The goal is not to be ahead at halftime. What matters is the final result. And while it may have disappointing to come in only second in the NCAA Morgantown (W.Va.) Regional Championship, the Alabama gymnastics team was successful in its primary goal, which was to qualify for the NCAA meet.
Alabama used a 196.625 to advance to its 35th consecutive NCAA Championship Meet, although Bama failed to win its 32nd NCAA Regional. Michigan was the winner of the regional on the West Virginia campus with a score of 197.350.
The top two teams from each of six regional meets around the nation advance to the NCAA Championship meet in St. Louis on April 14-15.
“Our sole focus at this meet was advancing to the national championships, which is something we never take for granted even after making it the last 35 years in a row,” Alabama Coach Dana Duckworth said. “It wasn’t easy tonight, but we fought hard and earned a place in St. Louis.”
West Virginia (196.325) was third, followed by Southern Utah (195.675), George Washington (195.625), and Kent State (194.375).
Alabama has the second-longest streak in NCAA gymnastics history when it comes to consecutive national championship berths, one behind Utah.
The Crimson Tide started strong with a 49.350 on the uneven bars led by 9.9s from senior Amanda Jetter and junior Kiana Winston. On the balance beam, Alabama overcame a pair of wobbly routines to post a 49.000 powered by 9.85s from senior Aja Sims, freshman Wynter Childers, and junior Nickie Guerrero.
Alabama posted the highest floor exercise total of the night, a 49.475, paced by a 9.95 from Sims and 9.9s from freshman Maddie Desch and Winston. Sims’ floor score was the highest of the night. Alabama closed with an uncharacteristically shaky vault rotation, scoring a season-low 48.800 behind sophomore Abby Armbrecht’s 9.85.