Feb. 26, 2009
No. 5 Auburn (5-3, 3-2 SEC) will travel to Tuscaloosa, Ala., to face No. 11 Alabama (3-4, 1-4 SEC) on Friday for a 7:30 p.m., showdown in Coleman Coliseum. FSN will tape-delay Friday's meet on March 6 at 5:30 p.m.
"We feel like we've been really consistent and the kids are really confident," head gymnastics coach Jeff Thompson said. "It doesn't matter to us where we compete, how big the crowd is or who the judges are. Alabama is ranked ahead of us on three-of-four events, but we're ahead of them on floor and in the national rankings. If you add up the RQS on each event, we are a dead even tie based on what we've done all season long."
Auburn travels to Tuscaloosa, fresh off of a 196.475-192.550 win over Kentucky on Feb. 20 in Beard-Eaves-Memorial Coliseum. Lindsey Puckett won her fourth all-around title and posted a 9.950 and a 9.925 on vault and floor, respectively. Rookie bars specialist Kendall Swartz won her second bars crown.
With the win, Auburn maintained its spot as the fifth-ranked team with a RQS of 196.260. The Tigers are ranked fourth on floor (49.170), eighth on beam (49.030), 11th on bars (48.985) and 12th on vault (49.055).
In all-around action, the Tigers boast a pair of top-10 all-arounders in fourth-ranked Lindsey Puckett (39.450) and eighth-ranked A.J. Mills (39.365). Puckett is ranked third on beam (9.885), sixth on vault (9.900) and 12th on floor (9.870). Mills is tied for 17th on beam (9.845) and ranks 25th on vault (9.845). Rachel Inniss is the third top-25 ranked gymnasts, tied for 16th on floor (9.855).
"We have our two senior all-arounders that have been awesome for us all year in A.J. Mills and Lindsey Puckett," Thompson said."We've also got Lauren Brzostowski back as of yesterday and she's going to be available. She led us off on vault and beam in all six meets and she hit every time she went."
As a team, the Tide are ranked 11th with a RQS of 196.010. The Alabama beam workers are ranked third (49.135), followed bars at eighth (49.080), vault at 10th (49.100) and floor at 14th (48.925).
Individually, Alabama has four gymnasts that rank among the top 25 on three different events. In all-around action, Ricki Lebegern ranks eighth on beam (9.860) and 14th in the all-around (39.255). Freshman Ashley Priess holds a pair of top-25 rankings as she is tied for 11th on beam (9.85) and tied for 18th on bars (9.845). Junior Kassi Price is listed 17th bars (9.845) and rookie Geralen Stack-Eaton comes in 23rd on beam (9.835).
Alabama is coming off of a 196.875-195.625 loss to then-No. 6 Florida last week in Gainesville, Fla. The Tide had three solid rotations before hitting its worst balance beam rotation of the season with two falls and a sub-9.5 routine. Alabama's beam score of 48.125 pushed the Tide to its lowest overall team score of the season.
Already meeting once this season in Beard-Eaves-Memorial Coliseum, Alabama won by the slightest of margins, 195.675-195.650. In the Auburn loss, A.J. Mills captured the floor title on a 9.9 performance and was first in the all-around with a 39.375. Lindsey Puckett won bars with a 9.8.
Friday's meet will be the fifth annual Power of Pink meet, where both schools will put aside their traditional colors and wear pink leotards to create awareness for breast cancer.