Tide gymnastics heading to State College for meetBy Marc Torrence | 01/18/2012 11:10pm
The Alabama gymnastics team will go on the road for the first time in the 2012 season for a quad meet in State College, Pennsylvania. Besides the Nittany Lions, the Crimson Tide will compete against the Michigan State Spartans and the Cornell Big Red.
Alabama started the season with a 196.475-196.325 win over the Georgia Bulldogs on Friday. The Tide will be looking to build off of the strong performance and fix a few errors from the first meet, including the uneven bars, where the Tide posted its lowest score of the meet, a 48.625.
“I think we learned a lot,” senior Geralen Stack-Eaton said. “Just trusting in one another that if somebody fell, the next person behind you will go up and hit. That helps a lot, to be able to trust your teammates and know that we all have each other's backs.”
The quad meet will also give Alabama practice in competing in an event against three other teams instead of just one. In a four-team meet, there is a strict warm-up time of 15 minutes for each event, as well as a team competing in every event at once.
“The biggest thing is that you have a limited amount of time to adjust to the equipment, especially when there's four teams,” head coach Sarah Patterson said. “A lot of it is, when we're in these four team settings, there's a lot of noise going on, people are competing at the same time, and that's exactly what we'll face at [the SEC Championships].”
Penn State has posted scores of 196.125 and 195.775 this year – both wins – while fellow Big Ten member Michigan State scored a 190.175 in a loss. Cornell finished in fourth place out of six teams in the George Washington Invitational, scoring a 188.950.
Penn State meet a homecoming for Stack-Eaton
This week’s meet against Penn State will be a trip far away from home for many of the Tide gymnasts, but for Geralen Stack-Eaton, it’s just the opposite.
Stack-Eaton’s hometown of Horsham, Pennsylvania is just a three-and-a-half hour drive from State College, and members of her family will be making the trip to see her compete.
“It's really nice,” Stack-Eaton said. “[My mom] doesn't always get to come down here just because of the plane fare and stuff like that.”
Stack-Eaton’s mother usually gets to see her daughter compete once or twice per year, but she will get a chance to attend an extra one this season because of this week’s meet.
Stack-Eaton earns conference award
Geralen Stack-Eaton was named the SEC Gymnast of the Week for her performance on Friday against the Georgia Gym Dogs that included a perfect 10.0 on the vault.
“It's a great honor. I'm thrilled to have it,” Stack-Eaton said about receiving the award. “I'm just excited to get going with the season more.”
It was the first 10.0 for Alabama since Ashley Miles scored two in the NCAA Championships in 2005. It was also the only perfect score in the SEC this year.
“That's just a great honor,” Patterson said. “To not have a 10.0 since 2005 and then to get one – it was well-deserved to get that honor.”
The award is the third of its kind for Stack-Eaton. She was named SEC Gymnast of the Week during her sophomore and junior years.