By: Adam Hambright
ATHENS, Ga.– Alabama defeated Georgia on the road 197.525-197.325, thanks to the performance from Luisa Blanco.
Blanco tied her season-high to win the all-around with a score of 39.750 and won the event titles on bars, beam and floor. Her most important performance of the night came in the final rotation.
The Crimson Tide had a lead of .375 when they arrived at the most pressure-filled event in gymnastics, the balance beam.
Ella Burgess started the rotation with a career-high score of 9.950. Rachel Rybicki was able to maintain her balance despite a few times when it looked like she would fall to post a 9.750. Mati Waligora followed with a 9.875 before Gabby Gladieux stumbled and received a 9.775 which meant that Alabama would have to count at least one score below 9.800 opening the door for the Bulldogs to make a comeback. The struggles continued when Lilly Hudson missed her landing but miraculously stayed on the four-inch-wide beam with one leg. Hudson received a 9.775.
Georgia had been closing the gap with three straight scores of 9.900 or higher before Haley DeJong took a step on floor that could have been out of bounds. DeJong received a 9.700; now all the Tide needed to win was a 9.825.
Blanco delivered under pressure and posted a 9.950 to secure the victory. The score was Blanco’s third 9.950 of the night and fourth score over 9.900.
Alabama never trailed during the meet and won every event title.
Shallon Olsen tied her career-high on vault with a score of 9.950 and earned her first event title of the year. While Burgess tied with Blanco for the beam title.
The Tide scored above 197 for the fourth consecutive meet and the Bulldogs score of 197.325 is their highest of the season.
No. 9 Alabama will return home next Friday to compete against No. 8 LSU at 7 p.m. on SEC Network+.