Alabama Gymnasts Take A Second

In 1969, the Alabama football team had won its first three games and was headed to Nashville to take on unranked Vanderbilt. A problem for Coach Paul Bryant's Crimson Tide was that sophomore running back Johnny Musso, already a Bama star, was injured. Bryant made the decision to leave Musso home for rehabilitation. In Nashville, Vanderbilt upset the Crimson Tide, 14-10.

As strong as the Alabama gymnastics team of Coach Sarah Patterson might be – ranked third in the nation going into the weekend and coming off its best opening score in school history – the Crimson Tide could not overcome either an off-night or, perhaps, the fact that All-America and 2013 NCAA vault champion Diandra Milliner was held out of the competition as a precaution after warm-ups.

The result in Knoxville in a three-way meet with Nebraska and Kentucky is that Bama finished second to the Cornhuskers by two-tenths of a point. The Tide did defeat Kentucky, which was hosting the three-way meet in Knoxville. (Tennessee, of course, does not have a women's gymnastics team.)

Alabama posted a 196.050 to Nebraska's 196.250 while the Wildcats scored a 194.650.

There was something of a highlight for Bama as Aja Sims, a freshman who entered The University in January, had the Tide's top score on balance beam and in floor exercise.

After struggling in spots through its first three rotations, the Crimson Tide closed strong with a 49.425 on the vault led by sophomore Lauren Beer's 9.95 in the anchor spot. Alabama scored a 49.000 on the uneven bars, led by a 9.875 from junior Kaitlyn Clark. On the balance beam, Alabama totaled a 48.850 led by a 9.825 from Sims. On the floor exercise, Sims again led the way, scoring 9.8 to pace the Tide to a 48.775 team score.

Alabama returns to Coleman Coliseum Friday for its 10th annual Power of Pink meet, when it will face Arkansas starting at 7:30 p.m. CST.

Tickets for the Tide's home meets and the SEC and NCAA Championships are on sale through the Alabama Ticket Office at (205) 348-2262, and located in the lobby of Coleman Coliseum, and online at

BamaMag Top Stories