By: Adam Hambright
TUSCALOOSA, Ala.- The Alabama Crimson Tide lost for the first time this season to the second-ranked Florida Gators by a score of 197.325-196.450.
“Florida is an amazing team, one of the top teams in the country and I think we showed that we can hang with them,” said Alabama Head Coach Ashley Johnston.
Florida set the tone in the first rotation with four gymnasts posting scores of 9.9 or higher on Bars. Jordyn Paradise scored a 9.9 of her own on Vault and was the highest-scoring gymnast for Alabama. Luisa Blanco did not compete on Vault and therefore did not compete in the All-Around for the first time this season. She was replaced by Lauren Little who made her collegiate debut and scored a 9.775. The Gators held a lead of .325 heading into the second rotation.
In the second rotation, both Paradise and Little fell off the Bars and the Tide was forced to count a score of 9.3. After the falls, Alabama posted three straight scores of 9.85 or higher. The Gators were not as crisp as they were in the first rotation but were still able to take advantage of the miscues and extend their lead to .900.
“Mistakes are inevitable and it’s not about the mistake you made it’s about how you respond,” said freshman gymnast Gabby Gladieux.
In the third rotation Florida was able to extend their lead once again behind strong performances on floor from Trinity Thomas and Leanne Wong who each posted a score of 9.875 and from Kayla Dicello who scored a 9.925. The Tide did much better on Beam with their lowest score being a 9.75. However, they still trailed by .95 heading into the final rotation.
The fourth rotation was the only rotation that Alabama was able to win on the night. They finished on floor with four straight scores 9.9 or higher capped off with Blanco’s score of 9.95.
Thomas won the All-Around for Florida with a score of 39.650 but failed to score a 10 on any event for the first time this season.
Alabama will look to bounce back next week as they go on the road and take on #9 Kentucky next Friday at 6:30 p.m. The meet will be broadcast live on the SEC Network.