GymTiders sign elite athlete

Just days before the University of Alabama Gymnastics takes the floor in Coleman Coliseum in search of its fourth NCAA Championship, the Crimson Tide took another step toward improving its 2003 squad. <br><br>Ashley Miles, a four year member of the United States National Team, signed a national letter intent Wednesday to compete for the Tide.

"Our recruiting class was already one of the nation's finest and with the addition of 2001 U.S. World Championship team member Ashley Miles this class, with hard work, has the potential to be one of the finest ever assembled," head coach Sarah Patterson said.

The San Antonio, Texas native was a member of the United States' squad that won a bronze medal at the 2001 World Championships. Miles was teammates with fellow Alabama signee Dana Filetti on that squad.

Miles referred to her letter of intent as "the papers that will make me a member of the Alabama Crimson Tide family. "She went on to thank the Alabama coaching staff for providing her "start on a wonderful journey."

On March 18, Miles led the U.S. National Team to the gold medal at the 2002 Spring Cup in Burlington, Ontario. She took individual gold in the all-around and the balance beam while finishing second on the vault and the floor exercise.

Miles has competed at the last five USA Championships, including the 2001 championships where she posted a career high fifth place finish in the all-around. She also finished second on the vault and fourth on the uneven bars in 2001.

She is coached by Kimberly and Steve Waples of South Texas Gymnastics Academy and is an "A" student at Shekinah Radiance Academy.

"Ashley is probably the most powerful athlete I have ever watched perform," Patterson said. "At 5'7" her power and amplitude are unequaled. The coaching staff has been following Ashley's career for several years and we are thrilled to have her choose to be a part of our Alabama gymnastics family and rich championship tradition."

The daughter of Milton and Sherine Miles, she has two brothers, Daniel and Joshua and one sister, Lauren.

Miles will join 2001 World Championship teammate Dana Filetti (Chesapeake, Va.) and elite gymnasts Mari-Christine Bayer (San Jose, Calif.), Dana Pierce (Advance, Ind.) and Larissa Stewart (Healdton, Ok.) as part of next year's freshman class.

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