Alabama soars into Sweet 16 with dominant performance


8 hours ago
Alabama Athletics

SEATTLE – The No. 5 Alabama gymnastics team started its semifinal session of the NCAA Seattle Regional Championships off strong and never looked back, easily winning the session with a 197.900 to advance to Saturday’s regional final.

The Crimson Tide ended Thursday’s session on the balance beam for the second meet in a row and once again came away with a stellar rotation, going 49.450 paced by Shallon Olsen’s 9.950, which tied her career-best mark.

With Alabama and Michigan State (197.325) advancing from the first semifinal, the remainder of Saturday’s regional final will be comprised of the top-two finishes from Thursday night’s second semifinal session that will feature Utah, Oregon State, Illinois and Stanford. Host Washington finished third in the first semifinal with a 197.175, while BYU took fourth after posting a 196.625.

Alabama opened the meet with a 49.500 on the floor exercise led by back-to-back 9.95s from Lilly Hudson and Lexi Graber. The Tide continued to roll on the vault, totaling a 49.400 behind Olsen’s career-best 9.950.

Led by a 9.95 in the leadoff spot from Mati Waligora, Alabama posted a 49.550 on the uneven bars, a rotation that saw the other five members of the lineup score matching 9.900s.

Olsen posted the session’s top score on the vault and beam, Waligora had the top uneven bars mark and Hudson and Graber led the way on the floor exercise. Hudson was second in the all-around with a 39.500.

Alabama Head Coach Dana Duckworth Said

“Incredibly proud of staying in the Bama Bubble, hitting 24-for-24 and knowing there is more in the tank. The goal was to start strong, stay strong and finish strong and we did just that. We built momentum on every event. With some of our challenges coming into this week, I was so impressed with the way our ladies rallied together, stayed mentally tough and had fun in the process. Now we rest, recover and prepare to do it again.”

Inside the Scoresheet

  • The Crimson Tide’s 197.900 is its fifth team tally above 197.800 this season and fourth in a row
  • Alabama opened competition with a 49.500, its sixth score of 49.500-or-better on the floor exercise this season
  • The Tide’s 49.550 marked its sixth 49.500-or-better on the uneven bars this season
  • Shallon Olsen scored a career-best 9.950 on the vault and posted a season-best 9.950 on the balance beam, tying her career-best mark
  • Mati Waligora posted her second-consecutive 9.950 on the uneven bars, tying her career-best mark
  • Griffin James made her 2022 debut in the Crimson Tide’s competitive floor exercise rotation with a 9.875
  • Lexi Graber earned her 11th-consecutive score of 9.9-or-better on the floor exercise
  • Shania Adams tied her career-best score on the balance beam with a 9.900
  • Ella Burgess led off Alabama’s balance beam lineup with her sixth-consecutive score of 9.900, tying her career-best once again

Up Next

  • The Seattle regional final gets underway at 7 p.m. CT in Alaska Airline Arena on the University of Washington campus in Seattle, Wash.
  • As the winner of the first semifinal session, the Crimson Tide will open the regional finals on the vault and will advance to the uneven bars and balance beam before closing the night on the floor exercise

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