No one could fault Alabama’s effort in the Southeastern Conference Gymnastics Championships in North Little Rock, Ark., Saturday. The Crimson Tide posted its best score of the year, 197.750. Florida got just enough from its final competitors to edge Bama by .025 point for the title.
It was the ninth consecutive year that Alabama has finished either first or second in the conference.
Florida posted a 197.775. LSU was third (197.500) while Auburn was fourth (196.975). Georgia took fifth (196.850), Arkansas sixth (196.500), Kentucky seventh (196.250) and Missouri eighth (195.750).
Alabama gymnasts were individual winners in three events – sophomore Mackenzie Brannan with a 9.95 on vault, and sophomore Kiana Winston and junior Katie Bailey tying for first with 9.95s on uneven bars.
“This team made a commitment to be all in,” Alabama Coach Dana Duckworth said. “They found their own fire within each one of them and used that to build a team flame that was so hot. We are so proud of this performance tonight. The way we started and then kept building momentum throughout the night was tremendous. And then to finish the way we did on the uneven bars was amazing.”
Next up for Alabama will be the NCAA Regional Championship, to be hosted by the Crimson Tide in Coleman Coliseum. NCAA brackets for the six regionals will be announced Monday.
“This should give us a lot of confidence going into regionals,” Duckworth said. “We know exactly where we can improve.”
Alabama opened on the balance beam with a 49.275, led by junior Keely McNeer’s 9.9 from the leadoff spot. The Tide then tied its season best of 49.500 on the floor exercise, led by sophomore Winston’s runner-up 9.95.
On the vault, led by Brannan’s winning 9.95, Alabama posted a season-best 49.425. The Tide closed with a huge 49.550, the best uneven bars score of the night, behind winning 9.95s from Winston and Bailey.
In addition to individual SEC titles from Brannan, Winston, and Bailey, Brannan took third in the all-around with a career-best 39.575.