Alabama Gymnasts Ready For SEC

DULUTH, Ga. - After 11 regular season meets and more than 300 competitive routines, the Alabama Gymnastics team is ready for the postseason which gets underway Saturday at 4 p.m. with the Southeastern Conference Championships held here in The Arena at Gwinnett Place.



"We're ready," Alabama Coach Sarah Patterson said. "Everything we've done this season, everything we've gone through has prepared us for the championship season. The SEC is the toughest conference in the nation. There are seven teams in the top 20 nationally right now and six in the top 13. This meet will be tougher than regionals and tougher than the first night of the national championships."

Alabama comes into the meet having beaten every team in the league at least once with the exception of Georgia, who they faced at midseason. The Crimson Tide, which has finished in the top two at the SEC Championships 17 times since 1985, is coming off its two best performances of the year including a 197.1 against Auburn to close out the regular season, during which the Tide posted a 49.650 on the floor exercise, the third highest floor total in Alabama history.

"We want to take that floor exercise performance against Auburn and have it springboard us into the championship season," Patterson said. "We want that to be our starting point."

Alabama is led by its sophomore class, which has three all-arounders, Morgan Dennis, Ricki Lebegern and Kassi Price along with Casey Overton who has been steady for the Tide on three events. Those four have turned in more than half of Alabama routines this season. Price is ranked ninth in the all-around and third on the uneven bars nationally. Dennis, who earned All-SEC honors as a rookie, is ranked 15th in the all-around and fourth on the floor exercise. Lebegern comes into this meet as the defending SEC balance beam champion.

The addition of freshman Kayla Hoffman has been a big boost to the Tide's scoring power. She has competed in the all-around and has been a regular in three events so far this season. Hoffman is ranked fifth on the vault where she has posted a high score of 9.975. She is the SEC's top ranked freshman on the vault and is the only league rookie to be ranked in the top 10 on two events.

Alabama will start the meet on a bye before beginning competition on the uneven bars. The Tide's night will end on the vault and, if things go their way, with a sixth SEC team title.

The Crimson Tide's radio broadcast of the championships will be on WVUA 90.7-FM in Tuscaloosa and can be heard online. The link for the radio broadcast can be found on GymTide.com. A link to live scores can be found on www.gymtide.com and the meet will be televised on a tape delayed basis on Fox Sports South Saturday, April 6 at 3 p.m. CT.

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