The Alabama Gymnastics team heads to Birmingham this weekend for the SEC Gymnastics Championships. Fresh off their second victory of the season over Auburn and a 197.925 score, the Gymtide will be looking to reclaim the SEC Championship Trophy from the Florida Gators.
The SEC is to gymnastics and national championships what the SEC is to winning a national championship in football. In some ways, it’s harder to win the SEC’s.
With eight women’s gymnastics teams, the competition will be broken up into two sessions at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex this Saturday. The four teams seeded fifth through eighth (Auburn, Arkansas, Kentucky, Missouri) will face each other in the afternoon session at 1:00.
Alabama, ranked 4th, will face #1 Florida, #3 LSU, and #6 Georgia in the second session at 6:00pm Saturday night. Alabama as the number three seed will start on the Balance Beam and finish on Bars.
Alabama is the lone team to defeat Florida this season, but suffered its only SEC loss to LSU.
"You know, I think everybody has kind of beat up on each other." Coach Sarah Patterson said, "From my perspective it’s always about being the best at the end of the season."
Coach Patterson and the Gymtide have dubbed the entire season "The Road to Birmingham", not only for the SEC Championships but the NCAA Championships which will be held in the same arena, on the same podium, and equipment in a little less than a month.
The teams will have two practice sessions this afternoon to prepare them for the equipment and complete final preparations. Coupled with the toughest schedule in the country, Alabama is the only team competing who has competed on a podium during the regular season so hopefully the transition will go smoother for them. I’ll have an update for you after practice. There’s still time to make your plans to attend. Tickets remain on sale (the lower bowl is sold out).
Take a look back at the highlights from the Iron Bowl of Gymnastics, Part II and get ready for Gymnastics Championship Season.
Kaitlyn Clark’s Perfect 10 routine on Balance Beam earned her SEC Specialist of the week honors.
Katie Bailey earned SEC Freshman of the Week honors for the fourth time this season. Here’s her Bars routine from the Perfect Ten Challenge earlier this season.
A bit of news from the awards ceremony yesterday. Kim Jacob earned her third consecutive SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year honor by a vote of the league coaches. The 2013 NCAA Elite 89 Award winner as the gymnast with highest cumulative grade point average at the NCAA Championships and a Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-American At-Large First Team member as a junior, Jacob carries a perfect 4.0 grade point average for her Alabama career while majoring in exercise science.
Here are the gymnasts, Alabama will face tonight who are ranked in the top 5 in each event.
1. Bridget Sloan - Florida
2. Rheagan Courville - LSU
3. Katherine Grable - Arkansas
1. Bridget Sloan and Kytra Hunter - Florida
Alabama's Lauren Beer's is seventh and Diandra Milliner is ninth.
1. Chelsea Davis - Georia
3.Lindsey Cheek - Georgia
4. Sarie Morrison - LSU
5. Bridget Sloan - Florida
1. Bridget Sloan - Florida
2. Mackenzie Caquatto - Florida
5. Jessie Jordan - LSU
Alabama's Kim Jacob is ranked 14th.
2. Kytra Hunter - FLorida
4. Lloimincia Hall - LSU
For those unable to make it to Birmingham or if you want to listen while you're there, the live radio broadcast is on WVUA and can be streamed. The second session begins at 6:00 CT, the broadcast usually starts about fifteen minutes before the official start. The live scoring is available here.
I will be online and post updates as the meet progresses if you want to check back in here.
Here’s hoping for 24 sticks on the landings and a SEC Championship for our ladies.