating with it. Western Michigan's Kayla Weber will rotate with the Crimson Tide. The top two all-arounders from each regional from a team that is not advancing will also earn a bid to Los Angeles.
Regional tickets are available through RollTide.com and the Alabama Ticket Office (205.348.2262) located in the lobby of Coleman Coliseum. Unlike the regular season, there is no free admission for UA students, but the Medalist Club, the gymnastics team's booster organization, has purchased tickets so that the first 2,000 Alabama students will get tickets with a valid ACTion card.