Injury Overshadows Alabama Gymnastics' Win on Alumni Night
What was supposed to be a night celebrating the alumni and history of the University of Alabama gymnastics program turned into an evening of concern as sophomore Griffin James took a hard fall on Friday.
James landed hard on her first pass on floor exercise and stayed down with an Achilles injury. After being attended to by team medical personnel she was carried off the mat in front of a stunned, and silent Coleman Coliseum.
Freshman Makarri Doggette was also pulled from the meet with a knee issue and will undergo an MRI on Saturday.
Despite that, Alabama still pulled out the win over No. 14 Arkansas, 196.625-196.100.
With the meet in balance, sophomore Shallon Olsen responded by hitting her floor routine and scoring a career-high 9.900.
Shea Mahoney, Maddie Desch and Lexi Graber all followed with matching 9.925s. Alonza Klopfer closed with a 9.85.
The 49.525 team score on floor was Alabama's best for any event this season.
"You guys did something miraculous tonight," SEC Network caught Crimson Tide coach Dana Duckworth telling the emotional team.
The meet was tight after No. 6 Alabama struggled on balance beam.
Graber led Alabama during the first rotation, scoring 9.900 as Alabama finished on vault with 49.350 to take an early lead.
Freshman Makarri Doggette match that 9.900 on the uneven parallel bars while the Crimson Tide scored 49.225. With Arkansas having some trouble on vault, Alabama was well ahead 98.575-97.875 at the midway point.
However, Alabama had two falls on beam, meaning it had to count one against its event score. The first occurred with Ella Burgess leading off, the other with Graber in the anchor.
Graber's fall at Auburn during the season opener at Auburn was the first of her career.
The mishaps resulted in Alabama's lead shrinking down to 147.100-147.050 heading into final rotation.
“I want to applaud the floor team for The University of Alabama because that was the epitome of ‘for her,’" Duckworth said in a statement. "We have had similar situations of coming up after an injuries in the past and you can imagine how traumatic that moment can be.
"I thought the team did an amazing job of being able to refocus, reset, and then do every floor routine for their sister. That is an incredible thing for this team and is something that we will carry into the rest of the season with us.”