Gymnastics Ranked Second in the 2014 Preseason Coaches Poll

Dec. 12, 2013

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -

The 2014 Alabama gymnastics team is ranked No. 2 nationally in the Preseason Coaches Poll that was released by the National Association of Collegiate Gymnastics Coaches on Thursday.

"I think it just goes to show the respect that coaches around the country have for our program," UA head coach Sarah Patterson said. "It doesn't matter what kind of team we have - whether we have two freshmen like we did last year or six like we have this season - or where we finished the year before, they know that we will find a way to be successful."

The Florida Gators, first-time NCAA Champions last season, are ranked No. 1 by the coaches, while Oklahoma, UCLA and LSU join the Crimson Tide in rounding out the top five.

The Tide faces a challenging schedule in 2014, one that includes three members of the top five and seven members of the top 10.

"This is further proof that we have a schedule that our fans will love," Patterson said. "A total of 10 of our opponents are ranked in the top 21 nationally."

Alabama will host No. 1 Florida, No. 5 LSU, No. 8 Georgia, No. 9 Stanford, No. 11 Arkansas and No. 13 Auburn in Coleman Coliseum this season. The Tide will also see No. 3 Oklahoma, No. 7 Michigan, No. 10 Nebraska, No. 13 Auburn (in the first of two regular-season meetings) and No. 21 Kentucky on the road.

"We will have seen the best teams in the country by the time we travel up the road to Birmingham for the SEC and NCAA Championships," Patterson said. "So our ladies will not be looking over their shoulders when we get to that point."

This year's team features a balanced mix of experienced veterans and talented rookies. There are six All-Americans returning to this year's roster, including seniors Sarah DeMeo, Kim Jacob and Diandra Milliner, juniors Kayla Williams and Kaitlyn Clark and sophomore Lauren Beers.

"Kim, Diandra and Sarah have been a big part of our success over the past three years and I look for them to lead the way," Patterson said. "The emergence of Kayla Williams and Kaitlyn Clark will be another factor in our success this season."

Alabama also added six freshmen to this year's roster, including two that are joining the team for the second semester.

"With six freshmen, including two that will join us in late December, this will be a team that builds over the season," Patterson said. "Our goal is to end our journey with a peak performance in Birmingham."

Tickets for the Crimson Tide's regular season and the SEC and NCAA Championships are on sale now through the Alabama Ticket Office (205.348.2262), located in the lobby of Coleman Coliseum, or online at RollTide.com

2014 Preseason Gymnastics Coaches Poll

Rank Team Name Total
1 *Florida 755
2 Alabama 739
3 *Oklahoma 728
4 UCLA 648
5 *LSU 636
6 Utah 596
7 *Michigan 570
8 *Georgia 552
9 *Stanford 508
10 *Nebraska 472
11 *Arkansas 440
12 Oregon State 438
13 *Auburn 426
14 Minnesota 360
15 Penn State 251
16 Illinois 236
17 Arizona 224
18 Denver 220
19 Ohio State 209
20 Washington 201
21 *Kentucky 198
22 California 152
23 Boise State 135
24 Maryland 103
25 Arizona State 74

Other teams receiving votes: Iowa State, North Carolina State, *West Virginia, *Missouri, Central Michigan, Kent State, Iowa, Ball State, Southern Utah, Michigan State, George Washington, North Carolina, Western Michigan, UC Davis

* 2014 Alabama Opponents