Gymnastics Seeded Third at National Championships

ROLLTIDEDOTCOM Senior Ashley O'Neal is advancing to NCAA Championships for the fourth year in a row.
ROLLTIDEDOTCOM
Senior Ashley O'Neal is advancing to NCAA Championships for the fourth year in a row.
ROLLTIDEDOTCOM

April 6, 2009

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The Alabama Gymnastics team, which advanced to its 27th consecutive NCAA Championship on Saturday by winning its NCAA-best 24th regional title, will compete in the evening session of the preliminary round on Thursday, April 16 in Lincoln, Neb.

"We are very excited to be competing at the NCAA Championships and to represent this great university at the highest level of competition," Alabama head coach Sarah Patterson said. "Advancing to the national championships never gets old. I am as excited this time as I was the very first time in 1983."

The No. 3 seeded Crimson Tide will be joined in the evening session by No. 2 seed Utah, No. 6 Oregon State, No. 7 UCLA, No. 10 Arkansas and No. 11 Illinois. The afternoon session will be comprised of No. 1 seed Georgia, No. 4 LSU, No. 5 Florida, No. 8 Oklahoma, No. 9 Stanford and No. 12 Penn State.

The Crimson Tide will have a touch of the home team with it on Thursday. Host school Nebraska did not advance as team but the Husker's Kylie Stone, the Big 12 Gymnast of the Year, earned a bid as an all-arounder and will rotate with Alabama.

The seeding is determined by National Qualifying Score which takes a team's regional qualifying score (RQS) and adds the team's score from the regional championships. Alabama, which was ranked third by RQS at the end of the season, also posted the nation's third highest regional score with a 197.000.

"The National Qualifying Score has helped ensure that no one session is overloaded and that we have an equal chance to advance no matter if you compete in the afternoon or evening session," Patterson said.

Alabama also learned that it will start its preliminary session on the floor exercise and will then proceed to the vault before sitting out on a bye and then finishing out its rotation on the uneven bars and balance beam before closing out the night on its second bye.

"We have finished more than half our meets this season on the balance beam, including Saturday at the regional championships when we had the best score of the meet on the beam," Patterson said. "Regardless of where we start or finish, we have to go out and hit all four events and do our job."

The top three seeds mirror the final rankings before the regional meets and of the 12 team that are advancing to the NCAA Championships final site, only Illinois, which upset Auburn in the West regional, was ranked outside the top 12 coming into last weekend. The Illini were 14th by RQS.

Evening Session
Seed Team National Qualifying Score  NCAA Regional Starting Event
(Final RQS Ranking)
2 Utah 394.865 (2) West Bye b/f Bars
3 Alabama 393.925 (3) Northeast Floor
6 Oregon State 393.320 (8) Central Beam
7 UCLA 393.205 (7) North Central Vault
10 Arkansas 392.740 (10) South Central Bye b/f Floor
11 Illinois 392.715 (14) West Bars
Afternoon Session
Seed Team National Qualifying Score  NCAA Regional Starting Event
(Final RQS Ranking)
1 Georgia 394.955 (1) Southeast Bye b/f Floor
4 LSU 393.635 (5) Central Beam
5 Florida 393.490 (6) North Central Floor
8 Oklahoma 393.065 (9) Northeast Bars
9 Stanford 392.025 (4)  South Central Vault
12 Penn State 392.040 (12) Southeast Bye b/f Bars