Southeastern Missouri State, Temple, and Northern Illinois all kicked off their season with a trip to Tuscaloosa to face off with the pre-season number six-ranked Alabama. The Crimson Tide came into the competition as the clear favorite, with the other teams all battling to start their seasons off on a high note with strong performances.

Alabama came into their season-opener inside Coleman Coliseum with high expectations and a lot of new faces to the team. The vault squad started the meet off pretty well with a 49.075 rotation score, led by freshman Shallon Olsen, a World silver medalist on the event for Canada last fall, performing a huge Yurchenko double full for a 9.875. Another freshman former elite, Emily Gaskins, led the way for the Crimson Tide with a beautiful routine for a 9.875, and uneven bars was Alabama’s best rotation of the night with a score of 49.1.

Shea Mahoney competes on the floor exercise for the Alabama Crimson Tide in a quad meet in Tuscaloosa, Alabama/Alabama Athletics

The major struggle of the night came on balance beam, where Alabama was forced to count two falls. Only being able to put up a 47.7 on beam really hurt the final total for Alabama, but they were able to rally to finish strong on floor with a 9.825 from sophomore Lexi Graber the high score there. The Tide finished the meet with a win and a 194.75 and will expect to drastically improve that number in the weeks to come in SEC competition.

Northern Illinois had a very solid start to their season, notching a 193.325 to grab second place. A very consistent opening bar rotation started off their competition with a 48.45 rotation total, and they were able to battle and avoid counting a fall on balance beam to manage a 48.1 there. In the third rotation, Anna Martucci performed a great floor routine for a 9.800 to set up Northern Illinois for their final rotation on vault, where they had their best rotation of the night for a 48.5 rotation score to finish out their meet.

Temple finished a little behind Northern Illinois with a 191.925, having to count a fall in their opening rotation on beam but rebounding very nicely on the other three events. The highlight of the meet for Temple was a stunning bar routine from Jazmyn Estrella for a 9.825 in their final rotation.

Rounding out the competition was Southeastern Missouri State, who had a overall consistent meet to finish with a 187.8. The clear highlight of the meet for this team was their vault rotation, hitting six for six vaults for a rotation total of 47.75. All of the teams had many promising routines and it will be exciting to watch how they progress as the season continues.

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