April 7, 2014
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The 2014 Southeastern Conference and NCAA Seattle Regional Champion Alabama gymnastics team will compete in the evening session of the NCAA Championships Semifinals Friday, April 18 in the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Center (BJCC) starting at 7 p.m. CT, it was announced today.
"I can tell you that even after more than 30 years, advancing to the NCAA Championships never gets old," UA head coach Sarah Patterson said. "Our goal every year is to be on the floor of the national championships with a chance to win. This is the next step toward that goal."
Alabama, which won its eighth SEC title at the BJCC last month, advanced to its 32nd consecutive NCAA Championships on Saturday by winning its NCAA-best 29th regional championship in Seattle.
The Crimson Tide will face defending NCAA Champion Florida as well as past champions Utah and UCLA along with Penn State and Nebraska in the semifinal round of the NCAA Championships. LSU, Georgia, Oklahoma, Stanford, Michigan and Illinois compete in the first semifinal session on Friday starting at 1 p.m.
"We've competed against Florida and Nebraska twice this season and we're very familiar with Utah, UCLA and Penn State," Patterson said. "They're all great teams and we're going to have to be at our best to advance to the Super Six. That's what makes this championship so exciting - you have to be at your best if you want to advance."
The top-three teams from each semifinal will advance to the NCAA Super Six Team Final, which gets underway Saturday, April 19 at 6 p.m. Tickets for the Birmingham-based championships can be purchased at www.gymnasticschamps.com.
"We had such amazing support from our fans at the SEC Championships and that gave our ladies a tremendous boost," Patterson said. "We're looking forward to returning to Birmingham and competing for a national title in front of the best fans in the nation."
Alabama will start the semifinal session on a bye before starting competition on the uneven bars, the same rotation the Tide followed in Saturday's regional championships.
"We know that we have to compete on all four apparatus and we have to be at our best, so the order doesn't really matter to us," Patterson said. "That being said, I do like the fact that we are competing in the last rotation and control our own destiny as we attempt to advance to the Super Six."
This year marks the fifth time that the NCAA Championships have been hosted in the state of Alabama. The 1991, 1996 and 2002 championships were hosted in Tuscaloosa while the 2005 championships were hosted in Auburn. Alabama won the 1991, 1996 and 2002 championships and was second in 2005.