Tuscaloosa, AL (U-WIRE) -- Terin Humphrey is arguably one of the most anticipated freshmen in the history of Alabama Gymnastics, and in her first four weeks with the team, she has shown why.
Humphrey entered Tuscaloosa as the first Olympian in Alabama gymnastics history, winning two Olympic silver medals at the Athens games in 2004.
As if that didn't provide enough of a resume, Humphrey was also a member of the U.S. team at the 2003 World Championships, where her floor routine helped clinch the gold medal for the Americans.
Needless to say, Humphrey's reputation preceded her when she arrived at the Capstone.
After spending the fall semester with the TJ Maxx Olympic Tour, Humphrey was expected to have a somewhat slower start as she got back into the swing of competitive gymnastics. Her start was anything but slow, climbing to fourth in the nation on the uneven bars and gaining a No. 1 ranking on the balance beam by the second week of the regular season.
"She's gotten her skills back so easily," said freshman Kaitlin White, Humphrey's teammate and roommate. "Every day she seems to be getting back to where she wants to be."
After seemingly bouncing back with ease in her first two events, Humphrey added yet another event, the vault, for last week's meet against Auburn, where she tied for first in the meet.
"Terin really doesn't have a weak event," assistant head coach David Patterson said.
Patterson said that although Humphrey is not competing in the all-around just yet, she's certainly headed in that direction.
"The floor exercise is the hardest to train for because of the endurance it requires," Patterson said. "In the next couple of weeks, she'll be training, and when she's comfortable, we'll move forward."
Humphrey's impact on the team is felt not only on the scoreboard but in practice as well.
"Terin has helped this team tremendously, especially because of her past experience in international competition," said White.
Humphrey believes her Olympic experience will come in handy as the Tide vies for a national championship later in the season.
"After the Olympics, I feel much more comfortable competing now," Humphrey said. "It really taught me how to handle myself in pressure situations."
The Tide coaching staff knows better than anyone how valuable Humphrey's experience will be.
"For a freshman to have international experience is extremely rare," Patterson said. "It's going to make a difference down the road in big meets, where freshmen usually struggle with the pressure of a big meet."
So she's breezed through her gymnastics transition, but surely the Missouri native must be having the same struggles any freshman has being away at college for the first time, right?
"Actually, I'm just glad be staying in one spot for a change," Humphrey said. "Tuscaloosa is a really fun place. The toughest part is getting used to the accents."
Humphrey's transition into college life comes partly at the hands of her teammates.
"I really love being a part of Alabama gymnastics," said Humphrey. "This is the best team I've ever been on."
"Terin has never been in this close of a team atmosphere before," Patterson said. "They've really brought her into the process of working as a group for the team goal."
Terin and the fourth-ranked Crimson Tide will try to keep up the good work Friday night at Coleman Coliseum when they face 17th-ranked Kentucky at 7:30.
(C) 2004 The Crimson White via U-WIRE