TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The No. 7 Alabama gymnastics team defeated No. 17 Missouri in front of a Coleman Coliseum crowd of 11,845 Friday night, 195.850-194.525. Already without sophomore Wynter Childers in the lineup due to a knee issue that required rest, Alabama also went without sophomore Shea Mahoney, who rolled her ankle during warm ups on the floor exercise. Those absences, coupled with a trio of falls and some other adversities throughout the meet, made it a meet-long battle for the Tide.
"Tonight was a hot mess," UA head coach Dana Duckworth said. "But there were some bright spots."
Junior Abby Armbrecht and freshman Lexi Graber were among those bright spots along with highlights from seniors Nickie Guerrero and Kiana Winston. Armbrecht won the floor exercise with a career-best 9.950, which was also the highest individual score on the night. It marked the third week in a row that she has posted a career-best mark on floor.
"We have changed (Armbrecht's) floor routine recently and there is more to come from this young lady," Duckworth said. "I could not be prouder of the work she has put in, the discipline she's had in the gym, and you can see it translating into the competition."
Graber scored a 9.9 to win the uneven bars, an event that she was filling in for Mahoney in the lineup.
"That was so exciting," Graber said of her uneven bars score. "I was originally going to be exhibition, so I was getting ready for that, preparing myself. Then, when Shae was unable to go, I had her back and I just went out there."
Guerrero won the vault with a 9.925 while Winston took top honors on the balance beam with a 9.900.
Alabama started off the night with a 48.975 on the vault paced by a 9.925 from Guerrero. On the uneven bars, Graber scored 9.9 to propel the Tide to a 49.125. Graber's career-best mark came directly after a fall earlier in the Tide's lineup. Junior Ari Guerra opened the uneven bars rotation with a standout 9.875. Following a pair falls in its first two routines on the balance beam, Alabama scored a 48.625 on the apparatus. Armbrecht got things going in the right direction on beam with a 9.8 in the third spot while Graber scored a 9.825 in the fourth position. Winston and Guerrero closed out the rotation with a 9.9 and 9.875, respectively.
"Abby stepped in and did a good job after the falls on beam and then Lexi did the same thing," Duckworth said. "That was followed by the seniors, Kiana and Nickie, and that sealed the deal and basically put us back on the map."
The Tide finished the meet with a 49.125 on the floor exercise, powered by a career-best 9.95 from Armbrecht and a season-best 9.9 from sophomore Maddie Desch. Alabama is back at home next Friday for its 14th annual Power of Pink meet in Coleman Coliseum, taking on Arkansas. The meet starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets for UA home meets are available through the Alabama Ticket Office (205.348.2262) located in the lobby of Coleman Coliseum and online at RollTide.com.