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The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Alabama gymnastics notches a statement win against reigning SEC champions

Courtesy of UA Athletics
Alabama gymnast Lily Hudson celebrates her routine with teammates against Kentucky on Jan. 26 in Gainesville, FL.

After a neck-and-neck meet Friday night, the No. 6 ranked Crimson Tide gymnastics defeated the current SEC champions, Florida, 197.575-197.425 in Gainesville, Florida.  

“I’m so proud of the team tonight, this was a really important meet for us because it’s easy to get to a meet like this and try to be perfect,” head coach Ashley Johnston said. “I’m really proud of the way the team just focused on making progress over perfection. We’ve worked really hard on our culture, trusting each other and not letting one little mistake affect the approach of the next person up.”  

For the first rotation, the Crimson Tide was on the uneven bars. Graduate students Makarri Doggette and Luisa Blanco posted a 9.925 each and tied for first with Florida’s Ellie Lazzari. The Alabama gymnasts posted a 49.375 on the bars, and the Florida gymnasts posted a 49.275 on their first rotation on the vault.  

On the bars, Alabama graduate student Mati Waligora fell during her routine and posted a 9.35. Johnston talked about how this moment of struggle led to a “breakthrough moment” for sophomore Natalia Pawlak, who posted a 9.825 after Waligora’s routine. 

“We talk all the time about preparing for a breakthrough, and I believe breakthrough moments a lot of times come after some moments of struggle,” Johnston said. “I think tonight was a really big moment for her to have to follow a mistake and still really trust her preparation, trust her cues, and to settle in and be brave and to go for a stuck dismount.” 

For the second rotation, the Crimson Tide posted a 49.4 on the vault, and Florida posted a 49.35 on the uneven bars. This brought the meet to 98.775-98.625 with the Crimson Tide in the lead.  

Alabama junior Lilly Hudson won the vault title with a perfect 10. This was her first 10 of the season, her first one on the vault, and her second career 10. She got a perfect score against LSU on the balance beam in 2023.  

“We talk a lot about finding our edge, and sometimes you’re going to go a little over and sometimes you’re going to go a little under,” Johnston said. “I think Lilly is someone that has experienced that, but because she continues to be brave and step up and just really go for it, she found that edge tonight. She had that breakthrough moment.”  

The Crimson Tide posted a 49.375 on the floor exercise to bring its overall score to a 148.15. The Florida gymnasts posted a 49.525 on their balance beam rotation to bring their total score to 148.15 as well. The floor title was tied between Hudson and Florida’s Sloane Blakely, both posting a 9.925.  

On the last rotation, the Crimson Tide posted a 49.425 on the balance beam, and the Florida Gators posted a 49.275 on the floor. This brought the meet to be 197.575-197.425. Blanco won the balance beam title after posting a 9.95.  

In the all-around category, Blanco won first with a score of 39.7.  

The gymnasts will be back in Coleman Coliseum on Friday at 7:30 p.m. CT against the Kentucky Wildcats.

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