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Alabama Gymnastics Posts 196.925 Road Score in Gainesville

It took two perfect 10s to close out the meet from No. 2 Florida for a 197-196.925 victory over No. 6 Alabama.

It was about as big of a stage as it gets in collegiate gymnastics for a regular season meet. On the road at three-time national champion Florida, in front of a sold out crowd with the meet being broadcast on ABC, Alabama nearly delivered its first dual meet win in Gainesville since 2002. 

Instead, the Gators finished with back-to-back perfect 10s on floor from Nya Reed and Trinity Thomas to overtake Alabama with a 197.000-196.925 win. 

Before the meet, Alabama head coach Dana Duckworth said her program was honored to be part of the first regular season gymnastics meet airing on network television, but their main focus was to improve from week one's meet at Oklahoma, and they did exactly that. 

"Today’s competition was an excellent step forward for our team," Duckworth said in a press release. "They showed their passion, persistence and grit in an electric environment that was so loud that it actually made the beam shake as Luisa anchored and once again was exquisite. Our team and coaches stayed true to our process this week and moved forward."

The Alabama coach said there would be changes in the vault and floor lineups with Kaylee Quinn, Shallon Olsen and freshman Lilly Hudson coming in on vault and Olsen and Hudson returning for the floor exercise. Alabama saw drastic improvement on both those events. The Crimson Tide actually scored higher on all four events than the previous meet and improved the team's overall score from 195.875 to 196.925. 

In her Alabama debut, the true freshman Hudson made a big impact. She had the team's second-highest score on beam with a 9.875 and had a 9.85 on floor. 

"We’re proud of new faces like freshman Lilly Hudson who competed like a veteran, the way the team responded to changes in the line-ups and having our vault line-up in full force," Duckworth said. "Pressure situations like this are only created in competition and this allowed us to get acclimated to an intense environment."

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Alabama started out strong with a 49.350 on the uneven bars behind 9.925s from Makarri Doggette and Luisa Blanco. The Crimson Tide and Gators were tied after the first rotation. 

After a couple of uncharacteristic mistakes for Florida on bars, Alabama was able to build a 98.475-98.325 lead. Doggette led the Crimson Tide on vault with a 9.875. 

In rotation three, the Gators had a fall and a couple of big balance checks on beam. Alabama had a solid floor rotation with Blanco scoring her second 9.9 or above, and Lexi Graber closed it out with a 9.925. 

Alabama held a .350 lead heading into the final rotation. A couple of balance checks led to three scores below 9.8 on beam for the Crimson Tide, but Blanco closed out the meet with her best routine, earning a 9.95. The big lead was not enough as the Gators posted a 49.575 on floor in front of a raucous home crowd to take away the win. 

"It is always an honor to do our sport for something bigger than ourselves and thanks to UF for allowing us to collaborate and be a part of it," Duckworth said. "Thanks also to ABC for covering the first regular-season meet, we hope the show was impressive and leaves fans and the audience wanting more. The sport of gymnastics is about beauty and power, warriors and competitors, and I hope the trend of live television continues to grow.”

Next up, the Crimson Tide will compete in Coleman Coliseum for the first time this season when Alabama hosts Kentucky Friday night at 6:30 p.m. 

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