The University of Alabama gymnastics team came up short in its effort to win its 32nd regional title, but still placed second to advance to the NCAA Championships.
Although Alabama was the top-seeded team in the Morgantown Regional hosted by West Virginia, it was edged by Michigan 197.350-196.625. Both teams advance and will compete in the same semifinal in St. Louis on April 14.
The Mountaineers were third (196.325), ahead of Southern Utah, George Washington and Kent State.
The two events that were problematic for Alabama were balance beam, where a pair of wobbly performances resulted in a score of 49.00, and vault (48.80).
Senior Aja Sims was the only gymnast from Alabama to win an individual event, placing first in floor exercise with a near-perfect score of 9.95.
Michigan’s Paige Zaziski, Nicole Artz and Olivia Karas swept the top three all-around places, with Alabama’s Kiana Winston (39.275) finishing fifth.
“Our sole focus at this meet was advancing to the national championships, which is something we never take for granted even after making it the last 35 years in a row,” Alabama coach Dana Duckworth said in a statement. “It wasn’t easy tonight, but we fought hard and earned a place in St. Louis.”
Alabama and Michigan, respectively seeded sixth and seventh in the tournament, will next face the advancing teams from the Gainesville and Lincoln regionals. The top three teams in each semifinal will advance the Super Six on the subsequent day.