April 17, 2009

2009 National Collegiate Women's Gymnastics Championships
Session II - Press Conference
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Lincoln, Neb. (Bob Devaney Sports Center)

Opening Statements Sarah Patterson (Alabama Head Coach)
"We are just so thrilled to be advancing. Each year, when we start the season in September, the goal is to be on the floor the last night of the season with a chance to win the championship, and so to do that you have to put yourself in a position where you advance. I don't think you can ask anything more. You just go out there and lay it all on the table. That is our goal so we have achieved it tonight and now tomorrow night we are just going to go out there and lay it all on the line. I'm extremely proud of our SEC counterparts. "

Rene Cook (Arkansas Head Coach)
"Obviously we are thrilled to be here. We are very fortunate. Our team believed this was a goal they could achieve from day one. Actually from nationals last year this has been a huge goal of our team. They have worked really hard and they have believed more than anything. In their preparation, in themselves and to see it all culminate in their performance tonight, as their coach, was so satisfying and fulfilling for them and their hard work. We couldn't be more proud of each one of these girls because they believed sometimes when the coaches weren't so sure. We were a little bit more skeptical sometimes. We are very fortunate. Obviously the field is great. Competition tonight was so exciting, I think my heart rate is still up trying to deal with it all. A great competition by our team to achieve a goal they set last year at this time. We are so proud of them."

Greg Marsden (Utah Head Coach)
"We knew we had it all the time. That's a joke. First, I'd like to congratulate UCLA. Obviously, they are an equally fine team. We were sitting over there and we thought we were on the short end of it, so I can empathize with how they are feeling right now. They are a great team, but we are very pleased to be here. It is not the way we planned to get here, but we will take it. We will look forward to tomorrow night. "

Marsden on the feeling of not knowing if his team made tomorrow's Super Six...
"I think everybody at the table knows how hard you work to get here and how hard they work. Who you really feel badly for are the athletes. We thought we had blown it. We thought we weren't going to make it through. It was a very pleasant big surprise when we found out that we were the team going through."

Utah's Kristina Baskett on not knowing if her team made tomorrow's Super Six....
"It was just really emotional. Like every other team sitting here, we worked our butts off this whole year. To see that kind of go away was really hard to take. Just to be able to have a second chance at it, we are going to take advantage of that. We are just glad it starts over tomorrow. It starts from scratch so we are happy for that."

Patterson on the number of SEC schools to advance to the Super Six.....
"First of all, I had no doubt we had five schools that could do this because I have seen these teams week in and week out. We've defeated all of our opponents in the SEC and pretty much we've lost to all of them in the SEC early in the season. I just know if you are not on on any certain night, you are going to get beat. I think the reason we are all tested and we are strong competitors is because week in and week out that is what we face."

Cook on the number of SEC schools to advance to the Super Six...
"I totally agree with Sarah. Our conference and especially our championship just prepares us for the postseason mentally more than anything. We have not done well at the SEC championship meet, but at the same time we know the value of that experience going into regionals and nationals. I know our team feels that way. It gives them a sense of confidence. The year-long competition between our schools helps us achieve at nationals. It is pretty cool that all the teams that advanced here advanced to the Super Six. I don't know how better to say it than that."

Greg Marsden on how team is going to turn it around tomorrow.....
"It probably was our worst meet of the year. We have been very consistent. Obviously we weren't every consistent tonight. We made some uncharacteristic mistakes. I hope we are going to relax and be more characteristic tomorrow and do more that we are capable of. As we saw today, all the teams out there are going to be very good. If it's not your night and you are not on a roll, it's going to be a tough competition. We are going to enjoy tonight and be happy that we made it through and talk a little bit about approach tomorrow and try to get relaxed. We are going to see if we can do a better job."