April 9, 2012
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -
After earning its 30th consecutive trip to the NCAA Championships final site last Saturday by winning the Seattle Regional Championship, the Alabama gymnastics team learned on Monday that it will compete in the evening session of the NCAA semifinals on Friday, April 20 in Duluth, Ga. starting at 6 p.m. ET. The team also learned its competition and rotation order.
"I think being in the evening session on Friday works to our advantage," UA head coach Sarah Patterson said. "The excitement and energy that comes from competing at night is electric and will mirror the atmosphere at the SEC Championships."
Alabama is the winner of five NCAA titles, including last year's championship in Cleveland, Ohio. The No. 4 seeded Crimson Tide will face a virtual rematch of last month's Southeastern Conference Championships, which were also held in Duluth, in the evening session of this year's semifinals, taking on No. 1 Florida, No. 5 Georgia and No. 8 Arkansas along with No. 9 Oregon State and No. 12 Ohio State.
The afternoon session, which starts at 12 p.m. ET, features No. 2 UCLA, No. 3 Oklahoma, No. 6 Nebraska, No. 7 Utah, No. 10 Stanford and No. 11 LSU.
"I've always said that one of the benefits of competing in the SEC is that it prepares you so well for the championship season," Patterson said. "With four SEC teams in one session and a fifth in the other session, that's obviously very true again this season."
The seeding is determined by national qualifying score (NQS) which takes each of the 12 teams' regional championship score and regional qualifying score (RQS) and adds them together. Alabama was ranked fourth going into regionals with a 197.245 RQS to which it added a 197.025 regional championship score to come up with a 394.270 NQS.
"We're so excited to be going back to Duluth and have an opportunity to compete for another national championship," Patterson said. "Even after 30 years in a row, the feeling of advancing to the NCAA final site never grows old."
The Tide will start its semifinal session on the balance beam before moving to the first of two byes on the evening. From there, Alabama will move to the floor exercise then the vault. After its second bye of the evening, the Tide will finish on the uneven bars.
"I don't think it matters where we start, we know that we have to do a great job on all four events in order to advance to the Super Six Finals," Patterson said. "The competition is so fierce that no team can afford to have an off event and hope to move on."
Each of the 12 teams competing on Friday will have an all-arounder from a team that didn't advance rotating with them. Boise State's Amy Glass will rotate with Alabama.
Alabama won its NCAA-best 27th regional title to advance to Duluth. The Tide is one of just two teams in collegiate gymnastics history that has advanced to the NCAA Championships final site 30 or more years in a row.
The top-three teams from each semifinal session will advance to the NCAA Super Six Team Finals which will get underway Saturday, April 21 at 4 p.m. ET in the Arena at Gwinnett Place.