The national gymnastics coaches poll has placed two-time defending NCAA champion Alabama as the preseason No. 1. In the previous two seasons, Alabama opened at No. 2.
The preseason top 25 also includes all nine of Alabama’s 2013 opponents, including UCLA at No. 2, Florida at No. 3 and Oklahoma at No. 4. The Gators placed second in last season’s NCAA meet, while the Bruins were third.
“I had the same four teams at the top on my ballot,” Tide head coach Sarah Patterson said in a news release. “Although I had Florida at No. 1, and I feel they are the most talented team in the country and have been for the last several years.”
The Tide will face No. 8 LSU twice this season and will take on No. 11 Georgia and No. 12 Arkansas on the road. Alabama will also face off with No. 13 Auburn at midseason and will open on the road with No. 21 Missouri. This year’s Power of Pink meet will see the Tide take on No. 25 Kentucky in Coleman Coliseum.
The Alabama gymnastics program is good about providing a bunch of videos, including a legends series. The first covered Penney Hauschild, who was NCAA all-around champion in 1985 and 1986. In 1983, before Alabama had any of its six national titles, she led the Tide to its first NCAA championship meet. Alabama placed fourth. Here’s the legends video about her: