No. 3 Tide gymnastics to take on No. 14 Florida

The No. 3 Alabama gymnastics team takes a break from the road to face the No. 14 Florida Gators this Friday at 7 p.m. in Coleman Coliseum.

Though separated in the rankings by seven spots, Alabama and Florida's high scores from the season are much closer. Alabama posted a 197.200 against Auburn two weeks ago, while the Gators defeated No. 7 Stanford at home last weekend with a season-high 196.900.

"I think Florida will be at their best this weekend," Patterson said. "Florida is very talented and very dangerous. They're one of the better floor teams in the country."

The Crimson Tide, however, is on a roll of its own, scoring 196.50+ in its last four outings, all of which came on the road. And if history has anything to say about the matchup, then it should be noted the last time Florida won a dual meet in Tuscaloosa was in 1979, before any member of either team was born.

Last week, without the Tide's top all-arounder, Kristin Sterner, Alabama managed to stay within .2 of No. 1 Georgia. Sophomore Jeana Rice made her second all-around appearance of the season, winning with a 39.525.

Sophomore Jeana Rice earned the all-around title last week at Georgia.

Senior Andree' Pickens continues to dominate, scoring 9.9 or better 10 times in her last 12 routines, including a pair of 10.0s. The senior All American has competed on bars, beam and vault in every competition this season and looks to make her season debut on the floor at the SEC Championships.

And with four weeks left in the regular season, the Tide's arsenal continues to grow, according to Assistant Head Coach David Patterson. The Crimson Tide is still upgrading routines and will continue to do so in the four meets leading up to the SEC Championships, David Patterson said.

This week, senior Alexa Martinez may make her first appearance in the vault line-up since the 2000 Super Six Challenge. Sophomores Erin and Lauren Holdefer will warm up a pair of 10.0-valued vaults as well, though the coach noted they will not know until meet time if they will compete the skills.

"We need six 10.0 vaults," David Patterson said. "I think we're getting closer."

It will be a Gator weekend in Tuscaloosa, with the gymnasts competing on Friday and the men's basketball teams facing off at 2 p.m. Saturday.

Alabama resumes its road work next week when it takes on SEC rival Kentucky in Lexington. Last year, the Tide narrowly edged the Wildcats in Coleman Coliseum.

Tickets for the meet are still on sale at the Alabama Ticket Office at 205-348-BAMA or online at www.rolltide.com.


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