April 15, 2009
Photo Gallery | NCAA Nationals Central
LINCOLN, Neb. -
The Alabama Gymnastics team, the 2009 Southeastern Conference and NCAA Northeast Regional Champions, traveled to Lincoln, Neb. on Tuesday and went through the 2009 NCAA Gymnastics Championships' practice day here at the Bob Devaney Sports Center today. Now all that's left is competition and for the Crimson Tide, a shot at a fifth national title.
"We had a good day here," Alabama head coach Sarah Patterson said. "We came in and adjusted to the equipment and just tried to stay loose and get ready. Tomorrow is when the fun really gets started."
Thursday, day one of the NCAA Championships, will feature two sessions with six teams in each. The top-three teams from each of the sessions will move on to Friday's Super Six Team Final. Alabama has finished among the nation's top-six team 24 times over the past 26 years.
"The coaches told us that our motto for the rest of the season is `Finish Strong'," senior Ashley O'Neal said. "Coming in now it's just being mentally prepared. I think we did that very well over the last week."
Alabama, the championship's No. 3 seed, will be in the evening session starting at 7 p.m., along with No. 2 Utah, No. 6 Oregon State, No. 7 UCLA, No. 10 Arkansas and No. 11 Illinois. The afternoon session, which gets underway at 1 p.m., features No. 1 seeded Georgia along with No. 4 LSU, No. 5 Florida, No. 8 Oklahoma, No. 9 Stanford and No. 12 Penn State.
"We've been to a lot of national championships, and one thing I can say is it just never gets old," Patterson said at the championship press conference before the practice. "The excitement coming in and being here at the championships is amazing. We feel like we finished strong and put in a lot of work."
Alabama, which won an NCAA-best 24th regional title 10 days ago, is making its 27th consecutive NCAA Championship appearance. Only Utah, who has been to all 28 championship meets, has been to more.