Tide Gymnasts Roll Past Kentucky

For the second week in a row, the No. 6 ranked Alabama gymnastics team turned in a season-high score to beat a conference opponent, collecting a 197.275-193.000 win over the Kentucky Wildcats in front of a pink crowd of 14,274 in Coleman Coliseum.

Friday was Alabama's seventh annual Power of Pink meet to raise awareness in the fight against breast cancer. Prior to the meet 18 breast cancer survivors were introduced in tandem with the UA gymnasts and Coach David Patterson, who was introduced with his mother Shirley Cook, a nineteen-year survivor.

"I just thought the overall evening was just tremendous," UA Coach Sarah Patterson said. "There is a part of me that worries about how emotional the moments before the meet are, and the fact that the ladies have to come back after that and perform. I thought they did a great job on vault, and then just continued on from there."

A check for $1 million was presented to the DCH Foundation after the introductions, representing the total collected for the DCH Breast Cancer Fund, which was started by Alabama Gymnastics in the fall of 2004 to support Sarah Patterson's Power of Pink initiative.

Alabama was led by junior Geralen Stack-Eaton, who won the all-around with a career-high 39.675, and freshman Diandra Milliner, who scored a 39.450 in her all-around debut.

"I just had a lot of fun, the whole night," Stack-Eaton said. "It was all for such a good cause. I was feeding off that. Spending time with those women who are cancer survivors is just so encouraging and inspiring. When the good scores started coming in they started building on each other. By the end I was just really excited."

Senior Kayla Hoffman won the vault with a 9.900, leading the Tide to a 49.275 team score. Stack-Eaton won the uneven bars with a career-high 9.925, pushing Alabama to a 49.125.

Hoffman and Stack-Eaton tied for top honors on the balance beam, both scoring 9.925, and leading Alabama to a season-high 49.425 as a team. Stack-Eaton closed out her career night with a career-high 9.950 on the floor exercise where the Tide finished with a season-high 49.450.

It was also Alumni Night in the Coliseum with more than 60 alumni returning to the Capstone, including the 1991 NCAA Championship team, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this season. The alumni were honored prior to the start of team introductions.

During the meet Ann Wilhide Dziadon, a member of Sarah and David Patterson's first recruiting class, was honored with the Patterson Distinguished Alumni Award, which honors members of the Alabama gymnastics family who have gone on to lead lives of distinction.

Alabama returns to action next Friday in Athens, Ga. as they take on the Georgia Bulldogs.

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