Depending as much on its role players as on its stars, Bama's GymTiders brought home their fourth national title, besting two-time defending champion UCLA and archrival Georgia in the process.">
Depending as much on its role players as on its stars, Bama's GymTiders brought home their fourth national title, besting two-time defending champion UCLA and archrival Georgia in the process.">

National championship worth a second look

From beginning to end, very little came easily to this year's squad. But as senior Natalie Barrington said afterwards, "Hard work really does pay off." <br><br>Depending as much on its role players as on its stars, Bama's GymTiders brought home their fourth national title, besting two-time defending champion UCLA and archrival Georgia in the process.

It was a tough, injury-plagued season for Alabama. But the team got hot when it counted, riding three stellar team performances in a row to the national title.


Coach Patterson talks to Jeana Rice during warmups. Rice was among several top gymnasts that performed in the all-around this year, but this squad relied as much on role players to win as its stars.


Stephanie Kite performed on both floor exercise and vault during the championship weekend. At the Super Six on Saturday, Kite scored 9.750 on vault and 9.800 on floor.


A leader both on the floor and off, Andree' Pickens enjoyed a dream weekend, leading her team to the national title on Friday and earning her second individual national championship on Saturday.


Senior Natalie Barrington chalks up. A steady performer on the uneven bars all season, Barrington hit every routine for her team during 2002. Saturday, she placed fourth in the country on her signature event.


Kristin Sterner celebrates Friday night. As she said afterwards, "Winning the national championship was our goal from the start. But with all the injuries we had to overcome, you had to wonder if we could make it this far."


Sophomore Lauren Holdefer stepped in on floor and vault to replace an injured Raegan Tomasek. Friday Holdefer scored a 9.700 on vault and 9.850 on floor.


Coach Patterson and Andree' Pickens show off Bama's fourth national championship trophy.


Alabama loses several key performers to graduation, but Sophomore Jeana Rice will be one of the Tide's top competitors next season.



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