What we learned from Alabama gymnastics in the second round of the NCAA Tuscaloosa Regional

Mikey DiLullo
The Tuscaloosa News
Alabama gymnast Luisa Blanco scores a perfect 10 on her balance beam routine in the Crimson Tide's first meet in the gymnastics regional in Coleman Coliseum Friday, April 2, 2021. [Staff Photo/Gary Cosby Jr.]

Alabama gymnastics scored a 197.525 in the second round of the Tuscaloosa Regional on Friday at Coleman Coliseum, putting it in the third round of the regional with a trip to the national championship on the line.

Here's what we learned on Friday:

Luisa Blanco's perfect start

The sophomore started out in the anchor spot for the Crimson Tide as Alabama opened the match on balance beam. Blanco scored a 10, becoming the first Alabama gymnast in four years to score a perfect 10 on any event since 2017, and the first one to score a perfect 10 on the beam since 2014.

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"It's definitely something that's surreal," said Blanco. "You always dream of that perfect 10."

Alabama loses lead late

Despite leading through two rotations, mistakes on the vault helped the other teams narrow the gap. The Crimson Tide had four scores of 9.8 or lower on vault, allowing Iowa and Arkansas to tie and pass Alabama, respectively, and gave the Crimson Tide no cushion as the final rotation began.

"We knew that we needed to redeem ourselves and show how good we are," said Blanco.

Makarri Doggette's perfect finish

Needing every point possible, Alabama stepped up to the bars with the season on the line. Sophomore Makarri Doggette responded with a perfect 10, the first of her career and the second perfect 10 for Alabama on the day. It was the first perfect 10 on the bars for the Crimson Tide since 2002.

"My main thing is hitting my handstands and doing what I know how to do," said Doggette. "We've obviously wanted that perfect 10 for a long time, all of us have."

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What's next

Alabama will advance to the third round of the regional following this win. The Crimson Tide will face Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Missouri in the regional final.