Alabama Gymnasts At Penn State Quad
Alabama's first road contest of the season is also its only Saturday competition of the regular season as well as the only quad meet of the season. The setup for the quad meet will be similar to a postseason competition, with all four teams competing at once instead of alternating competitors as would be the case in dual meet competition. Saturday will also mark the only time during the regular season that the Crimson Tide will start on an event other than the vault or uneven bars.
"We'll start on the balance beam, which will be the only time this season prior to the postseason that we'll have the opportunity to do that," Alabama Coach Sarah Patterson said. "We'll be in more of a championship setting with a four-way meet. There will be lots of noise and all the events will be going on at the same time. We'll use this to gain experience going forward."
Alabama is coming off a season, home and Southeastern Conference opening win over Georgia last Friday. Alabama posted a 196.475 against the Gym Dogs, its highest opening score since the 2004 season. The Tide was led by Geralen Stack-Eaton's 10.0 on the vault, which earned the senior SEC Gymnast of the Week honors for the third year in a row. Stack-Eaton's perfect mark was the first for UA since Ashley Miles scored a pair of 10s during the 2005 NCAA Championships Super Six Team Finals.
The Tide's opening meet also saw Ashley Priess return to the lineup for the first time since the 2010 NCAA Championship Individual Event Finals after undergoing surgery on both ankles prior to the 2011 season. Priess won the uneven bars and floor exercise against Georgia and posted the Tide's highest score on the balance beam.
Junior Ashley Sledge heads into the second meet of the season after making her collegiate all-around debut against the Gym Dogs and coming away with a score of 39.450 which won the all-around competition. Sledge also scored a career-best 9.975 on the vault, helping set up Stack-Eaton's 10.0.
Alabama used 11 gymnasts in its season opener, including three freshmen who contributed four routines. The rest of the Tide's 24 routines in the competitive lineup were spread evenly among the remaining three classes, with the sophomores and juniors chipping in seven each and the seniors adding six.
Alabama is 29-2 all-time against Penn State, with its only two losses coming in State College in 1999 and 2009. The Tide opened the 2011 season against the Nittany Lions in Tuscaloosa, winning that meet 195.350-192.750. Alabama is 16-0 against the Michigan State, seeing the Spartans mainly in regional championships action. The Tide is 2-0 against Cornell all-time, with the two teams last meeting in State College as part of another quad meet in 2001.
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