Alabama Gymnastics Set for 35th NCAA Championship Appearance
After a short flight from Tuscaloosa, the Alabama gymnastics team arrived in St. Louis Wednesday afternoon for its 35th-consecutive NCAA Championship appearance.
“You never, ever, ever take this opportunity for granted,” UA head coach Dana Duckworth said. “It doesn’t just happen, you have to work extremely hard for it. Every single tenth, every single handstand is a difference maker.”
Alabama will compete in semifinal session II of the NCAA Championships on Friday, April 14 in Chaifetz Arena at 7 p.m. CT. The evening session also includes Florida, Georgia, LSU, Michigan and Nebraska. Alabama, Florida and Georgia are all past NCAA champions.
“The first night is going to be intense,” Duckworth said. “We are in the evening session with four SEC teams plus Michigan and Nebraska, so we have our work cut out for us. But these ladies are so good and so talented and we are so fired up for the opportunity.”
The top-3 teams from each session will advance to Saturday’s Super Six Team Final. The afternoon session (semifinal session I) starts at noon on Friday and is comprised of Utah, UCLA, Washington, Denver, Oklahoma and Oregon State. Utah, UCLA and Oklahoma are past champions.
In its first 34 years at the NCAA Championships, Alabama has finished no worse than ninth and outside the top four just five times. This year is the 25th season of the NCAA Super Six Team Final format. In the first 24 years of the Super Six format, Alabama has earned a spot in the final six an NCAA-best 22 times.
The Crimson Tide will start its semifinal session on the floor exercise and will then move to the vault before going to its first bye. After its first bye, Alabama will close competition on uneven bars and balance beam before finishing its night on its second bye. This marks the ninth year in a row that Alabama has competed in semifinal session II.
Alabama and the rest of the field will take part in a practice day on Thursday before competition gets underway on Friday.