ATHENS, Ga. — The No. 6 Alabama gymnastics team posted its best road score of the season to beat No. 8 Georgia in Athens, Ga., Sunday afternoon, 197.700-197.325. It was the Crimson Tide’s second-highest score of the season overall and Georgia’s season high.
“That was a very important road win for so many reasons including building our trust and confidence,” UA head coach Dana Duckworth said. “I think it says a lot that our ladies stayed in their bubble, stayed relaxed and truly had fun and executed what they had trained all week.”
The Crimson Tide was without Keely McNeer, who injured her hand in a car accident Thursday. Coming into the meet against the Bulldogs, the senior was Alabama’s leadoff on the vault, uneven bars and balance beam for a majority of the past three years and shared the team lead for the most routines in competition this season.
“Due to the turn of events, with Keely having her accident and people having to step in — like Abby Armbrecht on the balance beam, Aja Sims on the uneven bars and Wynter Childers on the vault — having people step up and come through like that was big,” Duckworth said.
Alabama opened the meet by tying its season-best uneven bars total, going 49.400 behind a 9.925 from junior Kiana Winston and a 9.900 from senior Katie Bailey. On the vault, back-to-back 9.875s from Bailey and freshman Maddie Desch to close the rotation led to a 49.275 team scores. It was a career-best vault score for Desch.
The Tide posted a 49.500 on the floor exercise with five scores of 9.875 or higher including a 9.95 from Winston. Sophomore Ari Guerra led the Tide off with a career-best tying 9.900, a score matched by Desch.
The Tide closed out the meet with a strong performance on the balance beam, posting a 49.525 with five marks of 9.875 or better led by a 9.95 from junior Nickie Guerrero and a 9.925 from Winston. Desch scored a career-best 9.9 on the beam while Armbrecht led off the rotation with a career-best 9.875.
“For us to be solid on the last two events after we were less than perfect on the first two, shows the kind of resilience that this team is going to need to be successful in the end,” Duckworth said. “This was awesome preparation for the SEC Championships where every event is going to be tight.”
Winston won the all-around with a 39.650, the second highest total of her career. It was the fifth all-around win of the season for the Fort Worth, Texas, native.
After closing out its regular-season road slate at Georgia, Alabama returns to Coleman Coliseum for its regular-season finale on Friday against Iowa State starting at 7:30 p.m.