Stuart McNair

Alabama only gymnastics team to finish in top six for last 10 years

Alabama gymnasts have been no lower than ninth in nation in each of last 35 years

To win the national championship in gymnastics, first you have to get to the championship meet. That means finishing in the top two in an NCAA Regional and then advancing from the semifinals to the Super Six. No one does that better than Alabama, the Crimson Tide being the only team in the nation to finish in the top six nationally in each of the last 10 years.

Overall, Alabama has posted 33 top-six finishes.

Of course, once the Crimson Tide reaches the Super Six, the goal changes. It is to win the national title.

Alabama didn’t win the national championship this year, as the Crimson Tide of Coach Dana Duckworth closed out its 2017 campaign by finishing sixth with a score of 196.000 at the NCAA Championships Saturday night in Chaifetz Arena in St. Louis.

Oklahoma won its second-consecutive national title and fourth overall with a score of 198.375. LSU and Florida finished second and third, respectively, giving the Southeastern Conference half of the final six. UCLA finish fourth and Utah was fifth.

Alabama scored a solid 49.325 on the floor exercise, led by junior Kiana Winston’s 9.925 in the anchor position. The Crimson Tide then closed with a 49.1625 on the vault led by 9.85s from sophomore Abby Armbrecht, senior Katie Bailey, and junior Nickie Guerrero.

The Crimson Tide struggled through its first two rotation of the night, scoring a 48.8875 on the uneven bars to open the meet, led by senior Keely McNeer’s 9.9. That was followed by a 48.625 on the balance beam, paced by Guerrero’s 9.9.

Alabama earned its spot in the NCAA Super Six Team Finals with a 197.600 in the semifinal round on Friday night. It was the Tide’s third-highest score of the season. In 35-consecutive years at the NCAA Championships, Alabama has finished no lower than ninth.

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