Gymnastics falls to No. 3 Oklahoma in season opener 

Robert Cortez | @robertcortez27, Assistant Sports Editor

Since becoming the head coach of Alabama gymnastics in 2015, Dana Duckworth’s teams have yet to capture a win against Oklahoma’s program. That stat remains unchanged after No. 6 Alabama fell to No. 3 Oklahoma 195.875-197.400 in the 2022 season opener. 

Duckworth now possesses an 0-6 record against Oklahoma. 

Alabama’s score on Sunday afternoon is the third-lowest score in an opening meet since Duckworth became the skipper. The lowest score was 194.750 in 2019.  

Heading into the meet Alabama seemed to be in a good position to capture its first win against the Sooners under Duckworth. The Crimson Tide returned 22 of its 24 routines from last season while Oklahoma had to replace one third of its routines. 

However, the most dominant program in the past decade won. 

As the away team, the Crimson Tide opened up the meet on the uneven bars scoring a 49.250 in the highest-scoring event Sunday afternoon. Alabama did not have to count a score lower than 9.825. The event was highlighted by sophomore Cam Machado’s 9.875. 

After the first rotation, Oklahoma found itself with a slight .050 lead despite opening the meet with the vault, which is the Sooners’ weakest event. The Sooners recorded back-to-back 10’s, and Alabama’s deficit grew as the meet continued. 

Alabama scored less than 49.000 on both the vault, 48.950, and the floor exercise, 48.575. No landings were stuck on the vault. 

Freshman Jordyn Paradise was the lone freshman to make her college debut in the season opener. Paradise made her appearance on the vault and scored a 9.775. 

 At the end of Alabama’s floor rotation, graduate student Lexi Graber was limping after anchoring the event. Duckworth scrapped Graber from the balance beam lineup and replaced her with senior Emily Gaskins. 

In the loss, there were a couple of bright spots for Alabama. 

Junior Mati Waligora scored a career-best 9.925 on the balance beam, which allowed Alabama to break the 49.000 mark and tally a 49.100 on the event. Waligora’s balance beam routine was the only score of 9.9 or better from an Alabama gymnast. 

Fellow junior Ella Burgess performed her first routine since 2020 after missing last season due to an Achilles tendon injury. The Florida native put together a routine on the balance beam that scored a 9.850. After sticking her dismount, teammates surrounded and embraced Burgess. 

Alabama is back in action on Sunday, Jan. 16, and will take on No. 2 Florida in Gainesville. The meet is scheduled for 2 p.m. CT and will be televised on ABC.