Gymnastic championship notes

With a commanding victory at the NCAA Southeast Regional that included an NCAA record on the balance beam, Alabama Gymnastics guaranteed itself a place at the NCAA Championships to be held in Tuscaloosa this week. <br><br>The NCAA Championships, to be held in Coleman Coliseum on the University of Alabama campus, run April 18-20.

"We're happy to be in our 19th consecutive championship with a chance to win our fourth NCAA Championship," Alabama head coach Sarah Patterson said. "Obviously we've had some success with the rotation we drew, so that's not a concern for us."

Having won practically every individual title available during her career, Andree' Pickens is hoping to lead Alabama to a national title.

Alabama will compete against two-time defending champion UCLA, Florida, Stanford, Oregon State and Minnesota in the 7 p.m. session on Thursday, April 18. Earlier in the day Georgia, Michigan, LSU, Arizona, Utah and Nebraska will compete starting at 1 p.m. in afternoon session. The top three teams from each session will advance to the team finals, the NCAA Super Six which will get under way 7 p.m. Friday, April 19.

Alabama will start competition on a bye and then proceed to the floor exercise and then the vault. After another bye, the Tide will close out the session on the uneven bars and the balance beam. It is the same order Alabama competed on at the regional. The Tide also started competition on the floor exercise at the Southeastern Conference Championships two weeks ago.

Each team in both Thursday sessions will have an individual all-arounder rotating with them and competing at the end of the team's set. Senior Mariana Goncalves of Oklahoma will rotate with the Crimson Tide. Goncalves finished third in the all-around at the West Regional.


  • Adults-$12 per session (there are four sessions over three days)
  • College students (with valid ID) Children 15 and under-$8 per session (there are four sessions over three days)
  • Ticket are available through the Alabama Ticket Office, 205.348.2262; SouthTix, 800.240.2300; and online at

Coach Patterson has built the Tide into perennial title contenders.

About the Championships

This year's NCAA Women's Gymnastics Championships consists of 12 teams and 12 all-around competitors who are not qualifying and two event specialists. The top-two teams and the top-two all arounders not on an advancing team from each regional received an automatic berth in the championships. The event winners in the regional competition who scored at least a 9.80 also advanced, in that event only, if they are not part of a qualifying team or an all-arounder qualifier.

Championship Schedule

Preliminary team and all-around competition will be conducted in two sessions Thursday, April 18 (1pm and 7pm). The top three teams from each session will advance to the Super Six competition Friday, April 20 (7 pm). The top four individuals from each session in each event (plus ties) from the preliminary team and all-around competition will compete in the individual-event competition Sunday, April 21 (7 pm).

Alabama at the NCAA Championships

The Alabama Gymnastics team is making its 20th appearance at the NCAA Championships. Only Utah, with 21 bids, has been to more and only Florida has been to as many.

Three times, 1988, 1991, and 1996, Alabama has won the NCAA Championships. Alabama comes into the weekend as the only team to win an NCAA title in Coleman Coliseum. In 19 previous appearances, Alabama has finished No. 1 three times, No. 2 four times, No. 3 five times and in the top five 17 times.

Alabama has won 12 NCAA Individual titles, including four all-around crowns, and earned 117 first team All-American honors and 160 first and second team All-American honors.

The Long and Short of it...

Michelle Reeser, good things come in small packages.

Shortest Gymnast: Michelle Reeser (Alabama) & Eileen Diaz (Georgia) - 4'9

Tallest Gymnast: Annie Laatsch (Minnesota) - 5'8

Average Height: 5'2 ¼

Total Number of inches for entire field: 10,829 (or 902.416 feet)

Tallest Team: Stanford - 5'3 average

Shortest Team: Michigan - 5'1 average

Team-By-Team Average Heights
Alabama: 5'2
Arizona: 5'2 ½
UCLA: 5'2
Florida: 5'2
Georgia: 5'2
LSU: 5'2
Michigan: 5'1
Minnesota: 5'2 ¾
Nebraska: 5'2 ½
Oregon State: 5'2
Stanford: 5'3
Utah: 5'1 ½
Individuals: 5'3

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

Participant with Shortest Trip to Tuscaloosa: Georgia (Athens, GA) - 272 miles
Participant with Longest Trip to Tuscaloosa: Oregon State (Corvallis, OR) - 2,630 miles
Average Traveled by Participants: 1,145 miles
Total Miles Traveled by Entire Field: 25,188 miles

Top Seeds Coming out of Regionals

Alabama and Utah are tied for the most top seeds coming out of regionals with six apiece. Georgia has been the top seed four times, UCLA three times, including this year while Arizona State and Michigan have been the top seed once each.

CBS Television

CBS-Sports will broadcast the championships on a tape delayed basis Sunday, April 28 Noon-2 p.m. CDT. Amanda Borden, Dominique Dawes and Bonnie Bernstein will provide coverage.

The World Wide Web

Alabama will be hosting a championship website that will be posting live scoring of all sessions. That site can be found at Further information can be found at

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