Oct. 26, 2012
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -
The two-time defending NCAA Champion Alabama gymnastics team's annual Ghosts and Goblins Intrasquad was not the down-to-the-wire competition that it has been in recent years, with the Goblins capitalizing on some early mistakes by the Ghosts to win their sixth title in eight years by a healthy margin.
"The Ghosts made some early mistakes, but I liked the way they came back and kept competing to the end," UA head coach Sarah Patterson said. "Even with those mistakes, if we'd had to put our top six up on each event today, we would have produced an exceptional early-season score."
Sophomore Kaitlyn Clark and junior Kim Jacob took first and second in the all-around to lead the Ghosts.
"Kaitlyn has come so far since last year," Patterson said. "She and Kim were really confident and it showed. They've both added skills and came back in great shape which has really made a difference."
Freshman Carley Sims led the Goblins with a third place finish in the all-around in her first intrasquad.
"This was Carley's first time to be in a competitive situation at the college level and she did a great job," Patterson said. "It was a good start for her."
The annual event drew a large fan contingent that was eager to get an early look at this year's team to the Frances Smith Practice Facility. Among those in attendance were ESPN's Holly Rowe, who is in town to cover Saturday's Alabama-Mississippi State football game, as well as past Crimson Tide NCAA Champions Geralen Stack-Eaton and Morgan Dennis.
"This is a good barometer for where we are right now, and it gives a good idea of what we need to focus over the next several weeks," Patterson said. "I think there were some nerves today as we competed in front of fans for the first time this year, so we'll probably do more routines under pressure going forward."
Several gymnasts are preparing new skills and are close to having them competition ready.
"We're very excited about the number of people we have on the verge getting new skills out there, like Sarah DeMeo who is working on a new uneven bars dismount and a new first pass on floor," Patterson said. "Those kinds of things are really going to help us and give us the chance to be a very good team later in the season."
Ghosts and Goblins is just the start of the Crimson Tide's weekend. In addition to the 2012 NCAA Championship team being recognized at Friday night's pep rally on the University Quad, the champs will also be part of Saturday's Homecoming parade that gets underway at 2 p.m. Following the parade, the team be signing autographs on the Quad Saturday from 4:30-5:15 p.m. and will be giving away posters, "Back2Back Gymnastics Champions" wristbands and stickers.