By (Terrin Waack)

The University of Alabama gymnastics team finished third in the 2016 NCAA Championships on Saturday night. The Crimson Tide posted a final score of 197.4375 for the Super Six finals in Fort Worth, Texas.

In the past eight years, Alabama has placed in the top four at the NCAA Championships, making it the only school nationally to do so. Saturday also marked Alabama’s 34th consecutive NCAA Championships appearance. The Crimson Tide has competed in the Super Six 22 times, an NCAA best.

“What an amazing experience,” coach Dana Duckworth said. “That’s what a championship is supposed to look like.”

In the end, Oklahoma placed first with a 107.675 and LSU took second with a 197.450.

The outcome was up in the air going into the final rotation with the top four teams only being separated by two-tenths of a point. The Sooners pulled ahead after scoring a 49.575 on the floor exercise. They stayed ahead to win it all, and the others team competed for the other slots.

“That was a very tough competition and we knew it was going to be a tough competition coming in,” Duckworth said. “What we’re most proud of is how our ladies trusted themselves.”

Florida, with a 197.350, came up short behind Alabama and placed fourth. UCLA followed with a scored of 196.825 and then Georgia finished up in the last slow – sixth – with a 196.8125.

It was sophomore Nickie Guerrero who pushed Alabama ahead of the pack that was the Florida Gators to claim third place. She scored a 9.95 on the balance beam as the Crimson Tide’s anchor for its final event.

“To close out on beam and to finish as strong as we started, going 49.450 and having our last athlete for 0.95, the highest score of the meet – that kind of fight, that kind of drive on the last event, on beam – I could not be more proud of our ladies and the grit they showed tonight,” Duckworth said.

The Crimson Tide opened up on the floor exercise where it posted a 49.375. Sophomore Kiana Winston and senior Lauren Beers led the way with a pair of 9.9s. Beers then led Alabama on the vault with another 9.9, which helped Alabama finish with a team score of 49.325. Alabama’s vault score tied for the second highest of the meet.

Alabama hit up the uneven bars for its third rotation, scoring a 49.2875. Sophomore Mackenzie Brannan and Winston led with a pair of 9.8875s.

Its beam score of 49.450 was the highest of the night.

“We had fun, we were dancing, we made it exciting, and we were here at the Super Six with a chance to win a national championship and that’s our goal every year,” Duckworth said.

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Source:: The Crimson White Sports