Alabama does not have to win its NCAA Gymnastics Regional Championship meet. The top two teams in each of six regionals will qualify for the national championship meet. But over the years the Crimson Tide has made it a habit to move on to the nationals – 34 years in a row – by winning the regional title – a national best 31 times.
National championship season begins Saturday, April 1, and the sixth-ranked Alabama team of Coach Dana Duckworth is the No. 1 seed at the NCAA Regional to be held in Morgantown, W. Va.
The top two teams will advance to the NCAA National Championship meet, which will be held April 14-15 in St. Louis.
Alabama will be joined in Morgantown by No. 2 seed Michigan, No. 3 seed Southern Utah, George Washington, host school West Virginia, and Kent State. The top-18 teams in the nation by regional qualifying score are seeded into the six regional sites. The remaining three teams come from within the region.
Alabama last competed at West Virginia as part of the 2002 NCAA Regional Championships. The Tide won the regional and would go on to win its fourth NCAA Championship that same season. The last time Alabama competed against the Mountaineers was at last year’s NCAA Tuscaloosa Regional, where Alabama was first and West Virginia was fifth.
The Tide will open the regional on the uneven bars. From there, Alabama will move to the balance beam before going to its first bye. The Tide then goes to the floor exercise, then vault before finishing on a bye.
Each regional team will have an individual gymnast from a school that did not advance rotating with it. Majesta Valentine of West Chester will rotate with the Crimson Tide. The top two all-around performers from each regional from a team that is not advancing will also earn a bid to St. Louis.