Alabama Gymnasts Edged by Georgia

In a meet that went down to the very end in front of another huge Coleman Coliseum crowd, the No. 3 ranked Alabama Gymnastics team came up just short of No. 1 Georgia, 196.625-196.575 Friday night.

Despite the cold, rainy weather outside, 14,263 fans were on hand making up the third largest crowd in Southeastern Conference history. It was also the eighth largest crowd in the history of collegiate gymnastics and the fourth largest of the past decade.

"I am thrilled we have created an environment that creates this kind of excitement," Alabama head coach Sarah Patterson said.

And that crowd got quite a show. Going into the last rotation Georgia led by a slim .050. And 12 routines later, including a 9.95 from Alabama's super senior Ashley Miles, the defending NCAA Champions held on to that slight lead, scoring a season best 49.200 on the balance beam to hold onto the meet.

"I knew tonight was going to be a test for this young team," Alabama head coach Sarah Patterson said. "I am very proud. We faced them routine for routine and came up a little short."

"I said before we came in that they (Georgia) were the deepest, most talented team in the country right now," Patterson said. "A lot of things have to be done before April. We know the things we can do better and we have to move forward with that."

Miles won the floor exercise with a 9.95 and the vault with a 9.925. Alabama sophomore Terin Humphrey took top honors on the uneven bars with a 9.9. Georgia's Courtney Kupets won the all-around with a 39.475 and the balance beam with a 9.9.

Alabama got off to a strong 49.325 start on the vault led by Miles' winning 9.925. Freshman Brittany Magee chipped in a 9.875 while sophomore Kaitlin White scored a season high 9.85, just off her career high. Senior Dana Filetti also scored a 9.85. With a flurry of 9.85s, Georgia scored a 49.300 on the vault.

On the uneven bars, Humphrey's winning 9.9 led the Tide to a 48.975. The mark tied her season best. Filetti also tied her season best, posting a 9.825. Georgia scored a 49.175 on the bars.

Alabama posted its highest balance beam total of the season, going 49.075. Freshman Cassie Martin led the way with a 9.875 while Magee led the Tide off with a 9.825, a score matched by junior Erin Rightley. Senior Freshman Ashley O'Neal tied her season best with a 9.800 while senior Mari Bayer posted a season high 9.750.

On the floor exercise, Alabama scored a 49.200 behind Miles' 9.95 and Magee's 9.875. Georgia scored a 48.950 on the floor.

Alabama returns to action next Friday against the Arkansas Razorbacks in Coleman Coliseum at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available online at www.rolltide.com or in the Coliseum ticket office in the (205.348.2262).


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