Alabama gymnastics scores third 198 of season, advances to NCAA National Championships

Mikey DiLullo
The Tuscaloosa News

One year after its fifth-place finish, Alabama gymnastics will be returning to the NCAA championships.

While Alabama's score of 198.175 was not enough to win the Seattle Regional Final on Saturday night, it was enough to clinch the Crimson Tide's spot in the championship meet with a second-place finish.

Utah's 198.2 won the regional.

Alabama, Utah, Oklahoma and Minnesota will be paired in the first session of the NCAA  championships on April 14 in Fort Worth, Texas, April 14-16.

"I can't even describe how proud I am," said Alabama coach Dana Duckworth. "These women are warriors. They came in here to fight for everything. They never gave up, and it was just one hit after another. No, we still weren't perfect, and we still have more in the tank. But the confidence we saw tonight is what we needed. I am so beyond impressed."

Here's what we learned:

Freshman Lilly Hudson's career day

With junior stars Luisa Blanco and Makarri Doggette still limited, it was freshman Lilly Hudson who filled the gap in the all-around lineup. She scored a 9.95 in both the vault and the balance beam, getting her career high in both events.

Hudson also scored a 9.9 on the uneven parallel bars, giving her three 9.9 scores.

Inconsistent bars routine

While Alabama is one of the best bars teams in the country, it had a lot of room for improvement on Saturday. While Hudson scored a 9.9 and Doggette and Shania Adams each added a 9.95, Alabama also had three scores of 9.85 or worse, including a 9.825 from Blanco.

Alabama gymnast Lilly Hudson waits for the judges so she can compete on the floor during the SEC Gymnastics Championship at Legacy Arena in Birmingham Saturday, March 19, 2022.

Alabama avoids balance beam falls

All of Alabama's opponents had at least one fall on the balance beam, but Alabama was able to deliver one of its best rotations of the season. In addition to Hudson's 9.95, Ella Burgess started with a 9.95, while Shallon Olsen added a 9.925 for her second 9.9 score of the regional. Shania Adams scored a career-high 9.95.