Tide Gymnasts Open With Record Score

The No. 2 ranked Alabama gymnastics team opened the 2014 season with a 197.150-193.425 win over Missouri in front of 12,971 fans in Coleman Coliseum Friday night. It was the highest opening score in Crimson Tide history.

"I'm very proud of the team," Alabama Coach Sarah Patterson said. "I think we've been to the point where we needed to compete for a while. We really weren't going to get any better in practice, we just needed to get out there in front of the crowd and in front of some judges and under some pressure. I think they really did a great job tonight."

Kim Jacob opened her senior season by winning the all-around with a 39.525, tying her career best score. Freshman Katie Bailey was second in the all-around with a 39.325 while senior Sarah DeMeo, in her first all-around appearance since midway through her freshman year, took third with a 39.100.

The strong start came on the heels of an injury to junior Kayla Williams during warm-ups that kept her out of the meet.

"I thought this was an amazing start," Jacob said. "I'm so proud of everyone for stepping up when Kayla went down. We were all upset, we don't want any of our teammates to get hurt, but I think we used that and we competed for Kayla tonight and I think it was an amazing start for us."

The Tide opened the 2014 season with a 49.300 on the vault, led by senior Diandra Milliner's 9.925 and DeMeo's 9.875. It marked the first time since her freshman season that DeMeo has gone on the vault.

After a strong start on the vault, Alabama exploded on the uneven bars, scoring a 49.475 – better than any of the Tide's 2013 totals - behind a trio of 9.9 or better scores. Senior Kim Jacob and freshman Amanda Jetter posted career-best 9.925s, while junior Kaitilyn Clark closed out the Tide's set with a 9.9.

On the balance beam, Alabama scored a 49.075 led by Jacob's 9.875. Freshman Aja Sims, who joined the Tide on Dec. 26 after graduating early from high school, posted a 9.825 on the beam as did Clark.

The Tide closed strong on the floor exercise where Milliner posted a 9.95 and Jacob went 9.925, to pace the Tide to a 49.300 team score.

Alabama hits the road for its next meet, taking on Kentucky and Nebraska on Jan. 17 in Knoxville, Tenn.

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