This time last year – really every year since 2013 – the University of Alabama gymnastics team sat third in the nation. Now, it is ranked eighth with a national qualifying score of 393.98, which combines its regional qualifying score and regional score.
Oklahoma (396.085), LSU (395.315) and Florida (394.76) lead the pack.
Over a week ago, the Crimson Tide posted a 196.625 at the NCAA Morgantown Region, its third-lowest score of the season, and placed second. It was still enough for UA to earn its 35th consecutive NCAA Championships berth. Semifinals will be held Friday at Chaifetz Arena in St. Louis.
In total, there will be 12 teams (Oklahoma, Washington, UCLA, Oregon State, Utah, Denver, LSU, Nebraska, Michigan, Alabama, Florida and Georgia), 12 individual all-around competitors and eight individual event qualifiers. The first six teams will compete in the afternoon session. The latter six, which includes UA, will compete in the evening session, starting at 7 p.m.
For the ninth season in a row, the Crimson Tide will start on the floor exercise before going to vault. After, it will have a bye before heading to the uneven bars then balance beam. It ends on another bye.
Alabama has already faced every team in its pool this season minus Nebraska. It defeated Florida and Georgia, but lost to Michigan and LSU.
Only half of Friday’s teams will advance to Saturday’s Super Six with a chance to win the national title. The last time Alabama did not make it to the deciding round was in 2007.