Alabama gymnastics can repeat as SEC champion: Here's what the Crimson Tide needs to do

Mikey DiLullo
The Tuscaloosa News

Last season, Alabama gymnastics ended a six-year drought when the Crimson Tide won the SEC championship, the 10th conference title in program history. This season, Alabama has a chance to do it again.

With a win Saturday at Legacy Arena in Birmingham, Alabama would repeat as SEC champions for the second time in program history, and would join Georgia, Florida, and LSU as the only SEC teams to go back-to-back twice.

As the fourth seed, Alabama will be in the second session with Florida, LSU, and Auburn. The session will be shown on SEC Network at 7 p.m. CT.

Here's what Alabama has to do to repeat:

Continue positive momentum amid intensity

Alabama closed the regular season with two of the greatest performances in program history, scoring 198.075 against Arkansas and a 198 in the Elevate The Stage meet, the first two 198 scores in the Dana Duckworth era. The Crimson Tide won't need to score a third 198, but will need to avoid a poor performance.

"At the beginning of the year, the seniors came up with the theme TKO. Total knockout. It's like a battle, like a fight," Duckworth said. "What we focused on is that they do their best when they're focused. We have to be able to walk in and expect an intense competition."

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Don't focus on the past

Alabama may come in as defending champion, but once the meet starts that ceases to matter. The Crimson Tide can't afford to believe anything is owed to it as reigning SEC champion.

"There's a quote from Theodore Roosevelt: 'Yesterday's history, tomorrow's a mystery, we need to focus on the gift, which is why we call it the present.' That's what I told them," Duckworth said. "You focus on today. You continue to grind it out."

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Get as much out of Makarri Doggette as possible

Doggette made her return from injury against Missouri, but since then she's been limited to just uneven parallel bars. While she's performed admirably, her presence in other rotations would be a major help to Alabama if she is up to it. Duckworth said Doggette will compete on the bars but has not said whether she will compete elsewhere.

"Makarri will be on bars. That's what we know right now," said Duckworth. "We continue to be very smart with her injury."