Despite increasing its National Qualifying Score by 0.045, the Alabama gymnastics team moved down to ninth in the latest rankings. The Crimson Tide now has a 196.78 NQS, a minor bump but a bump nonetheless from its 196.735 last week that ranked it eighth in the nation. UA has come in at No. 9 in four of the nine in-season rankings.
Alabama most recently defeated Auburn with a 196.7 to close out its home schedule. This means the Crimson Tide failed to score a 197 in Coleman Coliseum for the first time since 2006. That was also the last time Alabama did not hit a 197 at least once in a single season.
“I chuckle because I’m like, ‘Oh, man. We didn’t break 197 again,’” UA coach Dana Duckworth said after the meet. “But you know what? They fought to the very end. You have to not count a fall to be able to do what we’re trying to do.”
She has a point.
The Crimson Tide had two falls on the balance beam, drawing a 9.275 and a 9.2. One of the marks had to count toward its event score, which ended up being a 48.525. Otherwise, Alabama scored season highs on all of the other events: a 49.35 on vault, a 49.325 on uneven bars and a 49.5 on floor exercise.
Had UA managed a 48.825 on beam, it would have made a 197 on the dot. Alabama’s NQS on beam is a 49.06, so it wouldn’t have been an outlandish feat. But potential doesn’t matter if there’s no execution.
Alabama has two regular-season meets left, starting with Auburn on Saturday in Birmingham for the in-state rivals’ annual Elevate the Stage competition. The Tigers enter the rematch 13th (196.54 NQS), also a spot lower than last week.
Oklahoma is the No. 1 team nationally — has been all season — with a 197.94 NQS. UCLA (197.8) is second, followed by Florida (197.545) in third. LSU (197.38) and Utah (197.315) are fourth and fifth, respectively.
As for event rankings, the Crimson Tide is sixth on floor (49.33), ninth on vault (49.18), 11th on bars (49.215) and 16th on beam (49.06).