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

Alabama gymnastics set to take the stage at the national championships

CW/ Natalie Teat

The No. 6 Alabama gymnastics team is set to compete in the NCAA national championship semifinals Thursday at 8 p.m. CT. The team will hope for a top two placing to advance further to the championship finals on Saturday.   

“I think it’s just a blessing in itself to make it to the Elite Eight, where the competition has just grown every year with gymnastics,” junior Lilly Hudson said. “It’s not easy to make it to the Elite Eight, so we’re just really proud of all the work we’ve put in inside the gym, just numbers and basics and really developing our craft.”  

The Crimson Tide advanced to the Elite Eight after placing second in the NCAA regional finals.  

“That was a pressure cooker of an environment from the first day, to compete with some really tough teams and to know that anything can happen, and even when we had a mistake, it was all about the response,” head coach Ashley Johnston said. “The team did that, they don’t let the little things faze them, they trust each other, they trust their own gymnastics, they know how to get the job done even if it’s not a perfect night. We carried that going into that final round of the regional championship.” 

The semifinals are set to compete in two sessions on Thursday. The first session will be at 3:30 p.m. and will consist of No. 2 LSU, No. 3 California, No. 7 Arkansas and No. 8 Stanford. The second session features No. 1 Oklahoma, No. 4 Florida, No. 5 Utah and No. 6 Alabama.  

Alabama is taking three freshman and five sophomores to the national championships. Freshman Chloe LaCoursiere talked about how the upperclassmen have helped her prepare.  

“I’ve learned so much from our upperclassmen, and honestly everybody, this year, and I think Lilly’s done an exceptional job at helping me prepare, not just for the postseason, but for each day going into practice and focusing on not worrying about the outcome, because they’ll love me no matter what,” LaCoursiere said.  

Alabama has had an unforgettable season, already advancing farther than the 2023 season. After an abrupt ending to the 2023 season in the regional finals, the Crimson Tide gymnasts have been hungry for more.  

Before the season started, graduate student Ella Burgess talked about the team goals for the season. 

“Our end goal is competing for championships, going to the national championship and having the opportunity to compete for a title and ultimately winning that title,” Burgess said. “That’s what we want to do, but we are putting the work in every single day in practice.” 

Continuing from the semifinals to the finals will be a challenge for Alabama since the Crimson Tide is the lowest-ranked in the second session.  

Even though its ranking is low, the Crimson Tide has proved an upset is possible. Earlier this season, Alabama managed to beat Florida in Gainesville. Along with that statement win, Alabama has posted three scores of a 198 or higher, one of them being against Oklahoma 

The Crimson Tide gymnasts have proved they can do it; they just need to two more times.  

“It’s been a marathon, not a sprint, I’ve been saying this week after week, and here we are in the final week with an opportunity to compete on the biggest stage against the toughest teams in the country,” Johnston said. “Since August, and even before that, we’ve been working to build our culture, to build our gymnastics, to build the people, to be ready to take on any challenge, and I’m really excited about where our team’s at.”  

More to Discover