Alabama Gymnastics Vaults Into Semi-Finals
Looking to advance to the NCAA Finals, Alabama Hosted the Tuscaloosa Regional tournament, Friday afternoon inside Coleman Coliseum.
Alabama wanted to come out strong to begin the meet, and did they ever. Scoring a 49.500 on the balance beam, anchored by a perfect 10 from senior Luisa Blanco. The Crimson Tide would move on to the floor exercises and continue a strong performance not only from Blanco, but from junior Griffin James who posted a 9.900 on the floor.
Tied for second with Iowa and behind Arkansas after three rotations, the Tide exploded on the uneven bars, posting a school and Coleman Coliseum record 49.675 thanks in large part to another perfect 10 score by sophomore Makarri Doggette.
"All of us have obviously been wanting that perfect 10 for a long time," Doggette said. "For that dream to come true it was just so surreal. As soon as I hit, I saw my teammates behind me and that made it so special because it was all for them."
It would mark the first time since 2005 that Alabama would record two perfect 10 scores in the same meet and the first perfect 10 score on uneven bars since 2002. The last perfect score on balance beam for Alabama was back in 2014. Alabama would win on Friday to propel them to compete on Saturday for a spot in the NCAA Finals in Fort Worth, Texas.
Before the meet on Saturday, Alabama would pay tribute to Bama superfan Luke "Fluffopotomus" Ratliff who passed away suddenly on Friday night from Covid-19 complications.
Alabama would look to use the momentum from Friday's win to vault them into the finals. Alabama opened finals with a 49.625 on the uneven bars, which is the third-highest score in school history, following the school record of 49.675, which came on Friday afternoon. Alabama would score a total of 49.150 on the balance beam and a 49.425 on the floor to be in 2nd going into the vault competition.
Alabama would need a solid score to earn one of the two bids available for the finals. A pair of 9.9s from Blanco and junior Shallen Olsen took the Tide to a 49.375 team total and a trip to national championships. In addition to Oklahoma, Alabama will be joined in Ft. Worth by California, Florida, LSU, Michigan, Minnesota and Utah, giving the Southeastern Conference nearly half the field.
The NCAA Championships Semifinals will be held on Friday, April 16 and will feature two sessions of four teams each with the top-two from each advancing to the NCAA Championship Finals, which will be held on Saturday, April. 17.
Keep in tuned into Tide 100.9 for more updates on Alabama Gymnastics as the Tide look to win their first National Championship since 2012.