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

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Luisa Blanco scores two perfect 10s to help Alabama gymnastics clinch quad meet victory

CW/ Caroline Simmons

On Friday night, the No. 9 Alabama gymnastics hosted its final meet of the season against No. 17 Minnesota, No. 24 Illinois and Talladega College. Friday marked senior and alumni night for the 2024 season. A 10-year reunion also happened on this alumni night, featuring the 2014 SEC championship team.  

“We actually talked about it in the locker room before we came out and warmed up, that there’s a lot of different things to celebrate tonight between senior night, alumni night, and International Women’s Day,” head coach Ashley Johnston said. “So we talked about the theme being about investing and accelerating. … They took control of it, they didn’t let the moment take control of them.” 

The meet ended with the Crimson Tide clinching the victory with a 198. Minnesota ended with a 197.4, Illinois finished with a 196.075, and Talladega posted a 191.  

“It was just a really, really special night,” graduate student Ella Burgess said. “I think that finishing off our Coleman Coliseum career in that way, with a big score, is something special.” 

When the meet started, Coleman was full of people donning Taylor Swift-inspired looks or attire in honor of the meet being titled “Eras Night,” an apparent reference to the pop star’s ongoing Eras Tour. The Alabama dance team came out onto the floor before team introductions and danced to a Taylor Swift mashup.  

For the first rotation, Alabama was on vault with Minnesota on the uneven bars, Illinois on the balance beam, and Talladega on the floor. Minnesota posted a 49.325, Illinois posted a 49.075, and Talladega posted a 48.05.  

The Crimson Tide posted a 49.5. The highest score came from graduate student Luisa Blanco, who earned the vault title with a perfect 10. This 10 marks the fifth of her career and her first on vault.  

“I don’t think you could’ve envisioned this,” Blanco said. “You always want to envision the perfect moment, like putting it all together, and you simply cannot do that. It’s what you make with the unperfect moments that make it so special. I don’t think I could’ve envisioned this in my wildest dreams, but God is great and I’m so glad that I get to do it, especially with her [Burgess] on my side.” 

For the second rotation, Alabama was on the uneven bars, Minnesota was on the balance beam, Illinois was on the floor, and Talladega was on the vault. 

Alabama posted a 49.25 on the uneven bars to bring its total to 98.75. Junior Lilly Hudson saw her season debut on the bars and posted a 9.875. This uneven bars routine marked her debut in the all-around for this season, as Hudson has been competing in the vault, balance beam, and floor lineups regularly. The highest score for the Crimson Tide came from Blanco, a 9.95. Blanco shared the uneven bars title with Illinois’ Mia Takekawa.  

After the third rotation, Alabama was in the lead with a score of 148.275. Minnesota had 148.125, Illinois had 146.95, and Talladega had 143.7.  

Alabama was on the balance beam for the third rotation and posted a 49.525. For the Crimson Tide, Hudson and sophomore Gabby Gladieux held the highest score, a 9.95 each. This marked Gladieux’s career high on the balance beam. Hudson and Gladieux shared the balance beam title with Minnesota’s Sarah Moraw.  

For the fourth rotation, Alabama posted a 49.725 on the floor, Talladega posted a 47.3 on the balance beam, Illinois posted a 49.125 on the uneven bars, and Minnesota posted a 49.275 on the vault.  

For the Crimson Tide, Gladieux tied her floor career high of a 9.975. Before Gladieux’s routine, Blanco had a phenomenal floor routine to round out and finish her time competing in Coleman Coliseum. Blanco held the highest score for the Crimson Tide, and the meet, on the floor. She posted another perfect 10 to win the floor title for the night. This 10 marked her second of the night, the sixth of her career and her first on the floor.  

The all-around title went to Blanco, who posted a career high of 39.85. This score marks the highest all-around score by an Alabama gymnast in 20 years. Gladieux came in second with a 39.625, and Hudson came in third with a 39.575.  

Blanco had a phenomenal night, with two new career highs of perfect 10s and an all-around career high.  

“I can’t help but just say that it was God because, I mean, International Women’s Day, it’s senior night, we have our alumni here, my whole family’s here,” Blanco said. “You just have so much love surrounding this night, and you can put pressure on yourself but if you just let yourself go, and be, and do gymnastics because it is the last time in here I think that’s kind of my mentality I had today. I just want to thank all the women before me. It’s been an incredible journey, and I’m glad I could give it my best on my final night.” 

The gymnastics team will travel to Norman, Oklahoma, to face No. 1 Oklahoma on March 17. The meet is set to start at 3 p.m. CT.  

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