Gymnastics team defeats UCLA in top-10 matchup

Caroline Gazzara

The Alabama gymnastics team defeated the UCLA Bruins 197.075 to 196.375 in Coleman Coliseum Friday.

The Crimson Tide, No. 4 nationally, started off strong in the first event, leading the Bruins 49.5 to 49.275. Alabama started on the vault and UCLA on the uneven bars. Sophomore Kaitlyn Clark and junior Diandra Milliner both scored 9.9.

“Tonight was a great meet for us,” senior Ashley Priess said. “We did a really great job tonight with improvements on stuck landing and cleaning up form and handstands. We just need to continue to progress and work on those different areas and it’s going to pay off in the end.”

The second event proved to be challenging for the Tide, who trailed at the end of the second. Most of the gymnasts received average scores, but junior Sarah DeMeo fell twice during her set. The Tide dropped her score, an 8.65.

“[Sarah] is a competitor; she’s experienced so she knows exactly how to come back,” junior Kim Jacob said. “She definitely stepped it up.”

Alabama took charge of the last two events, leaving UCLA in the dust. Priess scored her career high of 9.925 on the beam.

The third rotation helped Alabama gain the momentum it needed. UCLA’s routines didn’t produce high enough scores due to their dance-like choreography. Alabama’s beam scores ensured that though the team had faltered during the uneven bars, it was not out of the meet completely.

The Tide relied heavily on freshmen Carly Sims and Lauren Beers during the meet. The two are normally back-ups for Alabama, but both produced averages that helped the Tide win.

At the end of the third rotation Alabama led 147.625 to 147.225.

Alabama’s last performe, Milliner, ended the rotation with a fired-up performance that scored her a 9.95.

Alabama ended the event leading UCLA 197.075 to 196.375.

Jacob made the highest all-around score with a 39.425, making this her fourth time taking home the all-around honor.

The Tide will travel to LSU on March 8 to face the No. 5 Tigers.

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