Tide takes mile-high win

DENVER, CO - In the Mile High City, the No. 1 ranked Alabama Gymnastics team proved that it hadn't cooled off any since ascending to the top spot earlier in the week, coming away with a decisive win against homestanding Denver and Air Force.

The Tide scored a 196.875 and Denver posted a 196.125 while Air Force struggled, scoring a 188.650 in front of 1,664 fans, a total that included 75 Alabama fans. The Tide's fan contingent included former All-Americans Tina Rinker and Cheri Way.

"I think that our performance tonight was as strong as our other road performances over the last several weeks," Alabama head coach Sarah Patterson said. "We were close to a 197 score and once again we did not have to count a fall, hitting 23 of 24 routines."

Senior Kristin Sterner took second in the all-around with a 39.425 to lead the Crimson Tide while sophomore Shannon Hrozek took fourth with a 39.175.

"We had some extremely bright spots tonight. Dana Pierce competed a vault valued at 10.0 in her first time in the competitive lineup this season, going 9.875. And Mari Bayer scored a 9.9 on vault. Those were both important steps forward for us."

Led by a pair of 9.9s from freshman Mari Bayer and junior Jeana Rice, Alabama posted a meet best 49.375 on the vault. Freshman Dana Pierce scored a 9.875 in her first vault wearing the crimson and white. Denver scored a 49.125 and Air Force posted a 47.625.

Alabama capped off its 49.150 floor exercise set with a pair of 9.875s from Sterner and sophomore Michelle Reeser. Junior Stephanie Kite added a 9.850 to the Tide's total. Denver went 49.275 on the floor while Air Force scored a 47.375.

"I thought our floor routines were quite good," Patterson said. "The scoring was very tight on that particular event. Stephanie Kite in particular had her best routine of the year on the floor by far."

Freshman Mari Bayer posted a team best 9.925 to lead the Tide to a 49.375 balance beam score. Rice and Sterner chipped in a pair of 9.900s on the beam. Denver posted a 48.725 while Air Force scored a 47.800 on the beam.

Alabama started off with a 48.975 on the uneven bars led by Rice's 9.900. Freshman Larissa Stewart posted a season best 9.750 on the bars. Denver came away with a meet best 49.000 on the bars while Air Force posted a 45.850.

"We had to once again juggle our lineup, as Dana Filetti was sick with flu through the whole trip out here," Patterson said. "Larissa Stewart did a nice job of stepping in for her on bars. It was by far the best job she's done this year."

The Crimson Tide returns home to face the LSU Tigers on Valentine's Day (Friday, Feb. 14) at 7 p.m. Alabama will be looking for revenge against the Tigers, who upset the Tide in Baton Rouge, La. last season. Tickets for the meet are on sale through the Alabama Ticket office (205.348.2262) located in the lobby of Coleman Coliseum, or online at www.rolltide.com.

Tide Athletes    Vault   Bars  Beam   Floor All-Around

Mari Bayer       9.900   --    9.925  9.725    --
Lauren Holdefer   --     --     --    9.775    --
Shannon Hrozek   9.850  9.825  9.725  9.775  39.175
Stephanie Kite   9.775   --     --    9.850    --
Dana Pierce      9.875  9.250  9.825   --      --
Michelle Reeser   --    9.700  9.825  9.875    --
Jeana Rice       9.900  9.900  9.900   --      --
Kristin Sterner  9.850  9.800  9.900  9.875  39.425
Larissa Stewart   --    9.750   --     --      --

Alabama Totals  49.375 48.975 49.375 49.150 196.875

Denver Totals   49.125 49.000 48.725 49.275 196.125

A.F. Totals     47.625 45.850 47.800 47.375 188.650

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