Bama Gymnastics Second At SEC
"On any given night you have to be at your best to win this event if you're going to win," Alabama Coach Sarah Patterson said. "Hopefully what we take from tonight is how to move forward. I told the ladies that we have won five national championships and only two of those have come after winning an SEC Championship."
Alabama and Florida have combined to win each of the last four titles, with the Crimson Tide taking first in 2009 and 2011 and Florida winning in 2010 and Saturday night. It also marked Alabama's 21st top-two finish at the SEC Championships.
"Florida is extremely talented and you have to be hitting on all cylinders to beat them and we were only hitting on two and a half tonight," Patterson said. "There are two events where we can be much better than we were tonight."
No. 5 Georgia finished third with a 196.575 followed by No. 8 LSU, 196.425; No. 24 Kentucky, 195.350; No. 10 Arkansas, 194.175; and No. 15 Auburn 194.100.
It was announced at the end of the championships that Tide sophomore Kim Jacob was the 2012 SEC Gymnastics Scholar-Athlete of the Year. Jacob followed 2011 senior Kayla Hoffman, who earned the award last year, making it the second year in a row an Alabama gymnast has taken the award home.
"I feel like that level of excellence is the standard that we set for ourselves," Patterson said. "Kim works extremely hard in all areas. She was the only gymnast on the ballot with a perfect 4.0 grade point average. I'm very proud of all that's accomplished and the kind of person she is."
Alabama started the championships off with a 49.275 on the uneven bars, the second highest score on the day, led by a 9.9 from senior Geralen Stack-Eaton. The Tide followed that up with a 48.825 on the balance beam led by sophomore Sarah DeMeo's 9.825.
Alabama posted the highest floor exercise total of the night, scoring a 49.350 led by Stack-Eaton and senior Ashley Priess, who both came through with 9.9s. The Tide finished things off with a 49.325 on the vault junior Marissa Gutierrez's 9.9 leading the way.
The Tide will wait until Monday to find out its regional assignment. As one of the nation's top-18 teams, Alabama could end up in any of the six pre-determined regional locations.
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