April 5, 2013
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -
With the practice day behind them, the No. 1 seeded Alabama gymnastics team is fully prepared for what Alabama gymnastics coach Sarah Patterson terms "the most important meet of the year," the NCAA Tuscaloosa Regional Gymnastics Championships, which will be held Saturday at 6 p.m. in Coleman Coliseum.
"This is the meet that advances you to the national championships," Patterson said. "It doesn't matter what you've done all season, you have to do your job on that night or you don't get to move on. In that way, we're a lot like basketball at this time of year."
The two-time defending NCAA champions will face No. 9 Utah and No. 15 Denver, the Tuscaloosa Regional's second and third seeded teams, as well as No. 23 Kent State, BYU and Iowa State for one of the two team berths available from this regional to the Los Angeles based national championships.
The six teams, five individual all-arounders and four event specialists that comprise the Tuscaloosa Regional all practiced in Coleman Coliseum on Friday. In addition to the two teams that will advance, the top two all-arounders who are not on an advancing team will also punch their tickets to the NCAA Championships on Saturday.
Tickets are available through RollTide.com and the Alabama Ticket Office (205.348.2262) located in the lobby of Coleman Coliseum. The first 2,000 UA students will receive free admission with a valid ACTion card courtesy of the Medalist Club, Alabama gymnastics booster organization.
Hosting a regional for the 13th time, the Tide has advanced to nationals for the past 30 years in a row and has won 27 regional titles since 1982, including the last eight in a row. Saturday's meet marks the first time that Alabama and Utah - two of the most accomplished programs in gymnastics history - have competed in the same regional. The two teams combine for 15 NCAA Championships titles and lead the nation in attendance for women's collegiate athletics.
Alabama comes into the regional riding a 34-0 home-win streak that stretches out over four-plus years and includes a combined 10-0 mark as hosts of the 2009 and 2011 Tuscaloosa-based regional championships.
The Tide is led by junior Kim Jacob, who helped Alabama to its highest team score of the year at the SEC Championship last month with a career-high 49.525 in the all-around. During the regular season, Jacob won five of the six meets that she has participated in the all-around competition. She was also named the 2013 SEC Gymnastics Scholar-Athlete of the year for the second year in a row.
Alabama kicks the regional off on the vault before moving to its first bye. The Tide will then compete in the uneven bars and the balance beam before moving to its second bye. The Tide will finish things off on the floor exercise where they are ranked No. 1 in the nation.