GymTiders head to SE Regional

The No. 2 ranked Alabama Gymnastics team learned today that it will compete in the NCAA Southeast Region for a chance to advance to its 20th NCAA Championship.

Alabama, along with No. 11 Minnesota will travel to Morgantown, W.V. and face host school West Virginia, Kentucky, Michigan State and North Carolina on April 6. The top two teams from each of the six regionals will advance to the Alabama hosted NCAA Championships, April 18-20.

"We were prepared mentally to go where ever they sent us," head coach Sarah Patterson said. "There was a chance that we could have been sent to Arizona or Oregon and that would have been ok. They could have sent us to East Egypt and we would have gone and done our job so we could come back home for the championship."

As a result of the September 11 tragedies and out of concern for the welfare of the student-athletes, the Division I Championship/Competition Cabinet made adjustments to the seeding and pairing procedures. Selections to the championship field remain unchanged from the 2001 procedures; however, the policy adjustments include seeding the top twelve teams (eighteen were seeded in 2001) and reducing team air travel by placing teams at regional sites within 400 miles whenever possible.

Pickens has been outstanding the last several meets.

Alabama and Minnesota, both from the Central region, were seeded into Southeast Regional by virtue of being ranked in the nation's top-12. West Virginia and North Carolina are both in the Southeast region while Kentucky and Michigan State are in the Central.

This marks the second time that Alabama has competed at a West Virginia hosted regional. Alabama and West Virginia advanced to the NCAA Championships out of the Southeast Regional in 1999.

Alabama will be led by three-time Southeastern Conference Gymnast of the Year Andree' Pickens, who is a strong candidate to earn her fourth straight NCAA Regional Gymnast of the Year as well.

Since the inception of the NCAA Championship in 1982, Alabama has won 17 regional titles and finished second the remaining three meets. Alabama has won four regional titles in a row and has advanced to the NCAA Championship 19 consecutive years.

The Six NCAA Regionals are filled out as followed:

Southeast Region - April 6 at Morgantown, West Virginia (West Virginia University): No. 2 Alabama, No. 11 Minnesota, No. 19 West Virginia, No. 20 Kentucky, No. 21 Michigan State, No. 22 North Carolina

West Region - April 6 at Corvallis, Oregon (Oregon State University): No. 4 Utah, No. 9 Oklahoma, No. 13 Oregon State, No. 24 Southern Utah, No. 36 Washington, No. 39 Boise State

North Central Region - April 6 at Denver, Colorado (University of Denver): No. 3 Georgia, No. 10 Stanford, No. 14 Denver, No. 23 Missouri, No. 42 Utah State, No. 44 Air Force

South Central Region - April 6 at Tempe, Arizona (Arizona State University): No. 1 UCLA, No. 11 Arizona, No. 17 Brigham Young, No. 18 Arizona State, No. 33 Illinois-Chicago, No. 37 Cal State Fullerton

Central Region - April 6 at Baton Rouge, Louisiana (Louisiana State University); No. 6 Louisiana State, No. 7 Iowa State, No. 15 Florida, No. 25 Central Michigan, No. 43 New Hampshire, No. 45 Illinois State

Northeast Region - April 6 at University Park, Pennsylvania (Pennsylvania State University): No. 5 Michigan, No. 8 Nebraska, No. 16 Iowa, No. 26 George Washington, No. 27 Penn State, No. 41 Pittsburgh

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