Tide Wins Super Six

The Alabama Gymnastics team, with a lineup full of freshmen, won its fourth Super Six Challenge crown in the last seven years, posting a 194.250. "As always this is a great competition," Tide Coach Sarah Patterson said. "And for a freshman dominated team, it well serves the purpose of putting us on the first night of competition where we want to be on the last night of the season and that is in the Super Six with the opportunity to compete for a championship."

Nebraska took second behind Alabama with a 194.100, followed closely by Iowa State in third with a 194.050. Homestanding LSU was fourth with a 193.900 followed by Auburn, 193.675 and Missouri, 192.700.

"I think the results of this meet also served to show that any 10th of a point is important because you never know how the scoring will go," Patterson said. "We were far from perfect tonight, but we will be a much better team next week. I'm excited to have this meet behind us, because I think we were at the point where we weren't really going to improve without competition. And now I hope we improve quickly."

All told, 13 of the Tide's 24 routines came from the freshman class, including four each on the balance beam and vault. Freshmen Melanie Banville, Brittany Magee and Cassie Martin and went on three events during the night.

But that's not to say that the old ladies of the team weren't making their presence felt. Senior Ashley Miles won her fourth consecutive Super Six Challenge vault title, scoring a 9.95. Sophomore Terin Humphrey won the uneven bars with a 9.875.

The Tide used a strong last rotation, closing out the meet on the vault, to win the meet, overcoming some falls and bobbles from earlier in the meet.

"Christmas break coupled with final exams was rather difficult for us," Patterson said. "Our 3.661 team grade point average through the fall was well worth the time we took away from the gym during final exams, but from a coaching stand point when coupled with Christmas break, it made the coaching staff most anxious and nervous."

Alabama scored a meet best 49.050 on the vault, with Magee posting a 9.85 and Banville chipping in a 9.825 before Miles capped the Tide's night with her 9.95. Alabama started off the night on the uneven bars and despite a pair of falls, still came away with a 48.600 team score led by a 9.875 from Humphrey and a pair of 9.825s from freshman Courtney Priess and Miles.

The Tide scored a 48.300 on the balance beam, led by a 9.8 from Humphrey and 9.775 from Magee. Alabama posted a 48.300 on floor exercise as well, led by a 9.775 from Miles and a 9.725 from Banville.

"As I said at the beginning of season this is a team that has to grow and mature over the course of the season," Patterson said. "There will be many challenges to be made in the coming weeks and hopefully tonight's competition will continue to inspire our student athletes to improve."

Alabama heads north next weekend to take on Penn State and Arizona in Happy Valley, Pa. The meet will again be broadcast live, in Tuscaloosa on WVUA-FM and online at www.bcmonsters.com. Alabama opens up at home with the "Drive 4 the Cure" meet against Florida on Jan. 20 at 7:30 p.m. For tickets call 205.348.2262 or go online at www.rolltide.com.

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