April 27, 2014
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The Alabama gymnastics team celebrated the 2014 season Sunday night with its annual awards banquet, hosted by The Medalist Club, the program's booster organization and held at "The Zone" located in North End Zone of Bryant-Denny Stadium, with more than 300 in attendance.
In a season filled with highlights, milestones and championships there was much to celebrate, including the Crimson Tide's eighth Southeastern Conference Championship, its NCAA-best 29th regional title and its NCAA-best 20th Super Six appearance. In the midst of all that, Alabama became the only team in the country to finish in the top-four at the NCAA Championships each of the last six years. Coaches Sarah and David Patterson also notched the 1,000th win of the Alabama career at the NCAA Seattle Regional while Alabama led the nation in overall attendance (home and away).
Sarah Patterson presented the inaugural Fern Hampton Academic Award to senior Ria Domier. The award, named for the Tide's long-time academic advisor, will be given to the member of the gymnastics program that makes the most of their academic talents. Domier, who is slated to graduate in May with both her undergraduate and master's degree in chemical engineering, certainly fits the bill. She carries a perfect 4.0 grade point average for her career and earned a prestigious Goldwater Scholarship among countless academic honors.
Junior Kayla Williamswas honored with the Lewis Each Courage Award, which Patterson calls the most prestigious honor bestowed by the team. Williams accepted the award from Jean and Winston Each, the parents of the honor's namesake, the late Lewis Each.
Dr. Jimmy Robinson, the Tide's team physician since its first NCAA Championship in 1988, was honored with the David Dutton Memorial Award, given to those who consistently go above and beyond in the service of the Alabama Gymnastics program.
The Pat Huet President's Award went to Alabama's long-time Director of Operations Rita Martin. Both outgoing Medalist Club President Pat Huet and incoming president Jack Goertz spoke of the Tide's season of excellence and excitement for the future.
Senior Kim Jacob along with Williams and fellow junior Kaitlyn Clarkwere voted the Tide's permanent captains by their teammates. Jacob was also honored as the 2014 NCAA All-Around Champion and Honda Award Winner and for earning four first-team All-American honors as a senior - the most of any gymnast this season - boosting her career-total to 11. The 2013 NCAA Elite 89 Award winner was also recognized for becoming the first student-athlete in league history to win the SEC Gymnastics Scholar-Athlete of the Year three times and for earning an SEC Postgraduate Scholarship. A member of the 2013 and 2014 SEC Community Service Team, Jacob also won of the Tide's David DeSantis Community Service Award both this season and last.
The Tide's seven 2014 All-Americans - seniors Jacob, Diandra Milliner and Sarah DeMeo, juniors Kaitlyn Clark and Lora Leigh Frost well as sophomore Lauren Beers and freshman Katie Bailey. were also recognized. Clark and Milliner were also honored for winning individual SEC and Regional titles while Jacob and freshman Aja Sims were honored as individual regional champions. Sims, Bailey and Amanda Jetterwere presented with their SEC All-Freshman team awards.
Patterson also lauded the senior class of DeMeo, Domier, Lindsey Fowler, Jacob and Milliner who led Alabama to NCAA Championships in 2011 and 2012, SEC titles in 20011 and 2014 as well as four consecutive NCAA Regional Championship from 2011-14 as well as going an undefeated 31-0 at home in Coleman Coliseum for their career.