April 6, 2012
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SEATTLE, Wash. - The No. 4 Alabama gymnastics team made its first ever visit to Alaska Airline Arena on the University of Washington campus Friday for the practice day of the NCAA Seattle Regional Championships.
"After traveling and getting acclimated Wednesday and Thursday, it was good for the ladies to get moving today. We had a good practice, adjusting well to the equipment," UA head coach Sarah Patterson said.
With the practice day behind them, the No. 1 seeded Crimson Tide begins competition Saturday at 4 p.m. PDT when they'll be joined by No. 2 seed LSU (ranked 9th nationally), No. 3 Arizona (16th), Washington (23rd), Iowa (30th) and Central Michigan (36th).
In addition to facing LSU for the third time this season, Alabama will also compete against Central Michigan for the third straight year in a regional championship. The Tide will face the host-school, Washington, for the first time since the 1997 NCAA Championships.
The top two teams from each of the six regional sites across the country will advance to the NCAA Championships, which will be held April 20-22 in Duluth, Ga. in the Arena at Gwinnett Place, the site of last month's SEC Championships.
"This is the part of the season that we're the most like basketball," Patterson said. "We have to do our job to advance. We've told the ladies, we don't have to be perfect, we just have to be very, very good."
Alabama won its NCAA-best 26th regional in Tuscaloosa last season. The Tide swept the individual regional titles last year, with senior Geralen Stack-Eaton taking home the balance beam title and 2011 graduate Kayla Hoffmanwinning the vault, uneven bars, floor exercise and the all-around.
The Tide will start the regional on the uneven bars before moving to the balance beam. After a bye, Alabama will compete on the floor exercise followed by vault. The Tide will finish the meet with a bye during the sixth and final rotation.
"We've started on the uneven bars in half our meet this season, so it's something our ladies are accustomed to," Patterson said.
Fans can follow all the action from the Seattle Regional on WVUA-FM radio, located at 90.7 on the FM dial or online at www.wvuafm.ua.edu. Links to live scoring and Washington's video stream can be found at RollTide.com and GymTide.com.