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December 4, 2012

Gymnastics ranked No. 1 in preseason poll

TUSCALOOSA | The two-time defending NCAA champion Alabama gymnastics team is ranked No. 1 in the preseason national coaches' poll. The Crimson Tide was ranked second in the preseason poll the last two years.

The preseason top 25 also includes all nine of Alabama's 2013 opponents, including the remaining three of the top four - UCLA at No. 2, Florida at No. 3 and Oklahoma at No. 4. The Gators and Bruins, who finished second and third last season in the tightest championship finish in NCAA gymnastics history, are separated by a single point in the preseason poll. Utah rounds out the top five.

"I had the same four teams at the top on my ballot," UA coach Sarah Patterson said. "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 meet 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 addition of Missouri to the Southeastern Conference this season does nothing but strengthen the nation's premiere gymnastics conference," Patterson said. "All eight of our schools are in the top 25, with seven in the top 15 and two in the top three.

"Our home schedule is incredible. Overall, our schedule is probably the toughest in the nation, but one that I feel will give us the experience necessary to be on the floor the last night of the season with a chance to win another championship."

Season tickets are on sale through the Alabama Ticket Office (205-348-2262) and online at RollTide.com.

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