Season highs and a home crowd propelled No. 10 Alabama Gymnastics (1-2; 1-1 SEC) to its first win of the season, over No. 9 Kentucky 197.650-196.275 Friday night .
“I love when I see these ladies feeding off a massive crowd,” head coach Dana Duckworth said. “A huge thank you to the energy that our students and the crowd brought. It just makes such a difference.
Junior Makarri Doggette had a night to remember, scoring season highs in all three events she played. The Ohio native scored a 9.925 on vault and a 9.950 on uneven bars. Doggette won the event title on both of these events. After a few years on the sidelines due to injury, being able to compete on vault brought a smile to her face.
“The jump has always been my favorite event,” Doggette said. “To land and see the whole crowd in front of me makes me feel amazing. It makes me feel so special that my whole team just ran towards me [and] basically addressed me.
However, Doggette’s most impressive routine of the night came on balance beam. Before her, junior Ella Burgess fell off the beam and scored a 9.200. Doggette wanted Burgess back from the mistake. Doggette performed a solid routine and earned a 9.80 score.
“I’m a big visualizer, so to be honest, I was visualizing when he [the fall] happened,” Doggette said. “We have his back and we have anybody’s back.”
Duckworth had complete faith in Doggette’s beam routine due to her “ultra focused” nature and believes she will only get better.
“I was very confident in his ability to come through after a crash,” Duckworth said. “Makarri will only continue to improve on beam because she is a very aggressive beam worker.”
Freshman Lilly Hudson had dreamed of competing at Coleman Coliseum since she signed up in eighth grade. Hudson competed in the first all-around of her college career Friday night, scoring a 39.525. She described competing at the Coleman Coliseum for the first time as a dream come true.
“I can’t believe I’m finally here to do what I’ve wanted to do my whole life,” Hudson said. “I just can’t wait for the rest of the season.”
Alabama will face rival No. 8 Auburn on Friday, January 28 at Auburn Arena. The match is scheduled to begin at 8:00 p.m. CT and will air on ESPN2.