By email@example.com (Matthew Speakman)
The crowd was buzzing. Junior Kiana Winston had just finished her floor routine, and her opponent was performing on the balance beam. Then, she saw it. The judge turned around the scorecard to show a number Alabama had not seen since Feb. 26, 2016: a perfect 10.
“Kiana does it all of the time in practice,” said senior Amanda Jetter. “She does 10.0 floor routines all the time, so we’re kind of used to it. It’s just exciting that she finally was rewarded, because she deserves every bit that she gets.”
Winston’s perfect 10 paced a big night for No. 6 Alabama in its 197.825-197.425 win over No. 3 Florida in the team’s Power of Pink meet. With the crowd behind her, she wanted to go out and make an impact on a night that is so special to so many.
“I felt amazing. It was just good to go out there and trust my training and have all my sisters behind me, and everyone else in the crowd,” Winston said. “It felt really good to just go out there do my gymnastics for someone else.”
Winston was not the only one to post impressive scores on the floor routine. Just as they did last week against Auburn, freshman Maddie Desch, Winston and senior Aja Sims pushed Alabama to a victory with three-straight routines that scored 9.9 or better.
Alabama’s 49.625 on the floor was a season high for the team, and Desch’s 9.925 was a career high for the freshman. It comes just five days after she posted her previous career high.
“It was the best routine she has done so far,” Duckworth said. “She trained that way this week, so I hope she expected that to happen, because she’s capable of it.”
Consistency had been a problem for Alabama all season. Duckworth wanted Alabama to put together a complete meet with solid scores in each event. With the team now being 26-0 in pink leotards, it seemed right that the Crimson Tide would put together its best performance while wearing its favorite color.
“We didn’t lose sight of the Power of Pink tonight,” Duckworth said. “There were so many fans and so many survivors in the audience that it affects you in a positive way.”
Many of Alabama’s gymnasts have seen direct members of their family affected by breast cancer. Tonight means more to them than just an average meet. When the team walked out for introductions, junior Nickie Guerrero found a familiar face waiting for her, waiting to walk hand-in-hand onto the circle A.
Guerrero was announced with her grandmother, a two year survivor of the disease. Then, she put together one of her best meets of the season. Guerrero posted a season high on the floor, and tied her season high on the balance beam.
“Isn’t she fun to watch?” Duckworth said. “She trusts herself. She has a confidence. I love seeing her get in her zone. Her face gets in this mode and you just know she means business.”
Alabama had a large crowd on hand for its victory. The team seemed to feed off of the energy and the emotion of the evening. Each landing was met with fist pumps and loud roars from the supporters.
Alabama’s overall score tonight is tied with LSU for the second-highest by any team all season. The team put together a season-high performance on the uneven bars, and tied its season high on the vault.
Next up, Alabama travels to Kentucky to take on the Wildcats on Feb. 10.
“I think we all did for the people who had breast cancer,” Jetter said. “Just for them to be here and watch and maybe forget about their weaknesses and their cancer just for a moment to see and enjoy a gymnastics meet outside of it. I think we did it for them.”
Source:: The Crimson White Sports