Falls On Beam Result In Fall At Arkansas

FAYETTEVILLE, Arkansas – In a meet that went to the team with the fewest mistakes on the balance beam, the No. 6 Alabama gymnastics team fell at No. 12 Arkansas, 196.325-196.175 in front of 3,164 fans in Barnhill Arena Friday night.

“We’re certainly disappointed,” Alabama Coach Dana Duckworth said. “This isn’t the kind of performance that we expect of ourselves. We will go back in the gym this week and we’ll focus in on correcting mistakes and moving forward.”

On the balance beam, Arkansas had to count a fall in its final tally, but the Crimson Tide had to count two, which allowed the Razorbacks slip past Alabama for the win.

“This was very atypical of Alabama on the balance beam,” Duckworth said. “We haven’t had more than one fall in any of our intrasquads throughout our preparation for the season.”

Sophomore Aja Sims won the balance beam with a 9.9 while junior Lauren Beers took top honors on the uneven bars with a 9.875.

“On the positive side, we took so many steps forward tonight,” Duckworth said. “We were very solid on the uneven bars and then we were explosive on the vault and then built on that throughout our floor exercise rotation. But at the end of the night, we have to be able to finish off a meet on the balance beam.”

A week after suffering a pair of falls on the uneven bars, Alabama opened the meet with a solid 49.100 on the event, led by a 9.875 from junior Lauren Beers in the anchor position. Meanwhile, the Razorbacks threw down a strong 49.375 on the vault.

In the second rotation, Alabama’s vaulting lineup, strong to start the season last week in Tuscaloosa, came back even better against Arkansas, scoring a 49.475. Seniors Kayla Williams and Kaitilyn Clark led the way with a 9.925, while leadoff Keely McNeer got the rotation started with a career-best 9.9. At the same time, Arkansas turned in a 49.125 on the uneven bars. Alabama went into the second half of the meet with a slim 98.575-98.500 lead.

On the floor exercise, Alabama kept its momentum going with a 49.450 team score, led by a career-best 9.925 from freshman Mackenzie Brannan and a career-best 9.9 from junior Carley Sims. A trio of 9.875s from sophomore Aja Sims, Clark and senior Lora Leigh Frost rounded the Tide’s floor scoring. While the Tide was rocking on the floor, Arkansas struggled on the balance beam, scoring a 48.225 following two falls.

The Tide then had its own problems on the balance beam, falling three times and counting two of those scores in its final tally. Aja Sims scored her second 9.9 in as many meets on the balance beam to lead Alabama to a 48.150. The Razorbacks took advantage of the Tide’s struggles, scoring a 49.600 on the floor exercise to secure the win.

Alabama returns home to face defending NCAA Champion Florida on Friday at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are available through the Alabama Ticket Office (205.348.2262) located in the lobby of Coleman Coliseum and online at RollTide.com

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