Tide hosts sixth annual Power of pink meet

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Sophomore Geralen Stack-Eaton performs her floor routine in last year’s Pink Meet againt Auburn. Alabama gymnastics head coach Sarah Patterson began the Power of Pink initiative six years ago to raise awareness for breast cancer. CW File

Jason Galloway

Although the Alabama gymnastics team won by more than two points (197.25-195.1), Friday night’s meet between the top-ranked Crimson Tide and No. 21 Arizona was hardly about gymnastics.

With almost the entire sold-out crowd donning pink, Alabama honored a breast cancer survivor with the introduction of each gymnast, a new twist to the Tide’s sixth annual Power of Pink meet.

“My survivor actually gave me a little stone [with] a little ribbon in it,” said senior Morgan Dennis. “I just started crying secretly. I tried not to show it, but I just thought that was really awesome how powerful this competition is.”

Dennis became part of a three-way tie for the all-around title, scoring a 39.475 with Tide sophomores Ashley Priess and Geralen Stack-Eaton.

It was a second consecutive all-around title for Stack-Eaton, who notched a career-high 39.625 last week against Florida after only competing in three events the previous three weeks.

“[I’m] believing in myself and having confidence, and it’s shown a lot,” said Stack-Eaton, who scored a career-high 9.9 on bars Friday.

Alabama began the meet with identical scores of 49.325 on the vault and bars, while Arizona posted a 48.675 and a 49.225 on the bars and vault, respectively.

The lead only grew larger from there, as the Wildcats posted a less-than-spectacular 48.95 on floor exercise and fell twice on the beam. Alabama finished the meet with a 49.5 on floor, .025 away from a season-high, and Dennis posted a meet-high 9.95 on the final routine to finalize the blowout.

Senior Kassi Price was unable to finish her floor routine after falling on her second pass. Head coach Sarah Patterson said Price will be slowed down and her legs will be sore for a while, but that no serious injury occurred on the fall.

Price isn’t the only Tide gymnast who got banged up Friday. Freshman Marissa Gutierrez fell short on a tumbling pass during pre-meet warm ups and tweaked her ankle. She still competed on beam, but was held out of her scheduled vault and floor exercise.

“I felt like we had the depth to go other places,” Patterson said. “It was just a smart move on our part not to push it tonight. When something like that happens, you try and have everybody ready so you can just adjust. Although you don’t want an injury to happen, the next person has to be prepared.”

Later this week, Alabama will travel to Lexington, Ky., to take on the Kentucky Wildcats Friday at 6 p.m.