NCAA Gymnastics Regional Action Coming To Auburn Saturday
April 5, 2012
AUBURN - The NCAA Gymnastics Regional Championship is set to be held at Auburn University at 6 p.m. CT on Saturday in the Auburn Arena. The meet will include top competition from teams such as Auburn, Georgia, Michigan, Michigan State, Oregon State and West Virginia, along with selected individuals, who will vie for spots at the NCAA Gymnastics Championship, April 20-22 at The Arena at Gwinnett Center in Duluth, Ga.
Tickets are still available for the NCAA Gymnastics Regional, the second NCAA post-season event to be held at Auburn Arena in its two years of operation. Fans can go to www.AUBTix.com or call 1-855-AUB-2010. Regional are general admission. Adult tickets are $10 while youth and college student tickets are $5.
Around the country, 36 teams will be competing at six regional sites including Champaign, Ill., Fayetteville, Ark., Raleigh, N.C., Salt Lake City, Utah, Seattle, Wash., as well as Auburn. Six teams, five all-around competitors (who are not on a qualifying team) and one individual even specialist per event (who has a minimum Regional Qualifying Score (RQS) of 9.4) were named to each of the six predetermined host sites.
The top two teams and the top two all-around competitors (who are not from an advancing team) at each regional will receive an automatic berth to the NCAA National Championship. In addition, the event winners will also advance to the championship if they are not part of a qualifying team or an all-around qualifier.
The Georgia Gym Dogs have high hopes of returning to the NCAA Championship as they come into the competition as the top seed. After a third-place finish at the Southeastern Conference Championship, the Bulldogs are ranked sixth in the country. Kat Ding is ranked No. 1 in the NCAA on uneven bars (9.935) and is tied for 15th on vault (9.910). She earned All-SEC honors by placing second on bars at the SEC Championship.
The second seeded team, Oregon State, is no stranger to the post-season as they fight for their seventh straight appearance at the NCAA Championship. This is Beavers 41st straight trip in the NCAA regional round of competition. The seventh ranked team in the nation, the Beavers placed third at the PAC-12 Championship while posting their second highest score of the season. Six Oregon State gymnasts were announced as members of the All-Pac-12 team. Senior Leslie Mak leads the Beavers as the 2012 PAC-12 Gymnast of the Year and is tied for first in the nation on balance beam (9.930).
The Auburn Tigers, ranked 18th in the nation, enter the meet as the No. 3 seed. The Tigers are making their 10th-straight NCAA Regionals appearance and are looking for their first NCAA Championship berth since 2003. Auburn head coach Jeff Graba was named the 2012 SEC Coach of the Year, while freshman Bri Guy was announced as a member of the All-SEC Second Team.
The No. 4 seed Michigan makes its 21st consecutive appearance at the NCAA Regional Championships this Saturday. After a fourth-place finish in the Big Ten Championships, the Wolverines are ranked 21st in the country. Michigan is looking for its 10th Regional title to qualify for the NCAA Championship.
After finishing the regular season as the 2012 East Atlantic Gymnastics League Champions, West Virginia enters the Regional competition as the No. 5 seed. This will be the Mountaineers 29th appearance in NCAA post-season competition. West Virginia's Hope Sloanhoffer was named 2012 EAGL Gymnast of the Year.
The No. 6 and final seeded team is Michigan State. Competing in their their seventh straight NCAA Regional appearance, the Spartans finished seventh at the Big Ten Championships in Iowa. This will be their seventh-straight NCAA Regional appearance for Michigan State. Taira Neal was selected for the All- Big Ten second team
Alongside the team competition, the NCAA Regional meet includes individual competitors. All-Around individuals invited to the meet include Nicole Allen, Ball State; Taylor Zondervan, Western Michigan; Capeda Carter, Western Michigan; Megan Harrington, Bowling Green; Gina Locigno, Bowling Green and alternate Jessica Lieblich, Centenary (La.).
Individual event specialists are Danielle Wishart, Bowling Green (vault); Lauren Bledsoe, Western Michigan (vault alternate); Caroline O'Brien, Western Michigan (uneven bars); Julie Cotter, Ball State (uneven bars alternate); Jamilah Ali, Bowling Green (balance beam); Ciara Maradiaga, Centenary (La.) (balance beam alternate); Lauren Bledsoe, Western Michigan (floor exercise) and Danielle Wishart, Bowling Green (floor exercise alternate).
Live stats and free live video Webcast of the meet will be available at AuburnTigers.com. Follow Auburn Gymnastics on Twitter @AUGymnastics for information and updates.
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