TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The 2011 Southeastern Conference Champion Alabama Gymnastics team is the No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tuscaloosa Regional Championships which will be held in Coleman Coliseum Saturday, April 2 at 6 p.m., the NCAA announced Monday.
The Crimson Tide will be joined by No. 2 seed Penn State, No. 3 seed Illinois, Auburn, Central Michigan and Kentucky. The top-18 teams in the nation by regional qualifying score are seeded into the six regional sites. The remaining three teams come from within the region.
"In basketball, if you win the SEC tournament, that propels you to the NCAA tournament," UA head coach Sarah Patterson said. "In our sport, it does not; SECs is all about the ring and the bling. Now, for us, it comes down to regionals."
The top two teams from each regional move on to the NCAA Championships, which will be held April 15-17 in Cleveland, Ohio.
"This is the part of the season where we're the most like basketball," UA head coach Sarah Patterson said. "Whatever you've done up to this point is over with and you have to do it on that given night to move on."
This will mark the 12th time Alabama has hosted a regional, with the last time coming in 2009 when the Tide won the regional and led the nation in regional attendance. Alabama has won an NCAA-best 25 regional titles and advanced to the NCAA Championships 28 years in a row.
The Tide will start the regional on the floor exercise and will then move to the vault before taking its first bye of the evening. Alabama will finish the meet with the uneven bars and balance beam, before sitting out on a bye during the sixth and final rotation.
The Tide is familiar with the regional field, having already seen Kentucky and Auburn twice this season, Penn State to open the season as well as facing Central Michigan and Illinois at last year's NCAA Lexington Regional.
"We won't be looking around at anyone else, because we've seen these teams for the most part," Patterson said.
Each regional team will have an individual gymnast from a school that did not advance rotating with it. Ball State Brittney Emmons will rotate with the Crimson Tide. The top two all-arounders from each regional from a team that is not advancing will also earn a bid to Cleveland.
Regional tickets are available through RollTide.com and the Alabama Ticket Office (205.348.2262) located in the lobby of Coleman Coliseum.