Alabama Gymnasts Ready For NCAA
The Crimson Tide, at its 26th consecutive NCAA Championship after having won its 23rd NCAA regional title, also took care of its media obligations, including the championship press conference and sitting down for interviews with CBS, which will air the championships on a tape delayed basis May 10th at 2 p.m. CDT.
"We had a good day," Alabama Coach Sarah Patterson said. "We came in and adjusted the equipment and the podium and are ready to get started Thursday afternoon. I think in that respect the teams in our conference have an advantage in that we've already competed on a podium. I give the Southeastern Conference office and our institutions a lot of credit for going the extra mile and having our conference championships on the podium. It really helps when we get to nationals."
Alabama will compete in Thursday's first session as the No. 6 seed. The afternoon session, which gets underway at noon CDT, is something of a mini-SEC event with the Tide, Florida, LSU and Arkansas competing. Those SEC teams are joined by Oklahoma and Oregon State.
The other SEC school, the championships' host and the three-time defending champion Georgia Bulldogs, will welcome Utah, UCLA, Michigan, Stanford and Denver to Thursday's evening session which starts at 6 p.m. CDT.
The top three teams from each of Thursday's prelim sessions will advance to the NCAA Super Six Team Final on Friday starting at 5 p.m. CDT. Alabama has finished among the top six nationally 24 times since first making the NCAA Championships in 1983.
The Tide has posted four 197-plus scores in a row over the last month and a half of the season, including a 197.325 at the SEC Championships where the Tide finished just .025 behind No. 1 ranked Georgia. Senior Kaitlin White told the assembled media at today's press conference that Alabama's surge has much to do with team chemistry that really clicked into place after the team's early March West Coast trip, where the Tide had seven falls in two meets.
"We had to sit down and talk about a lot of things, change our goals, and write new ones down," White said. "I love the team that we have. We get along inside the gym and out of it, and I am excited."
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