Alabama gymnastics scores another 198 in Elevate the Stage win; Suni Lee wins all-around

Mikey DiLullo
The Tuscaloosa News

For the first time in three years, the Elevate The Stage meet returned to the Alabama gymnastics schedule after the meet was canceled in both 2020 and 2021 due to pandemic protocols. 

The Crimson Tide faced off against Auburn, Arkansas, and Georgia on Sunday in the Von Braun Center in Huntsville.

Alabama (9-4, 4-3 SEC) came out on top with a score of 198,  its second 198 in three days. Auburn (8-2-1, 5-1-1) was second with a 197.75, Arkansas (2-8, 0-7) was third with a 196.8, and Georgia (3-8, 1-7) claimed fourth with a 196.2.

Alabama gymnast Luisa Blanco and Alabama gymnast Ella Burgess yell for teammate Alabama gymnast Lilly Hudson as she does a tumbling run in Coleman Coliseum Friday, Feb. 25, 2022. Alabama defeated Missouri in the SEC meet.

Here's what we learned:

Fast start, early lead

Alabama started on the uneven parallel bars, and senior Emily Gaskins got the crowd chanting "Roll Tide Roll" with a 9.9.

While Lilly Hudson followed with a 9.85, it was Mati Waligora and Cam Machado who stole the show with back-to-back 9.95 scores.

Makarri Doggette added another 9.9 and Luisa Blanco scored a 9.925 to establish an early Crimson Tide lead.

Inconsistent balance beam

While Ella Burgess kept the momentum going by starting the balance beam with a 9.9, it would be the high point of an inconsistent rotation.

Lexi Graber and Hudson were able to tack on 9.875 scores, but a 9.825 by Waligora had to be kept after a surprising 9.625 from Blanco, whose awkward landing took her out of the all-around competition.

Suni Lee wins all-around

Despite Auburn coming up short in the team competition, freshman and Olympic champion Suni Lee had another great performance.

She scored 9.9s on the vault, floor exercise, and balance beam, while adding a 9.875 on the uneven parallel bars to claim the all-around title.

Lee's 39.7 barely edged Hudson's 39.5.

What's next

Alabama will go to the SEC championships in Birmingham on March 19.