Gymnastics sends out seniors in style with win over Georgia


CW / Hannah Saad

Katie Windham | @ktwindham5, Staff Reporter

Even though it was a rare Saturday meet, Alabama gymnastics did something that has not been a rare occurrence since 2010: beat Georgia.

On a night honoring the three seniors, Wynter Childers, Maddie Desch and Shea Mahoney stepped up in their respective lineup spots all night long.

The momentous night for the seniors and the Crimson Tide ended with a season-high 49.600 on floor to lead Alabama to a 197.450-196.050 win over the Bulldogs.

“It’s everything you dream of,” Mahoney said. “Since you got here at Alabama, that’s what you dream of. It’s ending your career on a note like that in Coleman Coliseum.”

Mahoney’s 9.900 on floor was part of five consecutive scores of 9.900 or better, including four straight 9.925s from freshman Luisa Blanco, Desch, junior Lexi Graber and freshman Makarri Doggette in her return to the lineup.

Mahoney also scored a team-high 9.900 on bars and a 9.825 vault on senior night.

On top of the 9.925 on floor, Desch scored a season-high 9.875 on vault to help pace Alabama to a 49.325 on the event.

“I always love starting on vault, and I think that our team has a lot of potential on vault,” Desch said. “It’s just always a really strong start, and it really just built the energy.”

Childers led off the bars lineup and tied her season high with a 9.850.

“I can’t thank [coach Dana Duckworth] enough for the opportunity to be here, and it’s kind of all coming back freshman year and weird things just going through your mind as you compete one last time in Coleman, so tonight was really special,” Childers said.

Alabama struggled to get stuck landings on bars, and Duckworth pointed out that it’s an area where Alabama can continue to improve.

“We definitely have what I would call more fuel in the tank,” Duckworth said. “I think that if you look at adding some vault landings and bar landings and a little more control on beam, and then that floor performance over and over again that this team still has a lot more to accomplish. And they know it, and they’re not afraid to work for it every day.”

The senior class moved to 4-0 in head-to-head meets with Georgia in their careers. Overall, Alabama is 27-2 against Georgia since 2010.

The Bulldogs had to count a fall on bars on their first rotation, and the Crimson Tide was able to maintain and build upon a one-point lead throughout the whole meet. The 197.450 ties Alabama’s second-highest score off the season.

Next week, Alabama will get the chance to avenge an early-season loss to Auburn when it competes against the Tigers at Elevate the Stage in Birmingham before heading to the SEC Championships the next week.

The seniors know there is still work to do, but the last meet in Coleman Coliseum and another win over Georgia was worth reflecting on.

“Being an Alabama gymnast has grown me more than I can imagine, into the person I truly want to be,” Mahoney said. “And I have this program to thank for that. To be able to sit here as a senior four years later, I couldn’t ask for more.”