ANN ARBOR, Mich. - The No. 10-ranked Alabama gymnastics team used a 197.225 to win session one and advance to the regional finals of the NCAA Championships in Ann Arbor Friday afternoon.
"It was a complete team effort," UA head coach Dana Duckworth said. "It was exciting to see them rally together and carry it through to the end."
The Crimson Tide and second-place Michigan advanced to the regional final, which will get underway Saturday at 6 p.m. CT in the Crisler Center. The No. 7-ranked Wolverines scored a 196.950 to earn the second berth out of session one, while Penn State (195.750) and Ohio State (194.725) ended their seasons on Friday in third and fourth place.
UCLA and Nebraska clinched the final two spots in the regional final during Friday's second session.
"Passion creates greatness and I thought they showed a lot of passion today," Duckworth said. "Now, I want them to trust in their preparation, to focus minute-by-minute, second-by-second tomorrow and enjoy the journey, putting it all out there with no regrets."
Alabama finished off its session with a season-best 49.350 on the uneven bars, led by a 9.900 from junior Shea Mahoney and 9.875s from senior Ariana Guerra and freshman Emily Gaskins.
"I felt like we went to bars and they had something to prove, that they were on a mission and had to stay focused," Duckworth said. "They responded with probably our best uneven bars performance of the season."
The Tide got things started on the balance beam where Gaskins used a career-best 9.900 to pace the Tide to a 49.225 team score.
Alabama then exploded on the floor exercise, scoring a 49.425 behind a 9.925 from Guerra and 9.9s from senior Abby Armbrecht, junior Maddie Desch and sophomore Lexi Graber.
"We had a beautiful performance on the floor exercise," Duckworth said. "I was very proud of the way we built one routine after another."
On the vault, the Tide posted a 49.225 behind career-best marks from freshman Shallon Olsen (9.900) and Armbrecht (9.875) and a 9.925 in the anchor spot from Guerra which followed a break.
"Abby's vault was tremendous, Shallon's was the best she's done so far and then Ari saved the day with another tremendous vault," Duckworth said.