Four-Gymnast Senior Class Celebrates Graduation Weekend

ROLLTIDEDOTCOM Five Alabama gymnasts earned degrees as part of the spring commencement ceremony.
Five Alabama gymnasts earned degrees as part of the spring commencement ceremony.

May 3, 2013

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The Alabama gymnastics team has plenty to celebrate during the coming graduation weekend, during which one of the most successful senior classes in Crimson Tide history will be enjoying the fruits of their labor.

Senior All-American Marissa Gutierrez and Becca Alexin will both receive their undergraduate degrees on Saturday, while All-American Ashley Sledge, who finished her bachelor's degree in December, will walk in the graduating ceremony on Saturday. All-American Ashley Priess, a fifth-year senior this season, has graduated with her master's degree, after earning her undergraduate degree in December 2011.

"I couldn't be more proud of our seniors," UA head coach Sarah Patterson said. "They achieved so much during their careers as gymnasts, as scholars and as members of the community around them. They are great examples of the fact that the University of Alabama, you can truly have it all."

Alexin, Gutierrez, Priess and Sledge led Alabama to four consecutive top-three finishes at the NCAA Championships including back-to-back national titles in 2011 and 2012, as well as the 2011 Southeastern Conference Championship. As a fifth-year senior, Priess was also part of the Tide's 2009 SEC Championship team and a fifth top-three finish that same year.

The Tide's seniors leave the Capstone not only with their degrees, or in Priess' case, two degrees, but also with a combined 15 All-American honors. In the classroom all four women have earned Scholastic All-American honors and a place on the SEC Academic Honor Roll. Priess and Sledge also earned NCAA Postgraduate Scholarships this season.

In addition to this year's class, 2010 senior Ricki Lebegern is also taking part in the graduation ceremonies this weekend. The four-time All-American and four-year Scholastic All-American will receive her Master of Business Administration degree this weekend.

There will be three graduation ceremonies over the course of two days, including one at 6 p.m. on Friday, May 3 and two on Saturday, May 4 at 9 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.