Gymnastics Continues Extraordinary Academic Achievement

ROLLTIDEDOTCOM Seniors Ashley Priess and Ashley Sledge both earned NCAA Postgraduate Scholarships this spring.
Seniors Ashley Priess and Ashley Sledge both earned NCAA Postgraduate Scholarships this spring.

April 25, 2013

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - As amazing a season as the Alabama gymnastics team has enjoyed in the gym - earning its fifth top-3 NCAA finish in as many years after winning its NCAA-best 28th regional title and advancing to its NCAA-best 19th Super Six Team Final - the Crimson Tide has enjoyed even more success in the classroom.

Academic accolades have come pouring in as the Tide comes to the end of the school year, including a trio of NCAA Postgraduate Scholarships, a fourth NCAA Elite 89 Award, a league-best 14 gymnasts on the Southeastern Conference Academic Honor Roll, the SEC Gymnastics Scholar-Athlete of the Year and a prestigious Goldwater Scholarship.

"At the University of Alabama we are always striving to be the best in everything we do and I can't think of a better example of that than the success that we've enjoyed both academically and athletically this season," UA head coach Sarah Patterson said. "Our ladies have been to more NCAA Super Six Team Finals than any other school in the nation and we all also lead the nation in NCAA Postgraduate Scholarships by a wide margin. There is no doubt that at Alabama, you can truly have it all."

At the NCAA Championship Banquet, junior Kim Jacob continued Alabama's complete dominance of the NCAA Elite 89 Award, given annually to the student-athlete at each of the NCAA's 89 championships with the highest grade point average. Alabama is the only gymnastics program to earn the award in its four-year history. Jacob, a seven-time All-American who carries a perfect 4.0 GPA in exercise science, was also named the SEC Gymnastics Scholar-Athlete of the Year for the second year in a row by a vote of the league's coaches.

Following the Tide's NCAA Championship run, seniors Ashley Priess and Ashley Sledge were awarded NCAA Postgraduate Scholarships. Sledge was also awarded one of just 26 NCAA Ethnic Minority and Women's Enhancement Scholarships given out this year. Alabama leads the nation by a significant margin in NCAA Postgraduate Scholarships with 15 overall. Priess, a 10-time All-American, earned her undergraduate degree in December 2011 and will complete her master's degree this May. Sledge, a two-time All-American, finished her undergraduate degree in December 2012 and plans on starting a master's degree this fall.

After putting 14 upperclassmen on the SEC Academic Honor Roll, Alabama now owns 260 accolades since the award's inception in 1984, better than two dozen more than any other gymnastics program in the conference. Among those earning the award this season was six-time All-American and two-year Scholastic All-American Diandra Milliner, who won the Tide's 24th individual national championship last Sunday when she took first place on the vault. She was also second on the floor exercise by .0125 in event finals.

Junior Ria Domier is closing out a particularly spectacular semester when it comes to academic honors. The Davis, Calif., native was awarded a prestigious Goldwater Scholarship by the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation which is designed to foster and encourage outstanding students to pursue careers in mathematics, natural sciences and engineering and is the premier undergraduate award of its type in these fields.

Domier was also named UA's Outstanding Senior in Chemical & Biological Engineering and was inducted into Mortar Board and Omega Chi Epsilon honor societies, as well as XXXI, the University of Alabama's elite women's honorary. She is currently pursuing both an undergraduate and master's degree in chemical engineering and slated to graduate with both in May of 2014.

There are other accolades on the way as the Tide heads into exams and the conclusion of a spring semester that has been second to none in so many ways.