By: Adam Hambright
DULUTH, Ga.- No. 10 Alabama finished in second place at the SEC Championship only behind No. 3 Florida who posted a final score of 198.425.
Alabama competed in the evening session as the four seed against three other teams all ranked in the top ten. The Tide knew they would have to be perfect to take down the Gators and they almost were matching their second-highest score of the season of 197.925 and finishing ahead of No. 6 LSU and No. 8 Kentucky
“Every single athlete committed to owning their process and doing the little things to collectively help big performances come together,” said Alabama Head Coach Ashley Johnston.
Every Alabama gymnast was locked in from the start with their lowest score of the entire meet being 9.775. That score would be dropped, and no other score would be below 9.800.
The gymnast who received that score of 9.775 was Gabby Gladieux in the first rotation on beam. Gladieux would then post a score of 9.900 on floor and finish her night with a score of 9.950 on vault which is the highest score the vault performed could receive and gave Gladieux the SEC title on vault in a four-way tie.
“Getting one percent better every day, that’s my goal,” said Gladieux. “I wouldn’t consider that even my best vault, it’s only up from here.”
Gladieux was not the only Alabama gymnast who was recognized at the awards ceremony.
Lilly Hudson tied for second place on floor with a score of 9.950 and Luisa Blanco tied for second place on beam also with a score of 9.950. Blanco also came in second place in the all-around competition with an overall score of 39.675.
Florida gymnast Trinity Thomas won the all-around title with a score of 39.800 and was the only gymnast to receive a perfect score. Thomas received two scores of 10.000 to bring her total for her collegiate career to 27, one perfect score shy of the NCAA record.
Alabama received 13 scores of 9.900 or higher including four consecutive to close out the meet on bars. Those four gymnasts were Jordyn Paradise, Mati Waligora, Cam Machado and Blanco.
The 9.900 by Paradise is a career-high.
“It was all about having your heart out tonight, to let it rip, and I think that really set the stage for how they were able to step into every moment with a fierceness to just really go after it,” said Johnston.
Alabama is the only team in conference history to have never finished outside of the top four at the SEC Championships.
The next time the Crimson Tide will compete is at the NCAA Regional Championships held on March 30- April 2.
Coach Johnston and the team will find out which regional they are placed in during the NCAA Selection Show on March 20 at 11 a.m.