Alabama Gymnasts Win Regionals

The No. 2 ranked Alabama gymnastics team won its 26th NCAA Regional Championship Saturday night, advancing to its 29th consecutive NCAA Championship with a 197.275 in front a Coleman Coliseum crowd of 8,174.

The top two teams advance to the NCAA Championships and while Alabama punched its ticket out the NCAA Tuscaloosa Regional after the fifth rotation, the battle for second place came down to the last balance beam routine of the night, with No. 3 seeded Illinois just edging No. 2 seed Penn State, 195.925-195.825.

Auburn, which was sitting on a bye in the sixth rotation, finished fourth with a 195.600. Kentucky capped the night off with a score 195.175, while Central Michigan finished sixth with a 195.075.

Both Alabama and Illinois will make the trip to Cleveland, Ohio to vie for the NCAA Championship April 15-18.

The Tide was consistent on its first three events, scoring a 49.275 to start the night on the floor exercise, followed by a 49.250 on both the vault and uneven bars before exploding on the balance beam with a 49.5, anchored by 9.9s from freshman Kim Jacob, senior Kayla Hoffman and freshman Sarah DeMeo while junior Geralen Stack-Eaton put the exclamation point on the night with a meet-best 9.95.

Hoffman won the all-around with a 39.650 and was named the NCAA Central Regional Gymnast of the Year. She also won the vault with a 9.925, the uneven bars with a 9.90 and floor exercise with a 9.925. Stack-Eaton gave the Tide a sweep of the individual events with her first place finish on the balance beam.

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