Towson State's successful gymnastics program took another step forward yesterday, when the Tigers were selected for the first time to be host for an NCAA regional meet.
The 1995 NCAA Southeast Regional is one of five, seven-team regionals that determines the 12 teams that advance to nationals. Five regional champions advance to nationals, along with seven at-large teams.
"I've been to a lot of regionals, and this is going to be a fantastic site," Tigers coach Dick Filbert said.
"For the Baltimore folks, whether you're a gymnastics parent or whatever, this is as high a caliber of collegiate athletics as they're going to see. If we put two to three thousand people in here [Towson Center], which we're real excited about trying to do, this really will be a show."
Since becoming a member of Division I in gymnastics eight years ago, Towson State has qualified for the NCAA regionals every season, finishing as high as third on three occasions.
In 1990, the Tigers used a third-place finish in the regionals to advance to the nationals, where they wound up ninth in the nation.
Among the teams that figure to compete for regional berths are Florida and defending national champion Georgia. Georgia has won seven straight Southeast regional titles and also won national championships in 1987 and 1989. Florida has appeared in every NCAA championship tournament since its inception in 1982.
The Tigers are returning 10 gymnasts from last year's 18-2 team, which ended the year ranked 18th in the country.
Towson State has finished ranked in the Top 20 five times in the past eight years.