No. 8 Alabama advances to Norman Regional Final
NORMAN, Okla. - The No. 8 Alabama gymnastics team finished in second place at the Norman Regional semifinals to advance to Saturday's regional final.
The Crimson Tide scored a 197.375 to defeat Iowa (196.500) and Illinois (195.675), while being edged out by No. 9 Kentucky (197.475). As the top two finishers in the first of two semifinals, the Tide and the Wildcats both advanced to Saturday's final.
Alabama started out the competition with a 49.175 on the balance beam, with Ella Burgess and Shania Adams leading UA's lineup with matching scores of 9.900. The Tide posted a 49.400 on the floor exercise to pull within .075 of the Wildcats at the halfway point, with Lilly Hudson and Luisa Blanco closing out the rotation with back-to-back 9.900s.
UA scored a 49.275 on the vault in rotation three before closing out the day with a meet-best 49.525 on the uneven bars, as Makarri Doggette (9.950) and Blanco (9.975) topped UA's lineup.
Blanco posted the highest score of the semifinal with her 9.975 on the uneven bars, with Hudson and Gabby Gladieux also posting the highest scores of the meet on the vault, with matching scores of 9.900.
Alabama and Kentucky will compete against the top-two teams from the evening semifinal session in Saturday's regional final. The evening session features No. 1 Oklahoma, No. 16 Ohio State, Arkansas and NC State. The meet will get underway at 5 p.m. CT, with the top-two teams from the final advancing to the NCAA Championships.
Head Coach Ashley Johnston said "I'm really proud of our team. They really had to fight for every single tenth today. We had a few things that didn't quite go as planned and they adapted as a team, stepped into each moment and fought for everything. We need to carry that with us into Saturday and continue to stay together as a team and embrace every opportunity. We had a lot of great moments today, but we know we're capable of a lot more. I think that today's meet really lit a fire into this team. They're fired up and excited to compete on Saturday, and we're going to give it everything that we've got."
Inside the Scoresheet
- Alabama and Kentucky both advanced to Saturday's regional final, with UA scoring a 197.375 and the Wildcats scoring a 197.475
- Ella Burgess led off Alabama's 49.175 beam rotation with a 9.900, with Shania Adams also posting a season-best 9.900 to lead Alabama's lineup in the opening rotation
- The Tide earned four scores of 9.875-or-higher on floor exercise on the way to a 49.400 rotation total, with Mati Waligora and Adams posting matching scores of 9.875 and Lilly Hudson and Luisa Blanco anchoring the lineup with back-to-back 9.900s
- Gabby Gladieux and Hudson led Alabama to a 49.275 on the vault with a pair of 9.900s, with Jordyn Paradise also adding a 9.875
- Alabama closed out its afternoon on the uneven bars with a 49.525 rotation total, marking UA's second-best rotation score of the season on the event
- The Tide totaled nine scores of 9.9-or-higher, with Burgess (9.900) and Adams (9.900) on the balance beam, Hudson (9.900) and Blanco on the floor exercise (9.900), Gladieux (9.900) and Hudson (9.900) on the vault, and Cam Machado (9.900), Doggette (9.950) and Blanco (9.975) on the uneven bars
The Norman Regional finals will take place on Saturday at 5 p.m. CT in the Lloyd Noble Center on the campus of the University of Oklahoma