It’s early in the women’s college gymnastics season, but Alabama is ranked seventh nationally, an uncharacteristically low spot for the Crimson Tide.
In the past 30 years or so, Alabama’s gymnastics team has built a tradition that no other team on campus can match. Certainly, we realize there’s more competition and greater scrutiny on sports such as football and men’s basketball, but the level of consistency displayed by Crimson Tide gymnastics is almost unreal.
Since 1983, Alabama has advanced to the NCAA gymnastics championships every year and finished at least fourth every time but four. In 1997 and 2007, the Crimson Tide was ninth. Alabama was fifth in 2000 and sixth in 2008.
That streak includes six national titles, seven runners-up and nine third-place finishes. Alabama hasn’t lost to Auburn since 1979.
The Crimson Tide has done it all under the same coach, Sarah Patterson, the last coach on campus hired by legendary football coach and athletics director Bear Bryant. She arrived on campus in 1978, just having graduated from Slippery Rock University in New York and in need of a job. Bryant hired her, and look what she has accomplished.
It seems like a good bet Alabama won’t stay seventh in the rankings for long.
Contact Anniston Star Sports Editor Mark Edwards at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @MarkSportsStar.