TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The two-time defending national champion Alabama gymnastics team won its 28th NCAA Regional title to advance to the NCAA Championships for the 31st year in a row in front of a boisterous crowd of 7,758 in Coleman Coliseum Saturday night.
With the top two teams in each of the six regionals across the country advancing to the NCAA Championships, Alabama scored a 197.400 to win its ninth regional title in a row followed by Utah in second with a 196.400.
The Crimson Tide took the top-two spots in the all-around with fifth-year senior posting a 39.6 for the top spot while junior Kim Jacob was second with a 39.475. It was Priess’ first appearance in the all-around since the 2012 NCAA Championship Super Six Team Finals.
Alabama started things off with a 49.350 on the vault paced by sophomore Kayla Williams’ winning 9.925 from the leadoff spot and Priess’ 9.9. After its first bye of the evening, The Tide moved to the uneven bars where it used a trio of 9.9s, which all tied for first place, from junior Kim Jacob, sophomore Kaitlyn Clark and Priess to score a 49.375.
Jacob tied her career-best on the balance beam, scoring a 9.95 to lead Alabama to a 49.200. The Tide rebounded from a fall in the second spot and a large wobble in the third position to close with a 9.85 from junior Sarah DeMeo, Jacob’s 9.95 and a 9.9 from Priess.
The Tide closed out the night with a string of 9.9 or better routines on the floor exercise, scoring a 49.475, led by junior Diandra Milliner’s winning 9.925 and 9.9s from freshman Lauren Beers, DeMeo and Priess.
The other teams slated to advance from the other regionals across the country include Florida, Oklahoma, Georgia, LSU, UCLA, Michigan, Minnesota, Stanford, Utah, Arkansas and Illinois.
The 2013 NCAA Championships will be held in Los Angeles, Calif., on UCLA’s campus. With Alabama and Utah both advancing to the NCAA Championships, the two longest active streaks in the history of collegiate gymnastics remain intact. Alabama has now qualified for 31 of the 32 NCAA Championships while Utah has qualified for all 32.
(Courtesy: Alabama Athletics)