Gymnastics advances to final of Ann Arbor Regional


Courtesy of Alabama Athletics

James Ogletree, Staff Writer

Alabama gymnastics’ season lives on for at least another day after the No. 10 Crimson Tide won the afternoon session of the second round of the Ann Arbor Regional on Friday.

The team recorded a total score of 197.225, its third-best in 13 meets this season, to advance to Saturday night’s regional final alongside No. 7 Michigan (196.950). UCLA and Nebraska advanced to the regional final out of the evening session

“It was a complete team effort,” UA head coach Dana Duckworth said in a press release. “It was exciting to see them rally together and carry it through to the end.”

Alabama began on the balance beam, which has been its lowest-scoring event all season but has seen marked improvement over the last month. It scored a 49.225, well above its season average, to sit second of the four teams after one rotation. Penn State and Ohio State were the others who were eliminated.

Freshman Emily Gaskins led the team with a 9.900 that also tied for the highest score of the session by any gymnast.

Alabama overtook Michigan for the lead after a 49.425 on the floor exercise, its fourth floor score of 49.4 or above in its last five meets. Three gymnasts – senior Abby Armbrecht, junior Maddie Desch and sophomore Lexi Graber – scored a 9.9.

“We had a beautiful performance on the floor exercise,” Duckworth said. “I was very proud of the way we built one routine after another.”

The Crimson Tide was barely clear of Michigan at that point, but the margin that really mattered was that it led third-place Penn State by more than a full point.

Senior Ariana Guerra’s 9.925 in the anchor spot on vault tied for tops in the session en route to a 49.225, and junior Shea Mahoney scored a 9.9 on the uneven bars to also share first place in the session.

The team’s bars score of 49.350 was its highest since last year’s regional in Tuscaloosa.

“I felt like we went to bars and they had something to prove, that they were on a mission and had to stay focused,” Duckworth said. “They responded with probably our best uneven bars performance of the season.”

The regional final will begin at 6 p.m. CT on Saturday. The top two teams of the four in the regional final will advance to the national championship on April 19-20.