Coleman Coliseum was a sea of pink as Alabama’s No. 8 Gymnastics hosted its 18th annual “Power of Pink” meet Friday night. The Crimson Tide beat Georgia 197.475-196.800 en route to their second conference victory of the season.
The encounter marked Alabama’s fourth consecutive meeting, breaking the 197 mark.
The crowd was excited throughout the game, especially when senior Shallon Olsen scored a pair of 9.900. Olsen set the pace early with a 9.900 on vault to kick off the event. Olsen’s score led Alabama’s jump rotation and marked Game 3. The eldest has embraced the role of leader.
“Being first on the jump is a great opportunity for me,” Olsen said. I love starting the team.
The Crimson Tide earned a team score of 49.250 on vault.
Alabama posted a 49.500 on the floor exercise and the balance beam.
There was a scary moment during the Crimson Tide ground rotation when junior Makarri Doggette was injured on her third free fall pass. Doggette was helped off the ground and came back to the meet with a boot.
Alabama head coach Dana Duckworth said they weren’t sure about Doggette’s injury. However, it doesn’t seem to be related to the ACL. After the Doggette floor routine, the Crimson Tide rallied and finished the rotation strong.
Sophomore Lilly Hudson scored a game-best 9.950 on the ground, which came directly after Doggette’s routine.
“That routine was for Makarri Doggette, period,” Hudson said. “She was on my mind the whole routine, I love her to death and hope she’s okay.”
Junior Luisa Blanco had a stellar night, scoring 39.500 all around. She was the only gymnast to compete in all four events for either team. She scored 9.900 on the floor exercise, a 9.850 on the balance beam, a 9.800 on the vault and a competition-leading 9.950 on the uneven bars.
Graduate student Lexi Graber’s 9.925 on floor as the final competitor of the night sealed Alabama’s victory.
Senior Emily Gaskins’ floor routine included a collection of Alabama-related songs that put the Alabama faithful on their toes.
While the victory was important for Alabama as it navigates the second half of the season, tonight meant more to gymnasts and fans as the event sent a strong message.
“It was a chance to compete for something bigger than ourselves,” Olsen said. “We do it for her, we do it for something bigger than us.”
Duckworth enjoyed the energy in the arena tonight.
“The energy was electric tonight, the power of pink is strong. If anyone was inspired by this event, we won,” Duckworth said.
Alabama will compete on the road next Friday, Feb. 18, against No. 5 LSU. The first jump from the Pete Maravich Assembly Center is scheduled for 8:00 p.m. CT on ESPNU.