Gymnastics team heads to conference championshipsBy Marquavius Burnett | 03/20/2013 11:01pm
The Alabama gymnastics team will travel to Little Rock, Ark., for the 2013 SEC Championships Friday. The conference championships provide the Crimson Tide a chance to perform in a hostile environment before nationals.
“The SEC is the toughest conference in the nation in my opinion,” senior Ashley Sledge said. “You definitely want the bragging rights, so we’re preparing very heavily for this meet.”
With the addition of Missouri to SEC gymnastics, this year’s championships will host eight teams and for the first time will be broken into two sessions. The top four teams by Regional Qualifying Score (Florida, Alabama, Georgia, LSU) will compete in the evening session while Auburn, Arkansas, Kentucky and Missouri will compete in the afternoon session.
Alabama will start on the uneven bars as the second seeded team in the evening session.
Alabama has won seven SEC Championships and has posted 23 top-2 finishes, including second place in 2012 with a score of 196.775. Alabama and Florida have traded the SEC title in recent years, with the Tide winning in 2009 and 2011 and the Gators in 2010 and 2012.
Lauren Beers Named SEC Freshman of the Week
After winning two individual titles against then No. 1 Oklahoma, Lauren Beers was named SEC Freshman Gymnast of the Week.
“Lauren had a tremendous meet against Oklahoma,” head coach Sarah Patterson said. “She continues to improve week-by-week and she has certainly given us a boost as we head into the championship season.”
Beers enjoyed a career night against the Sooners, winning the vault with a career-best 9.95 and the floor exercise with a career-best 9.9. Her 9.95 on the vault led the Tide to a season-best 49.525 on the vault. She also made her collegiate debut on the uneven bars, scoring a 9.825, helping the Tide to a season-best 49.425 team mark.
“She just has totally transformed into the gymnast that she is capable of being,” Sledge said. “We challenged the freshmen to step up, especially after Marissa got hurt, and she has totally rose to the occasion and I couldn’t be prouder.”