Gymnastics’ season ends in the national semifinals

Robert Cortez | @robertcortez27, Assistant Sports Editor

No. 5 Alabama gymnastics’ season came to a close Thursday afternoon at the national semifinals in Fort Worth, Texas. This marks the second straight year Alabama’s season has ended in the national semifinals. Alabama head coach Dana Duckworth reflected on the season following the loss. 

“We have enjoyed an extraordinary season, putting up some of the best performances and scores in school history,” Duckworth said. “And while this isn’t the way we wanted to close out 2022, I am super proud of what these women came together to accomplish and who they have become during the journey.”

The Crimson Tide posted a 197.100 in the meet, causing them to finish in last place in their session. Alabama’s 197.100 marked its lowest score since the second week of competition and its third-lowest overall score in the 2022 season. No. 1 Oklahoma and No. 4 Utah were the two programs to advance out of the Crimson Tide’s session and into the national finals. 

Team 48 looked to be in a good position to have a quick start as it would open up the meet on its highest ranking event, the uneven bars, in which it ranks third nationally. Alabama couldn’t find the consistency on the uneven bars that it has displayed all season as it tallied its second-lowest score on the event this season, 49.200. No Alabama gymnast was able to record a 9.90 or better on the apparatus. The Crimson Tide had the lowest uneven bars event score in their session and the third-lowest score out of both sessions. 

Alabama not only had the lowest uneven bars event score in its session, but also did so on the vault. Alabama’s 49.1250 was its lowest score on the vault since its loss to No. 7 Auburn in the fourth meet of the season. The Crimson Tide have to count two scores within the 9.70 range. 

The only event where Alabama was able to score higher than its season average was the floor exercise. The Crimson Tide had an event score of 49.4500 on the floor. Despite this being Alabama’s best event on the day, Oklahoma, Utah and No. 8 Minnesota all had better outings on the event. 

In the season-ending loss, graduate student Lexi Graber was a bright spot. Graber capped off her collegiate career with a 9.9250, which was the highest score for an Alabama gymnast on the day. Graber finishes her career with a plethora of accolades. The Cape Coral, Florida, native was the 2021 NCAA floor exercise champion, 2021 SEC champion and four-time Scholastic All-American. 

Duckworth was grateful to lead this strong-knit and resilient team.

“This team loves one another. They are so close, and they have gelled in such a unique and wonderful way,” Duckworth said. “They have gone through so much, overcoming adversity, including thriving during a global pandemic and have gone through the adventures of this season, the ups and downs, and that’s bonded them together. As a team, these women have built resilience, faith and confidence in who they are together and apart, and that’s been so, so wonderful to watch.”