Think of a stop light.

The Alabama gymnastics team sported green ribbons in their hair for Friday night’s meet against Georgia. There were multiple reasons behind the color, but one that fit the Crimson Tide’s 196.525 to 194.525 victory over the Bulldogs was simple.

“All in,” Alabama coach Dana Duckworth said. “Don’t hold back. Green means go.”

And Alabama needed that after the rough start it had. Its opening vault score, a 48.6, marked its lowest since Feb. 25, 2000 when it posted a 48.5 against Kentucky.

Sophomore Maddie Desch was second in the lineup. Unfortunately for Alabama, she took off before the flag was waved. The meet referee gave Duckworth two options: take a scratch or force Desch to go again with an automatic 0.5 deduction.

“Processing it at first, I got to tell you, I had so much confidence in our vault team that I thought, ‘Take the zero and don’t get the 0.5 deduction. Let these girls do their job,’” Duckworth said. “Then, after about 10 seconds, I realized that was a really bad decision.”

So, Desh repeated her vault and scored a 9.25.

The early mishaps didn’t stop there. Alabama freshman Lexi Graber fell on her vault landing and was unable to walk off on her own. Trainers carried her off the mat, as the judges raised her 9.3 that ended up counting toward Alabama’s final event score.

“Vaults one of those events we’re not there yet,” Duckworth said. “We all know that, and we’re pushing to get there. So we’ll be fine.”

Then, the Crimson Tide did exactly what Duckworth always preaches: focus on the next second.

Alabama moved to the uneven bars with a renewed sense of urgency. It put up at 49.4 bars score, something it wasn’t capable of doing until Week 6 last season. The highlight was senior Kiana Winston’s 9.925 and a pair of 9.9s from junior Ari Guerra and senior Mackenzie Brannan.

It was Brannan’s first time competing this year since she was sick during the season opener.

“It was really exciting to be back in Coleman and being in front of the fans,” Brannan said. “Just to be out there competing again, I mean, it’s what I love to do and I love to be here with my team.”

Her score, along with the rest of the bar workers’, was the comeback Alabama needed. The Crimson Tide went from being down by 0.525 after the first rotation to just 0.075 after the second.

On balance beam, Alabama posted individual scores all above 9.825.

Graber was supposed to compete on beam but was replaced by junior Abby Armbrecht, who ended up with a 9.85.

“I told Lexi before I went up that I had her back,” Armbrecht said. “So I did it for her.”

Alabama’s 49.35 beam score was much better than last week’s 48.725. Really, every event apart from vault saw a higher mark this week compared to last.

Heading into the final rotation, the Crimson Tide had a 0.825-point lead. Its 49.175 on the floor exercise sealed the deal.

“That was an incredible example of teamwork,” Duckworth said.

 

ALABAMA SCORES

Vault

Wynter Childers, 9.775

Maddie Desch, 9.250

Abby Armbrecht, 9.825

Shea Mahoney, 9.800

Lexi Graber, 9.300

Nickie Guerrero, 9.900

Uneven bars

Wynter Childers, 9.825

Ari Guerra, 9.900

Jennie Loeb, 9.725

Kylie Dickson, 9.850

Kiana Winston, 9.925

Mackenzie Brannan, 9.900

Balance beam

Peyton Ernst, 9.825

Maddie Desch, 9.875

Abby Armbrecht, 9.850

Wynter Childers, 9.875

Kiana Winston, 9.900

Nickie Guerrero, 9.850

Floor exercise

Wynter Childers, 9.850

Maddie Desch, 9.675

Shea Mahoney, 9.800

Abby Armbrecht, 9.825

Nickie Guerrero, 9.800

Kiana Winston, 9.900

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