Alabama Gymnasts Take On Georgia

After a brief stop at home for the Kentucky meet last Friday, the number nine ranked Alabama gymnastics team heads back out the second of its three road trips in the month of January Friday. The Crimson Tide is in Athens to take on the four-time defending NCAA Champion Georgia Bulldogs at 7:30 p.m. EST (6:30 central time).

Alabama, 2-0 overall and 1-0 in Southeastern Conference competition, will take on number four ranked Georgia (3-0, 1-0 SEC) in Stegeman Coliseum. The meet will be shown on ESPN2 on a tape-delayed basis. Bart Connors and Kathy Johnson Clarke will be on hand to call the action and it will air February 2 at 2 p.m. CST.

Alabama last competed in Athens during the regular season in 2007, but spent the better part of a week in Athens last spring for the NCAA Championships. Alabama is the last team to beat Georgia in Athens, winning the February 19, 2005 dual meet by a score of 197.025-196.175. The two teams faced each other three times last season, including the SEC Championships where Georgia edged the Tide out of the title by .025.

"One of the things about this rivalry, one of things that has always been great about it, is that regardless of the circumstances I think both team step up and do a great job," Alabama Coach Sarah Patterson said. "There might be mistakes that affect the overall score, but in terms of competitiveness, I think both teams rise to the occasion. And I love to compete in the kind of atmosphere we'll find in Athens Friday. I would much rather compete in front of eight or nine thousand fans who are cheering against us than in front of a few hundred people."

While the Tide is in the "road warrior" segment of its season, the Bulldogs have been very busy over the last week both at home and on the road. Friday will be Georgia's third meet in seven days after traveling to LSU last Friday and then facing Utah at home on Monday.

Alabama is spending the first part of its season working through some nagging injuries to its veterans and mixing its six rookies into the lineup. The Tide has used 11 gymnasts in each of its first two meets, getting eight routines from its freshman class in both meets. The Tide coaching staff is slowly working gymnasts back into the lineup as they are ready, but Friday's lineup isn't likely to be much different from the first two meets.

"We're going to continue to build through the season, and work people back into the lineup when they are ready," Patterson said. "We're not going to rush anything.. As I've told our ladies, this is a marathon, not a sprint. Our focus is on the end of the season."

Fans who can't be in Athens Friday night will be able to follow all the action with the Crimson Tide's radio broadcast, featuring Allen Faul and Leesa Davis, as well as live stats and online commentary at and The radio broadcast can be heard on WVUA 90.7-FM in Tuscaloosa and online at

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