Lauren Beers vs. Georgia. Photo by Amelia J. Brackin
First off, check out my story in the Decatur Daily about Lora Leigh Frost, and how she’s helping the Alabama gymnastics team.
The No. 6-ranked Crimson Tide faces No. 3 Florida, last year’s national champion, in a home meet tonight at 7 p.m.
It’s kind of a revenge meet for Alabama after last year’s national championship meet. It’s not like teams go against each other in gymnastics, but it still stings seeing someone celebrate after getting so close.
“Florida is one of biggest competitors every year, and we look forward to competing against them,” senior Kim Jacob said. “It brings out the best in both the teams.”
“The biggest thing is they are the defending national champions now,” coach Sarah Patterson. “The last three-four years they were the team with the most talent and could have won the national championship. Once they conquered that and won last year, they are a great program.”
The Crimson Tide has three straight home meets to finish off the regular season starting tonight. Stanford comes to town next week and then Auburn the following week.
“What we are looking forward to is returning home,” Patterson said. “The competition is equally high or higher with the Florida Gators. With these three weeks at home, it give us the opportunity to be in a great comfort zone to make upgrades to our routines, changes, difference in the lineups. Anything we are going to do, we have a three-week window before the championship season starts.”
“It’s a great way to finish off the season,” Jacob said. “We get to have our fan bas here. I wouldn’t want it any other way, being able to compete here three times in a row at the end.”
Home sweet home
The SEC Championships and national championships are going to be in Birmingham, which will turn into home meets. The only time Crimson Tide heads out on the road from now on will be for the regionals.
“From a fatigue standpoint, it really works to our benefit,” Patterson said. “We’ll have one more meet on the road with regionals. The timing of it is good. Hopefully, we can capitalize on it with a great crowd.”
“This is the time where they are the more important meets,” Jacob said. “Early on we had to get our feet wet, get freshmen use to it and get good away scores. Now it’s time to hit our stride.”
DeMeo feeling better
Senior Sarah DeMeo (concussion) is feeling better and may compete in an event or two. She missed on a release on the uneven bars during practice and suffered a whiplash on the landing.
“She’s doing better, not 100 percent,” Patterson said. “These athletes want to go 100 percent of the time. We are just going to be really smart. I don’t want her to have any setbacks.”
Alabama vs. Georgia. Photo by Courtney Gage