Alabama Gymnastics Signs Four to National Letters of Intent
University of Alabama head gymnastics coach Dana Duckworth announced Wednesday that the Crimson Tide has signed four student-athletes to National Letters of Intent. Bailie Key, Kylie Dickson, Alonza Klopfer and Lexi Graber will join the Tide for the 2017-18 season.
All four gymnasts have competed on the national stage and bring a strong academic background to the Crimson Tide.
“Bailie, Kylie, Alonza and Lexi are all unique in the gifts and talents they bring to the Capstone” UA head coach Dana Duckworth said. “Each of them has extraordinary experience, a special personality and competitive success that will translate into carrying on the legacy. They all strive for excellence in all phases of their lives and that drive will give them the opportunity to thrive here at The University of Alabama.”
A five-year member of the United States National Team, Bailie Key is coached by Kim and Chris Burdette at Texas Dreams Gymnastics, the same gym that produced current All-American junior Kiana Winston and sophomore Ari Guerra. Key has competed at the City of Jesolo Trophy meet in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015, winning the all-around in 2013 and 2014.
“I am a people person and the moment that I walked onto the campus I noticed that the coaches took interest in me as a person, not just as a gymnast,” Key said. “I felt like they cared about my goals and the plans for my future. They went out of their way to provide all the information I needed to make the best decision for me. I wanted to be a part of a team that had integrity, character and were serious about their academics. Alabama had it all.”
The Montgomery, Texas, native earned a bronze medal on the uneven bars and was fourth in the all-around at the 2015 P&G Championships. She also won the all-around, balance beam and floor exercise at the 2013 P&G Championships and won bronze medals on the vault, balance beam and floor exercise at the 2012 VISA Championships. A senior at Lakeland Christian Academy, Key is a member of the National Honor Society. She is the daughter of Dannette and James Key.
A native of Spanish Fort, Ala., Kylie Dickson has dual United States and Belarus citizenship. She has competed for Belarus in the 2015 World Championships and the 2016 Olympic Games. Dickson is coached by Artur Akopyan and Galina Marinova at the All Olympia Gymnastics Center. Dickson also posted a top-25 all-around finish at the 2016 European Championships.
“I am from Alabama, and I want to help Alabama win more national championships,” Dickson said. “Growing up in ‘my state’ I was exposed to a set of values that taught me that hard work, class and the pursuit of excellence were necessary to achieve your goals. The University of Alabama and its gymnastics program represent quality, excellence and consistency and these values align to my character. My interactions with the coaching staff and the girls on the team have revealed to me a family environment, a fun atmosphere and a place where everyone is in it together.”
A Senior International Elite, Dickson posted top-12 finishes in the all-around and the floor exercise at the 2015 Secret U.S. Classic. A senior at Spanish Fort High School where she has earned a place on the Honor Roll every semester, she is the daughter of Stacey and Steve Dickson.
The 2016 Junior Olympic National Balance Beam Champion, Alonza Klopfer is coached by Tony Gehman and Ann Meade at North Stars Gymnastics Academy. She took silver on the balance beam at the 2013 National Elite Qualifier Parkettes and was top five on the vault at the 2013 American Classic. She was second on the balance beam at both the 2012 WOGA Elite Qualifier and the 2011 National Qualifier.
“The University of Alabama has everything I was looking for,” Klopfer said. “I'm going to be able to experience a great education, as well as being a part of one of the best SEC schools in the United States. I'm am so excited to be a part of this legacy, and I know that my future is going to be bright.”
The Boonton, N.J., native won the vault and balance beam as well as taking the bronze in the all-around and floor exercise at the 2011 USA Gymnastics Open Championships. A senior in the North Stars Homeschooling Program, she is the daughter of Fred and Marina Klopfer.
The 2016 Junior Olympic National Vault Champion, Lexi Graber is coached by Dave Zwiefelhofer at Coast Elite Gymnastics Academy. She was the Junior Olympic Level 10 National Championships runner-up in the all-around in both 2012 and 2014. She also posted top-10 finishes in the uneven bars, balance beam, vault and floor exercise between the 2012 and 2014 Level 10 National Championships.
“The atmosphere and the great attitude expressed by everyone is absolutely amazing,” Graber said. “No matter where you go, if you are on Alabama campus, you don't want to be anything other than excited and joyful. The coaches and my future teammates all express such excitement for the future and all the things we are going to accomplish. The fact that I get to attend such an outstanding school that strives for academic excellence while also striving in the sport I love makes me so eager to see what the future brings. I have never doubted my choice of attending Alabama ever since my freshman year of high school and I am positive that the next four years of my life will be the ones I will remember and cherish forever.”
The Cape Coral, Fla., native took fourth in the all-around at the 2015 Nastia Liukin Cup. A senior at North Fort Myers High School where she earned the Al Oerter Award for excellence in academics, she is the daughter of Randy and Jodi Graber.
While the Tide's latest additions to its gymnastics family will get their start with the 2018 season, this year's squad gets underway in January. Season tickets are available through the Alabama Ticket Office (205.348.2262) located in the lobby of Coleman Coliseum or online at RollTide.com.