Alabama Wins NCAA Gymnastics Regional

The Alabama Gymnastics team won its 20th NCAA Regional title Saturday night, posting a 196.675 here in Coleman Coliseum.

By winning the NCAA Central Region Championship, the Crimson Tide advances to its 23rd consecutive NCAA Championships.

"I thought our performance tonight was great," Alabama head coach Sarah Patterson, in her 27th year at Alabama, said. "I told the girls not to judge themselves on the scores but on their performance. This is always the hardest meet of the year because we never have the pressure of wins or losses or an RPI, but on this night we become like basketball. Its win or don't advance."

Auburn, the host of the 2005 national championships, finished third and will not advance, taking third with a 194.800. The Tigers did advance four individuals to the final site. Kentucky was fourth with a 193.325 followed by Kent State, 192.5 and Utah State, 192.375.

Iowa State, finishing second with a 195.625, also advances to the final site. This marks the second time Iowa State has advanced. The first time was in 2000 when they again finished second to Alabama in Tuscaloosa.

"We're ecstatic about advancing to Nationals," Iowa State head coach KJ Kindler. "This has been something we have been trying to do since we last qualified in 2000. This is a huge deal for us. We've been making this a little difficult on ourselves but we came through in the end."

The Tide was led by junior Ashley Miles who won her third consecutive regional vault and floor exercise titles. She also won the all-around with a 39.525. Miles and freshman Terin Humphrey tied for top honors on the uneven bars. Humphrey was second in the all-around with a 39.450.

"Part of the tradition of being at Alabama is to win regionals and get to the national championship," Miles said. "We performed well tonight. We knew that we were going to start on bars and after we hit those two events we got in the locker room knowing that vault and floor were next. We said let's do what we do best. We knew those two are our best events."

Alabama started the night off with a solid 48.925 on the uneven bars led by 9.85s from Humphrey and Miles. Humphrey also led the Tide on the balance beam, scoring a 9.85. Alabama posted a 48.950 as a team.

On the floor exercise, Alabama scored a meet best 49.425 led by Miles' 9.95 and Humphrey's 9.9. Sophomore Erin Rightley and senior Michelle Reeser scored 9.875s. Alabama finished off the night with a 49.375 on the vault bolstered by Miles' 9.925 and 9.875s from seniors Shannon Hrozek and Alexis Brion.

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