Not a day goes by Dana Duckworth doesn’t think about postseason.
Sure, it’s one meet at a time for the University of Alabama gymnastics team, but the head coach doesn’t hesitate to admit she constantly keeps the end goal in mind. Everything the Crimson Tide practices now matters just as much as it will when it’s time for the big stage – if not more.
“Because those are the small things you’re working on now; because you know what it’s going to take to be the very best at the end,” Duckworth said. “But you can’t rush those things.”
There’s a balance in place, one Boise State will put to the test on Friday in Coleman Coliseum. Alabama isn’t changing its preparation. It has been doing the same thing ever since the season started: striving for perfection. Accomplishing that task requires executing the basics, the small things Duckworth mentioned.
Toes have to be pointed. Landings have to be stuck. Handstands have to be straight.
The list goes on.
“We’re going to peak at the right time,” freshman Wynter Childers said. “We’re rolling. It’s moving now.”
And it is. Alabama is back in the top five now that the regional qualifying score determines rankings. The Crimson Tide is fourth with a 197.085 RQS. The Broncos are 12th with a 196.33.
Last week, Alabama was sixth and Boise State was seventh. One team jumped. The other fell.
“That doesn’t mean they’re not a great team,” Duckworth said. “They’re a great team.”
There’s a 0.282-point difference between Alabama’s overall average and its RQS. There’s a 0.124-point difference between Boise State’s two.
The Crimson Tide is happy to be closer to the top because it’s where the team believes it belongs.
Junior Nickie Guerrero loves when rankings switch over to RQS. It eliminates the highs and the lows, so she believes it’s a stronger representation of a team’s abilities, especially her own.
“The 197 is definitely where we’re at,” Guerrero said. “It just shows we can get better because we know we can hit that 197.8 if we just do what we do every day. We’re so capable of it.”
In fact, UA has posted a season-high 197.825 already. That meet was also at home.
On the uneven bars, Boise State will challenge Alabama. There’s a 0.03 difference separating the two teams in the event’s rankings. The Crimson Tide is fifth. The Broncos are sixth.
Alabama is ranked in the top five on every event – third on the balance beam and floor exercise, then fifth on the vault. Boise State is not even in the top 10.
“I can tell you that people come to Tuscaloosa because Alabama has a target on their back,” Duckworth said, “and everyone wants to beat us quite honestly.”