The Alabama gymnastics team can no longer say two things: that it’s perfect in pink or that it’s undefeated at home against Florida.
For the first time since 2005, the Crimson Tide lost in a pink leotard. And for the first time since 2003, Alabama lost to Florida in Tuscaloosa. That’s all because No. 2 Florida defeated No. 9 Alabama 197.325 to 196.475 Friday in Coleman Coliseum during the Crimson Tide’s annual Power of Pink meet.
UA coach Dana Duckworth knew all of that was on the line.
“What matters is we finish strong,” Duckworth told her team during competition. “You can’t get caught up in the things that are somewhat uncontrollable. You to have focus on the things you can control.”
Alabama started solid on vault. The 49.175, led by a pair of 9.875s from Abby Armbrecht and Ariana Guerra, wasn’t the Crimson Tide’s best mark this season. It was enough to tie the Gators’ uneven bars score.
Vault was Florida’s lowest-ranked event, so the time was right for Alabama to pull ahead. Instead, it fell behind. The Crimson Tide scored another 49.175, highlighted by Guerra’s 9.9.
“When someone sets up a 9.9, the next person needs to capitalize, go 9.95 and do that kind of performance,” Duckworth said. “That’s where I look at the gaps that happened, and we just have to get better than that. … That’s what we haven’t done, and that’s what we need to find a way to do.”
Things didn’t improve on balance beam for the Crimson Tide. As Florida saw two gymnasts earn a 10 from one of the two floor exercise judges, Alabama had to count a fall. Both Armbrecht and Emily Gaskins came off the apparatus during their routines, so Gaskins’ 9.275 played into UA’s 48.675.
After those back-to-back falls, Lexi Graber stepped up and went 9.925 to end the event on a high note.
“I just get up there and try to focus on my training,” Graber said. “Not really let that affect me and affect my performance because we do that every day in the gym. We practice those pressure sets, and we do have those falls in some intrasquads. We practice so much for it.”
So, Graber did her job.
Then, Shea Mahoney did hers. She posted a 9.95 on floor that received a 10 from one judge. That ties her for the best UA individual score this season.
“That was pretty cool,” Mahoney said. “That’s the goal in college gymnastics and really since I’ve been here. I was really close last year and I was really close tonight. But what matters more to me is just doing a good performance for my team. And if that’s a 10, then yay.”
Graber also scored a 9.95 on floor, bringing Alabama to a 49.45 for its final event. Now that was a season high, the only one the Crimson Tide accomplished as a team.
Alabama hits the road to take on No. 13 Kentucky next week.
Reach Terrin Waack at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 205-722-0229.
Shea Mahoney, 9.825
Abby Armbrecht, 9.875
Maddie Desch, 9.775
Ariana Guerra, 9.875
Shallon Olsen, 9.825
Lexi Graber, 9.35
Angelina Giancroce, 9.825
Jensie Givens, 9.8
Ariana Guerra, 9.9
Shea Mahoney, 9.8
Kylie Dickson, 9.8
Emily Gaskins, 9.85
Alonza Klopfer: 9.825
Maddie Desch, 9.8
Shallon Olsen, 9.85
Abby Armbrecht, 9.225
Emily Gaskins, 9.275
Lexi Graber, 9.925
Maddie Desch, 9.875
Shea Mahoney, 9.95
Shallon Olsen, 9.125
Emily Gaskins, 9.875
Lexi Graber, 9.95
Ariana Guerra, 9.8