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Alabama wins second straight gymnastics title

By Charles Odum

Associated Press

Published: Saturday, April 21 2012 5:40 p.m. MDT

Former Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck sits in the stands before finals of the NCAA women's gymnastics championships, Saturday, April 21 2012, in Duluth, Ga., .

John Bazemore, Associated Press

DULUTH, Ga. — Ashley Priess closed Alabama's decisive balance beam rotation with a 9.950 and the Crimson Tide edged top seed Florida to win its second straight NCAA women's gymnastics championship on Saturday.

Alabama won its sixth championship by posting a 197.850 to beat Florida's 197.775 as the Southeastern Conference took the top two spots.

UCLA was third at 197.750, followed by Stanford (197.500), Utah (197.375) and Arkansas (196.300).

Entering the final rotation, Florida led Alabama by only .025. The Gators scored a 49.40 on the floor and Alabama won with its 49.50 on the beam.

UCLA watched the final rotation, with its score already posted as the mark to beat.

UCLA was led by junior Vanessa Zamarripa's 10.0 on vault and career-best 39.775 all-around score. Zamarripa finished the regular season ranked No. 1 on the vault for the third time in her career.

Former Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck, the likely No. 1 pick by Indianapolis in next week's NFL draft, wore a white and red Stanford volleyball T-shirt as he sat with other Cardinal fans. He was cheering for his girlfriend, Stanford senior Nicole Pechanec.

Luck declined a request to discuss the draft. "I'd really rather not. I'm here for gymnastics today," he said. The Associated Press reported Thursday a person with direct knowledge of the situation said that the Colts have notified Luck that they plan to make him the No. 1 pick.

ESPN baseball analyst Joe Morgan sat a few rows from Luck. Morgan's daughter is Stanford junior Ashley Morgan.

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