Tide Gymnasts At Auburn For Regional

One might not think of a trip through Auburn en route to the NCAA National Gymnastics Championships, but it can happen. It happens today for the Alabama Crimson Tide, and Bama’s coach may have pleasant memories of another such trip.

Alabama, winner of this year’s Southeastern Conference gymnastics championship, begins the journey towards a national title at the NCAA Regional in the Auburn Arena at 6 p.m. today.

This is Alabama's second trip to Auburn for a regional championship and first since 1991, when the Tide won the regional and went on to win the NCAA Championship. Crimson Tide Coach Dana Duckworth, then Dana Dobransky, was a sophomore on the Tide's 1991 squad.  

The Crimson Tide had a two-hour practice Friday in preparation for tonight’s competition.

“We went out there today and adjusted to the equipment and got settled into the environment and now we’re ready for tomorrow,” Duckworth said following the Friday workout. “There’s no doubt that tomorrow is the most important meet of the season. We need to go out and do our job to make it to Ft. Worth and the NCAA Championships.”  

The NCAA Auburn Regional gets underway at 6 p.m. CDT and tickets are available through www.auburntigers.com.  

Alabama has advanced to the NCAA Championships the last 32 years, the second longest streak in NCAA history.  A total of six regionals around the country will be contested on Saturday, with the top-two teams from each site advancing Ft. Worth, Texas, site of this year’s NCAA Championships.  

Alabama, ranked fifth nationally, is the No. 1 seed in Auburn, while host-school Auburn is ranked eighth and seeded second and Minnesota, ranked 17th, is seeded third. No. 23 Iowa, No. 30 Maryland and No. 31 George Washington round out the regional site.  

The Tide will start the regional on the uneven bars. From there, Alabama will move to the balance beam before going to the first of two byes. The Tide then goes to the floor exercise and vault before finishing on its second bye.  

Alabama has already faced Auburn three times this year, twice in the regular season and once at the SEC Championships. The Tide will also see a familiar face on the Minnesota staff. First-year Gophers Assistant Coach Geralen Stack-Eaton was a member of the Tide's 2011 and 2012 NCAA Championship squads.

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