Redhawks to provide preview Thursday

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Southeast will have an intrasquad event at its "Meet the Team" night.

The season doesn't begin for more than a month, but Southeast Missouri State gymnastics fans will have an early opportunity for a sneak preview of the team on Thursday.

Southeast will conduct its annual intrasquad meet at 5 p.m. at Parker Gymnasium. There is no admission charge.

"It's our 'Meet the Team' night," Southeast coach Tom Farden said. "After the meet, fans are encouraged to stick around and meet all of our athletes and coaches.

"We always want to involve our fans in the program as much as possible, let them get a preview of what to expect this year."

Farden said the intrasquad competition is also a good way for his athletes to get a taste of meet-like conditions.

"A lot of our athletes are throwing a lot of new skills, a lot of stuff these athletes have never tried under pressure," Farden said. "In another month, they'll be doing this stuff for real. Now is a good time to work on it."

Farden, entering his fourth year as Southeast's head coach after previously serving as an assistant, expects another good season from the Redhawks as they try to build on last year's breakthrough campaign.

The Redhawks qualified for the NCAA regional meet last season for the first time since 1997 as they were one of 36 teams to earn regional berths.

In addition, Southeast finished 2006 ranked 35th nationally. The Redhawks were also rated 35th once earlier in the season. Both rankings represent the program's highest since 1999, when Southeast was 30th.

"We want to work hard and get back to the NCAAs, without question," Farden said. "I'm very optimistic. We don't have any seniors, but we've got a great blend of returning talent and strong freshmen.

"If I can tell you anything about this team, it's that they really hustle. I'm really looking forward to the season."

Southeast opens the campaign Jan. 13 with a home meet against Illinois-Chicago and Centenary.

Other home dates are Jan. 27 against Kent State, Feb. 17 against BYU, Feb. 24 against Texas Women's and March 13 against Illinois State.

All regular-season home meets are held at Houck Field House.

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