Alabama gymnastics scores highest road total of season, falls to Florida


CW / Hannah Saad

Katie Windham | @ktwindham5, Staff Reporter

A week after watching a teammate go down mid-meet with a season-ending injury, Alabama gymnastics responded with its highest road score since 2017 and second-highest score of the 2020 season.

The score, a 197.450, wasn’t enough to beat the 198.050 from Florida, which clinched the regular season SEC championship Friday night. But it was a step in the right direction for Alabama in reaching its larger goal of continuous improvement leading up to the postseason.

“We made so many big steps, but we left so many different little tenths out there on every event,” coach Dana Duckworth said in a press release. “We’ve got to continue to fight for all those little details, because those are the details that are going to give us an opportunity to score a 198. We are continuing to do all of the things we can to become a stronger, more consistent team.”

Alabama crossed the 197.000 scoring mark for the third time in seven meets and for the first time on the road.

Junior Lexi Graber almost reached perfection on vault with a 9.975 and also led Alabama on beam and floor with a 9.925 on both events. Senior Shea Mahoney also scored a 9.925 on floor.

“I’m proud of Lexi for coming back after bars and taking it one event at a time,” Duckworth said. “That vault was beautiful and her floor and beam were great.”

Last week, freshman Makarri Doggette only competed on bars because she felt some knee discomfort after her dismount. She returned to the bars and beam lineup against Florida, scoring a team-high 9.950 in the anchor spot on bars and 9.850 beam.

Junior Alonza Klopfer tied her career-high on floor with a 9.850 and also earned a career-high 9.900 in the leadoff spot on beam.

The high road total will play an important factor in formulating Alabama’s Regional Qualifying Score (RQS), which determines the seeding and placement for NCAA regionals. A team’s RQS is calculated by taking a team’s six highest scores, at least three of which must be on the road, and averaging the lowest five out of those six.

Alabama returns home for a meet against No. 12 Kentucky on Feb. 28.