Mati Waligora completes her full-twisting double layout bars dismount

LIVE BLOG: No. 8 Alabama at No. 16 Arkansas

Arkansas got a nice steady start to the season last week at Nebraska. Norah Flatley’s Razorback debut lived up to expectations, and some key injury comebacks, like brand-new floor anchor Frankie Price, are going to be huge for this team. Expect a higher number this week: Nebraska was nice, but Friday Night Heights is a whole different ballgame. The biggest question for Arkansas? Flatley might be ready to go, but how much do the Razorbacks’ own fifth-year gymnasts, Bailey Lovett and Kennedy Hambrick, have left in the tank? Hambrick didn’t compete her leg events last week as she deals with unspecified injury nonsense, and Lovett is a law student, so the less said about that the better.

For Alabama, the first meet of the Ashley Johnston era just had the loveliest vibes. The potential on this roster is huge, and a lot of that promise played out last Friday. A final score of 196.975 after an out-of-bounds by floor anchor Lilly Hudson is completely serviceable, but the Tide will want to be north of 197 this week. We’d also love to see some more freshmen: Gabby Gladieux looked phenomenal in her debut last week, but there are five more who are pretty much mysteries right now.

Rotation 1: Arkansas VT, Alabama UB

Kelley (Ark): A little piked on her FTY, medium hop back. 9.75

Hudson (Bama): Late change, Paradise was rostered to lead. Major leg separation on the Maloney, solid bail. Blind full double back with a little hop. 9.775

Weaver (Ark): FTY, twisting on a bit but good form, small hop back.

Paradise (Bama): Weird delay. What can they be arguing about, it’s literally the first rotation? Blind to Jaeger, little bit of foot form, bail. Stuck double layout. Nice after getting iced. 9.875

Flatley (Ark): She’s doing AA tonight. Leg sep on the table but nearly stuck on her FTY. 9.9

Waligora (Bama): Blind to Jaeger to overshoot, just little bits of form, FTDLO with a small hop forward. Good landing. 9.825

Price (Ark): Nice FTY, clean, large hop back. First angle was completely obscured by Chris Brooks but luckily they had a second one. 9.775

Machado (Bama): Great first handstand, Maloney with leg sep to Pak, toe on to van Leeuwen. Toe full double tuck, hop forward. 9.85

Sedlacek (Ark): One and a half, a little lock legged but not painfully so, step back. Looks thrilled. 9.825

Doggette (Bama): Smidge arched on her first handstand but no drama, Tkachev to Pak with a little leg separation which is unlike her, misses a handstand, double layout with a hop back. On replay she may have clipped the ground with her feet on her Pak. 9.85, guess they didn’t see it. It was PRETTY marginal, I didn’t see it on the first watch either.

Williams (Ark): One and a half, bit of form on the table but lots of distance and squarely rotated, medium hop forward. 9.825

Blanco (Bama): Maloney to Pak lovely, shy on a low bar handstand, van Leeuwen, FTDB essentially stuck. Heel shift, but within the range of ‘pulling heels together’ movement. 9.9

After 1: Alabama 49.300, Arkansas 49.150

Lot of little stuff on bars today for Alabama. Not sure if it’s just camera angles, but this lineup looked cleaner at home last week. Arkansas was hoppy but solid on vault. I’m not sure about that score ordering… to my eye Flatley wasn’t the strongest vault there.

Rotation 2: Alabama VT, Arkansas UB

Olsen (Bama): FTY, some form throughout and a sizeable hop.

Swaney (Ark): Fall to her knees on her Ray. It was too close and overrotated, caught with her wrists and slid. Pak with serious leg separation, cast handstand, has to recast for her half turn, pretty double layout with a small hop.

Doggette (Bama): One and a half, pretty short but hangs on for a second before a step back. It was honestly really pretty, but it was underrotated.

Drotar (Ark): Smidge shirt on her first handstand, Maloney with a LOT of form to bail and collapses on to the bar. Double layout pretty but short, knees buckle a bit as she steps forward.

Hudson (Bama): One and a half, tidy and super square, little step to the side. Nice. 9.8, what?

Scalzo (Ark): Blind with a tiny leg separation to Jaeger overshoot. Double layout stuck. 9.9

Blanco (Bama): One and a half, nice and clean, medium hop forward. 9.825

Pratt (Ark): Shy on the first handstand, Ray with one flexed foot, bail is NICE. Missed another handstand, double layout with a hop back. 9.825

Paradise (Bama): One and a half, nice, hop forward. Similar sized to Blanco’s.

Hambrick (Ark): Blind to pike Jaeger, way too far and falls. Mistimed that release badly. Blind to Jaeger, tucked that time, to overshoot. Muscling through. FTDB stuck.

Gladieux (Bama): One and a half, leg sep on the table, short and a step back.

Flatley (Ark): Feet a little soft on her Jaeger, good bail, double layout stuck. 9.9

After 2: Alabama 98.300, Arkansas 96.950.


That was what I can only describe as an oopsie for Arkansas. Perhaps even an oof.

Alabama wasn’t great on vault, but it was also VERY tightly scored. It was very much a better vault rotation than Arkansas and the judges just said No. Not sure what that was about.

Rotation 3: Arkansas BB, Alabama FX

Gamiao (Ark): LOSO LOSO clean, grinning. Side somi, switch to split, full turn, one and a half twist with a hop forward. Great vibes. 9.85

Waligora (Bama): Front lay to front double full, smidge underrotated but steps out fine. Tour jete half wolf full. Side aerial, Y turn, one and a half front lay. 9.825

Lovett (Ark): Front aerial, little waver, LOSO. Not sure I’d give credit for that. Switch to split, beat, gainer tuck full with a hop.

Olsen (Bama): Pike full in, little shuffle of the front foot. Switch to tour jete half to sketchy split full, front through double tuck is great. 9.85

Swaney (Ark): Onodi! Full turn, BHS LOSO LOSO and just a little shuffle of the front foot. Nice switch to split. BHS to one and a half, the babiest of baby steps. 9.875

Doggette (Bama): Full in, a little undercooked. Tour jete full is great. Switch ring to… trips out of her switch half. Gonna need to invent a leap series now. One and a half front lay. 9.575

Hambrick (Ark): Full turn, check, BHS LOSO, check on switch half, wolf to straddle 3/4 with a lean but hangs on, gainer full stuck. 9.725

Gladieux (Bama): Great full in, tour jete half Popa soooo high. Nice clean combo pass. Solid recovery after Doggette. 9.875

Weaver (Ark): Triple series, nailed. Switch to straddle is pretty. One and a half twist, hop forward. Solid effort to stick that, wasn’t to be. 9.875

Blanco (Bama): Smidge overrotated on the double pike, slides the front foot. Rebounds back on the double tuck, stays in bounds. Switch ring switch half is okay, one and a half front lay stuck-ish. 9.875 is a bit generous.

Flatley (Ark): Front aerial BHS LOSO steady, soft knees throughout. L turn to beat is a little shaky, one and a half twist with a hop to the side. 9.9

Hudson (Bama): Front lay front full… she’s lost, just crumples onto the floor. Two and a half pretty. Double tuck is good. They’re gonna have to count that Doggette routine, though.

After 3: Alabama 147.300, Arkansas 146.225

Great beam rotation for Arkansas and lots of momentum heading to floor. Not Alabama’s best work today: Wonder if we get some lineup shake-ups on floor soon.

Rotation 4: Alabama BB, Arkansas FX

Burgess (Bama): She didn’t compete last week, glad to see her back! One-hand BHS to LOSO, solid. Side aerial steady. Switch to beat, nice, cat leap switch side. Gainer pike with a hop back. 9.8 is stingy.

Jones (Ark): Front double full good, a smidge overrotated, switch switch half. Front lay to Rudi, slightly scooty landing. 9.85

Lewis (Bama): College debut for the Californian. Doggette and Olsen are out from last week’s lineup. Wolf turn a little sketch, split to double stag with a little adjustment. Her flexibility is good. BHS LOSO, she froze a little in the prep and I got worried but the skills themselves were rock solid. Front aerial to split, good extension again. BHS gainer full, baby step forward, massive hug pile from the team. Awesome. 9.775

Hickey (Ark): Double pike, legs not really together. One and a half front lay, solid leaps, chest a little low on her double tuck. 9.85

Waligora (Bama): Full turn, BHS LOSO, solid with a bit of form. Nice side aerial. Split jump to tuck jump full to beat jump, rotated well. One and a half twist big, baby hop forward. 9.85

Lovett (Ark): Double layout, pretty but underrotated, big step forward and chest low. Double tuck with a scoot back, just stays in bounds, switch half Popa. Front lay front full, great. 9.875 I’m sorry what. Those two landings

Gladieux (Bama): BHS back pike, little check, full turn. Front aerial. Switch to straddle is good. Basically stuck that double tuck, wow. 9.875

Williams (Ark): Great full in. One and a half front lay, comes in a little deep but manages it fine, solid. 9.9

Hudson (Bama): Front aerial BHS LOSO, super solid. Switch to beat, side aerial, one and a half twist and aaalmost hangs onto it, small hop to salute. 9.9

Flatley (Ark): Triple twist, goes kind of sideways out her round off but landed well, soft knees. Front double twist, short with two steps back. Great one and a half front twist. 9.875

Blanco (Bama): Front aerial, full turn, BHS LOSO and splits the beam. That’s leaving bruises. Penche looks painful, switch ring, goes with a back tuck dismount. 8.625

Price (Ark): Double lay, looked out of bounds to me but the view wasn’t great. Switch side Popa, awkward landing, one and a half front pike, double pike short with a step forward.

FINAL: Alabama 196.475, Arkansas 195.575

Erratic and wonkily scored throughout, this meet was mostly one to forget, but there were some real highlights. Norah Flatley’s Razorback AA debut was great, and she’ll be ranked in the AA come Monday. Lillian Lewis’ beam debut was also a success; expect to see more of her as the season goes on.

VT: Norah Flatley 9.900
UB: Luisa Blanco, Norah Flatley, Jensen Scalzo 9.900
BB: Norah Flatley 9.900
FX: Lauren Williams 9.900
AA: Norah Flatley 39.575

READ THIS NEXT: Justin Spring Brings Energy, Fun to Alabama Gymnastics

Live blog by Rebecca Scally

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