By (Elliott Propes)

BIRMINGHAM–Legacy Arena lowered its lights as fans from all over the state roared for two of the most successful NCAA gymnastic teams in the country. No. 6 Alabama and No. 7 Auburn met for “Elevate the Stage” in Birmingham in a rematch April’s Super Six matchup. Alabama looked to continue its win streak against the Tigers, which stood at 116, and again Alabama came through, beating Auburn 196.875 to 196.075.

“This is the kind of performance that is going to be the kind of thing you have to do to advance to the national championship,” coach Dana Duckworth said. “It’s the kind of performance where everyone is nervous and everyone wants the same thing, but you can only focus on one thing at a time, and that’s what we talked about before we went out there.”

Alabama took the lead after rotation one and never relented. The Crimson Tide had a score of 49.2 on each of the first three rotations of bars, vault and floor. That gave the Crimson Tide a .425 lead heading into the beam. Alabama had its best performance of the afternoon on the beam with a 49.275, which sealed the deal against Auburn.

“I didn’t feel completely 100 percent where we were until Kiana [Winston] finished that beamer team, but at that point I was like the deal is sealed. Because you just never know, you never know until it’s over,” Duckworth said.

The final rotation was highlighted by senior Lauren Beers’ 9.9. Her score was the highest individual score on an event. The 49.275 beam score was also a season high for the Crimson Tide.

“I think it was big step for Lauren to come in here, last event, after she wasn’t perfect on the floor and to be able to do beam like that,” Duckworth said. “That’s a sign of a true champion.”

Sophomore Winston also had a spectacular day tying Auburn’s Caitlin Atkinson’s for the top all-around score of 39.375. Winston scored a 9.875 on the bars and beam.

“I tried to do what I just normally do and not think about what was going on around me,” Winston said. “I just stayed in my little bubble there and fed off of my teammates and the crowd.”

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Source:: The Crimson White Sports