By: Adam Hambright
NORMAN, Okla.- No. 8 Alabama finished in fourth place at the NCAA Regional Finals with an overall team score of 197.650 bringing Ashley Johnston’s first year as head coach to an end.
No. 1 Oklahoma and No. 9 Kentucky advanced to the NCAA Championships with scores of 198.050 and 197.850 respectively. No. 15 Ohio State was also eliminated with a program record score of 197.750.
“It was overall a really great competition with four super competitive teams, and tonight did not go the way we wanted it to go,” Johnston said.
Alabama started in a different order than in the semifinal this time competing on vault first then bars, beam, and finally floor.
In the first rotation, the Tide did not have any score under 9.800 and received one score of 9.900 for Shallon Olsen. The total team score after the rotation was 49.275 but would be in fourth place and while the team would improve their score on every rotation, they would never improve the team standing.
In the second rotation on bars Alabama received a total team score of 49.400. There was one fall from Mati Waligora but the score of 9.275 would be dropped. Every other score would be above 9.800 including three scores of 9.900 or higher. Shania Adams and Cam Machado each scored 9.900 and Makarri Doggette posted the highest score on bars with a 9.925.
Ella Burgess started the third rotation on beam with a score of 9.825 and Waligora would make up for her fall on bars by scoring a 9.800 that would also be dropped. Gabby Gladieux then received a 9.900 followed by a 9.850 from Adams. Lilly Hudson and Luisa Blanco closed out the rotation with back-to-back scores of 9.925 to bring the team total on beam to 49.425.
The Tide had their best performance of the meet in the final rotation but it was too late. The lowest counted score came from Waligora with a score of 9.850. Adams and Hudson each posted scores of 9.900. Gladieux and Blanco had the two highest scores of the night for Alabama when they both received scores of 9.950.
Sania Mitchell and Olsen have competed for the last time in their collegiate careers.
Burgess, Waligora, Doggette and Blanco each have one year of eligibility remaining if they choose to use their COVID waiver.
Blanco qualified individually on bars with the score of 9.975 she received on Thursday.
The Tide will look to improve on this season and hopefully compete in the NCAA Championships in year two under Johnson.
“It’s important to be able to turn the page and trust that the best is still yet to come,” Johnston said.
Alabama’s last national championship came in 2012.