Tide Gymnasts Finish Fourth In Nation

FORT WORTH, Texas – The Alabama gymnastics team capped off a season that included Southeastern Conference and NCAA Regional team titles with a fourth place finish at the NCAA Championships in the Fort Worth Convention Center Saturday night. The Crimson Tide is now the only program in the nation to finish in the top-four nationally the last seven years in a row.

“I couldn’t be more proud of the fight these women had,” Alabama Coach Dana Duckworth said. “Even through adversity and not being perfect and at our very best on certain events, the way we came back on floor tonight was incredible and Aja Sims came back strong after we had a fall on the beam was amazing.”

The Florida Gators kept SEC gymnastics dominance alive with their third national title after scoring a 197.850. The SEC has now won the NCAA title the last five years in a row and 10 of the last 11, including back-to-back titles by Alabama in 2011 and 2012. Utah (197.800) was second, Oklahoma (197.525) was third. Stanford (197.250) and Auburn (195.625) rounded out the Super Six.

Alabama got off to a strong start on the vault with a 49.425 led by junior Lauren Beers’ 9.95 in the anchor spot while senior Kayla Williams continued a strong final weekend to her career, scoring a 9.90. The Tide followed that up with a 49.275 on the uneven bars led by sophomore Katie Bailey who scored a 9.9 for the second day in a row.

After struggling on the balance beam during Friday’s semifinals, Alabama rebounded on Saturday, scoring a 49.200, led by sophomore Aja Sims’ 9.95. Sims, who scored a 9.55 on Friday, came up after a fall during the Super Six and nailed her routine, tying her career-best mark.

Alabama closed things out with a 49.375 on the floor exercise, led by junior Carley Sims’ 9.9 and 9.875s from freshman Mackenzie Brannan, senior Kaitlyn Clark and senior Lora Leigh Frost.

“The building blocks that were created for greatness next year from those that competed and those that watched from the sidelines – it’s so exciting,” Duckworth said. “As a head coach, I learned so much this year that is going to help carry us forward next year and beyond.”

Williams and Bailey will compete in Sunday’s NCAA individual event finals. Williams will go on the balance beam and vault while Bailey will compete on the uneven bars.

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