For the past decade, the University of Alabama gymnastics team either walked away from SEC Championships with the title or at least as the runner-up. That top-two streak ended last Saturday in Jacksonville, Florida, as the Crimson Tide placed third for the first time since 2007.
This time around, LSU won to end a 36-year dry spell by posting the third highest score in SEC Championships history (198.075). Florida came in second with a 197.825. Alabama had a 197.4.
The Crimson Tide now has six third-place finishes compared to nine first and 19 second since the first 1981 meet. It has never ended up lower than fourth.
Individually, junior Kiana Winston earned her second SEC title with a 9.95 on the balance beam. She tied for first on the uneven bars last year with senior Katie Bailey, who took the title again this year with a 9.95.
Alabama continues to hold the No. 6 spot in the nation. After having a 197.825 RQS back-to-back weeks, UA increased its mark to 197.355. Oklahoma, LSU and Florida continue to lead the way in order. The Sooners are the only team with an RQS above 198, cracking it by just a hundredth of a point.
After Keely McNeer was in a car accident that injured her hand, she missed the final two regular season meets and was unsure if she would be back for the first postseason showing. She did compete on the beam, scoring a 9.
Normally, McNeer leads Alabama off on vault, bars and beam.