Alabama Finishes Second in 2022 SEC Championship
The Alabama Crimson Tide gymnastics team placed second in the 2022 SEC Championship, scoring a 197.825 on Saturday night at Legacy Arena in Birmingham, Ala. The Tide competed in Session II with Auburn, LSU, and Florida. Florida won the 2022 SEC Championship.
Alabama started strong on the floor, with five of six gymnasts scoring an 9.85 or better; the exception was Cam Macahdo, who scored a 9.075 which was dropped, due to a fall on her final flip. Alabama finished with the second-best score after one rotation.
Auburn struggled on the bars, with Aria Brusch scoring a dropped 9.175, and Sunsia Lee’s rare 9.450 that had to be kept, which put them in third place in the first rotation. LSU saw issues on the bars, having two gymnasts score a 9.250 or worse, and dug themselves into the fourth place hole after rotation one.
Florida was near perfect on the vault, having five of six gymnasts score a 9.875 or better; the dropped score was a 9.725, which placed them at the top after the first rotation.
Alabama’s vault, an inconsistency all season, scored three 9.85s, from Shallon Olsen, Jordyn Paradise and Luisa Blanco, plus two 9.9s from Lexi Graber and Lilly Hudson; however, it wasn’t enough to come back against Florida. The Gators scored three 9.9s or better on the floor, and kept the marginal lead by .175 of a point after two rotations.
"This is a very special group of young women. And we talked about how we had to earn everything tonight. Nothing was going to be handed to us. And so looking back at this performance, there was so much fight and I know you keep hearing that word from everybody but we have really focused on the next seconds more important and so come out strong," said Alabama gymnastics head coach Dana Duckworth.
Both The Tigers bounced back strong on their second rotation events. Auburn received a 49.475 on the floor, after stellar scores of 9.95 by Sunisa Lee and Derrian Gobourne. LSU scored a near-flawless 49.550, with four 9.9s or better on the beam. Unfortunately for the Tigers, neither were enough to get them out of the first rotation hole.
The Tide shined on the bars, having five of six gymnasts score a 9.9 or better; Blanco, Makarri Doggette and Shania Adams scoring 9.95s, plus Hudson with a 9.9, and Machado with an enormous comeback from the floor, scoring a 9.925. Emily Gaskins had the dropped score of 9.425 after slipping at the beginning of her routine.
Florida scored a night high of 49.700 on the beam, in the third rotation, upping its lead by .200 of a point. Auburn’s vault remained average, with only one gymnast, Drew Watson, scoring a 9.9 (or better). LSU scored four 9.8s and two 9.9s; however, remained in fourth place after three events.
Alabama scored a 49.375 on its final rotation, the beam. Ella Burgess and Graber picked up 9.9s, while Olsen and Hudson picked up a 9.875 and Waligora picked up a 9.825. Luisa Blanco suffered an injury while landing off the beam. She was looked at for a few minutes on the floor, then carried off, unable to walk or stand on her own.
"We're going to just hope and pray that Luisa is okay. I don't have an update as far as where we are with that," said Duckworth.
Auburn finished with a 197.225, after a perfect 10 on the bars for Sunisa Lee. LSU finished with a 196.725.
The eight SEC teams finished as follows: Florida, Alabama, Auburn, Missouri, LSU, Arkansas, Kentucky, and Georgia.