Gym Tide Finishes Runners Up

Alabama used a fierce rally here at the NCAA Gymnastics Championships to jump from fourth place after three rotations to second place in the end with a 197.400, its best score of the season.

Alabama started the night strong with a 49.325 on the uneven bars before struggling through a 48.85 balance beam set.

"Yesterday we struggled with vault and today it was beam," Alabama head coach Sarah Patterson said. "We just can't seem to hit all four events on the same night. We had a bunch of 9.70s on beam, we just didn't rock it. Georgia rocked all four events and that is what you have to do to win."

The Tide, led by back-to-back 10.0s from junior Ashley Miles, scored the meet's top scores on both the floor exercise and vault, going 49.6 and 49.625 respectively. It was the Tide's sixth second place tally and 10th top-2 finish over the past 23 NCAA appearances.

"Ashley was phenomenal and no one wanted to win more than her," Patterson said. "Her two 10.0s were incredible. She showed she is a leader and the heart and soul of this team. Next year she will lead this team. I couldn't be more proud of her."

Georgia won the team title with a 197.825 while Utah was third with a 197.275. Two-time defending champion UCLA's 197.150 garnered fourth while Michigan, 19.575, and Nebraska, 196.425, rounded out the Super Six.

"Second place is a nice finish and our girls didn't fold," Patterson said. "They are champions in their own right." On the floor exercise, freshman Terin Humphrey scored a career best 9.95 and senior Alexis Brion added in a 9.925 to the Tide's season best total. On the vault, sophomore Brittany Comeaux threw a career best 9.95 to go with Miles' third 10.0 vault of the season. Senior Shannon Hrozek led the Tide off with a 9.9, a score matched by Humphrey. Freshman Kaitlin White posted a career best 9.875. "I knew after we did not do so great on beam that we were going to have to push hard if we expected to finish with anything," Miles said. "When we are out there we cannot pay attention to what everyone else is doing we just had to keep focused. That is what we did and we are happy with the way we were finished both for the team and the fans who came to support us." Alabama started the night off with a 49.325 on the uneven bars, led by 9.9s from Miles and Humphrey while Hrozek and junior Mari Bayer both chipped 9.85s. On the balance beam only one Alabama gymnast, Humphrey with a 9.825, scored above a 9.8. The Tide's seniors, Hrozek, Brion and Michelle Reeser, All-Americans all, have now finished first, second twice and third at the NCAA Championships during their career. "I've never seen this team stick together so much," Hrozek said. "There was so much determination and we did well and never gave up. We tried so hard and came so close to the championship."

Miles returns to action Saturday night as she looks to defend her NCAA floor exercise and vault titles during individual finals. She will also compete on the uneven bars. Humphrey will compete on the balance beam and uneven bars while junior Dana Filetti will compete on the uneven bars.

"It will be easy to come into the individuals tomorrow knowing that we had such a good comeback tonight." Miles said. "I would never say that I was unhappy with today's finish but it will be nice to come in tomorrow and compete and try to win more national championships. I am just glad to be a part of something like Alabama gymnastics where I have these opportunities."

The NCAA Individual Event Finals get underway at 7 p.m. in Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum.

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