LIVE BLOG: No. 6 Auburn at No. 11 Alabama

Another year, another Iron Bowl gymnastics edition. Last year featured an Auburn victory at home, but this year home advantage goes to the Crimson Tide. 

Bama enters this meet after two-straight SEC losses to Florida and Kentucky. The highlights of last week’s matchup was a Makarri Doggette 10.0 on bars and the first 197 of the season. Early 2023 seems to be the time for the Crimson Tide to test their depth with 14 athletes competing so far. Stay tuned to see who gets the call today! Other athletes to watch are Luisa Blanco and Lilly Hudson, both potential all around performers tonight. 

Auburn didn’t have its best all around performance last week against NC State, but Cassie Stevens took off with a 39.600. Of course Sunisa Lee is bound to do Olympic champ level gymnastics, and Derrian Gobourne will put on quite the show, with a near perfect 9.975 at NC State. 

Get ready, this is yet another matchup that anyone could win! Keep an eye on the landings. May the most sticks win. 

Rotation 1: Alabama VT, Auburn UB

Kentucky at Missouri is running behind, so I’ll give you the details once everything is up and running!

Doggette (Bama): Third up. Yurchenko tucked half? Falls short. Preflight was really crunchy. Glad she knew not to go.

Groth (AU): Ray. Nice turn over. Pak salto, floaty. Good last handstand. Blind full, right on top, connected to double tuck. Hop back. Good set. She’s following two 9.75s. 9.875

It might take a minute to judge that vault since it’s a lower start value than expected plus a fall.

Blanco (Bama): Yurchenko 1.5 is nearly stuck. Couldn’t tell if it was a baby hop or a heel click together. Good height for her. 9.950. A 10.0 from one judge.

Stevens (AU): Toe hand, archy. Ray connection. Right on top on the cast and overshoot. Slow legs on the last handstand. Double layout is stuck. Nice and clean. 9.900, a season high.

Gladieux (Bama): Just a hop forward on the Yurchenko full. Good shape in the air, but technically a touch short on the landing. 9.775

Gobourne (AU): Tkatchev to pak salto. Good position on the catch. Short last handstand. FTDT, deep on the landing but stuck. 9.875

Paradise (Bama): Wild hop forward out of the Yurchenko 1.5. Good line in the air, but wasn’t quite sure where the ground was, I think. 9.775

Lee (AU): Blind, Jaeger, Pak, Maloney, in bar Geinger. Dear Lord. A marathon. FTDT is stuck. Upgraded from the blind full, double tuck she’s been doing early in the season. What will the score be? Huge… The team is jumping up and down. A 10.0. John wants an 11.0

Just catching up on the Alabama scores I missed. Olsen was back in the lineup this week with a 9.875, and Lilly Hudson posted a 9.800.

AFTER ONE: Auburn 49.400, Alabama 49.175

Well, the Tigers are off to the races. After a slow start, the back half of the bar lineup killed it, culminating in Sunisa Lee’s 10.0. Alabama was forced to count two scores below 9.8 after Makarri Doggette’s mishap. The obvious highlight there was Luisa Blanco’s near perfect one and a half. Also, glad to see Olsen back in the lineup this week.

Rotation 2: Auburn VT, Alabama UB

Hollingsworth (AU): Stuck Yurchenko full for her. Good lead off. If I’m picky, slightly off line and could get more amplitude. 9.875

Hudson (Bama): Toe hand, Maloney. Some legs. Right to handstand on the overshoot. Blind full, a touch slow. Small hop on the double tuck. 9.825

Groth (AU): Another stuck Yurchenko full. Excuse me. Wow. Pretty textbook on that one. 9.850

Paradise (Bama): We love a Blanco-Doggette dance party in the back of the frame. haha. Short first handstand. Blind, Jaeger. some feet. Casted over and comes down. Tried to tuck the head to save. Overshoot hand is nice. Handstands are so short. Strong double layout with a hop back. That’s the routine the team will look to drop. 9.250

Hubbard (AU): Yurchenko 1.5. So quick off the table. Not a lot of block, but good distance. Hop forward. 9.825

Waligora (Bama): Blind, Jaeger, straight to overshoot. Good connection. Slow on the last handstand. A hop in place with a lean forward on the full twisting double layout. Good set after the mistake. 9.800

Gobourne (AU): Yurchenko 1.5, with a quick hop forward. Some leg separation on the table but good and together in the air. 9.850

Machado (Bama): Maloney, Pak salto. Toe hand, Maloney half. Delayed on the turn but managed. Toe full to double tuck is stuck. Minutely late on the full. 9.925

Lee (AU): Yurchenko half on, tuck half off. Good technique with just a pace back. 9.900

Doggette (Bama): Tkatchev to pak. Slightest leg separation on the pak. Double layout is a touch far out, and stuck. Good set, yet again. 9.950

Stevens (AU): Yurchenko 1.5 with a hop forward. Soft knees throughout. 9.850

Blanco (Bama): Pak salto. Toe hand, Maloney half. A touch slow on the final handstand. FTDT with a lean to hold the stick. I cannot believe how close the bars coach is to touching her with each giant tap. Whatever works! Way to finish the rotation after the mistake from Paradise. 9.825

AFTER TWO: Auburn 98.725, Alabama 98.500

Okay. Event two was a wash, and Auburn still leads by 0.225. Good on Bama for preventing counting a fall that rotation. Auburn started off with some sticks, but was a bit bouncy on the 10.0 start values.

Commentators are talking up the fact that Auburn has never defeated the Crimson Tide in Coleman Coliseum. Will today be the day? I would say that we’ll have a better idea after watching some Bama beam, so let’s get to it.

Rotation 3: Alabama BB, Auburn FX

Burgess (Bama): One handed BHS LOSO. Right on this week. Side Aerial. Sharp arms. Switch leap to beat. A small adjustment lean. Cat leap, switch side. Strong. She’s in her element. Love the beam song choice. Rihanna is THAT GIRL. Gainer pike is stuck! 9.925

Brusch (AU): Front through to double tuck. Landed a bit staggered but good control on the lunge. Switch half, popa, wolf full. So good on the amplitude. Double pike is right in front of the camera man. I think the landing was fine? I was looking at the back of a head, so can’t be 100% sure. 9.825

Rybicki (Bama): BHS LOSO. Small lean. Cat leap, switch side 1/4. That was upgraded this year. Beat, straddle 3/4. Wasn’t in love with that position in the air. Legs looked a bit slow. RO back 1.5. A bit under with a hop back. 9.825

Groth (AU): Front double full. Legs a touch crossed. Switch half, wolf full. Bizarre camera angle. VERY zoomed in. Back 1.5 front layout. Stuck with the toes gripping the floor. Burn baby Burn! Rudi, legs looked separated on the punch, but the skill looked fine. *shrugs* 9.900. Seems a touch high to me.

Waligora (Bama): Looking sharp on the dance. BHS LOSO. Right on! Side aerial. Beautiful. Love the interaction with the team. Split, tuck full connection. Has to make a foot correction there to get it around. RO back 1.5, stuck with an arm emphasis. 9.875

Hollingsworth (AU): Open FTDT, nice and controlled. So much power! Switch half, popa. Good extension. Love this music for her! Front through to double tuck is a smidge forward. Had to hop forward into the lunge. 9.850

Gladieux (Bama): BHS layout two feet. A foot lift to manage. Front aerial to beat is right on. Switch leap, straddle jump. Good shape and dynamics. RO double tuck. Squatty on the landing leads to a step back. 9.875, her best so far. Seems a bit high with that dismount landing and wobble on the series.

Stevens (AU): Front lay to Rudi. Strong connection pass. A Stevens for good measure. Tour jete half, wolf full. Not quite snappy. Double tuck. A touch over but managed with a larger lunge.

Hudson (Bama): Front aerial, BHS LOSO. Perfection. Switch leap, beat jump. Wanted a little more split there. Side aerial is lovely. A stuck dismount for her! The ball is rolling for Bama beam. 9.975. oh wow. I don’t know why I wasn’t expecting that…

Lee (AU): The crowd is getting LOUD. Double layout. Soft knees. Managed the landing quite beautifully. Switch ring, tour jete half. Back 1.5 front full is textbook. She is not going to be outdone tonight. 9.925

Blanco (Bama): So normal Luisa beam tonight will go 10.0. Beautiful middle split mount. Front aerial is stunning. Loving this throwback beam song. BHS LOSO LOSO. Just the smallest correction. Scale to show off the flexibility. Switch leap, beat. She’s in the zone, tonight. RO back 1.5. Hips rise up a touch but the feet did not move. As I said… 10.0

Gobourne (AU): Derrian accepting those 10.0 Blanco cheers as her own. Eat it up! Open double tuck. In the clouds. Switch side, popa. Beautiful shape in the air. Front full, front lay. Danced right out. Double pike. Perfect control. Trying to hold onto the lead with a 9.9… 9.925

AFTER THREE: Auburn 148.200, Alabama 148.150

This meet is just about as close as it gets. Honestly, I think Bama got some judging assistance on beam, so I’m hoping that stays consistent in the next rotation. Good bounce back for the Tide after last week’s beam at Kentucky. Auburn did well on floor, but will need to KILL it on beam to hold off the surging Crimson Tide.

Rotation 4: Auburn BB, Alabama FX 

Hollingsworth (AU): BHS LOSO. Nice and solid. Switch half, check. Not connected to the split jump. Side Aerial. Good. Back in it. Switch leap, straddle jump. Just a lean. Gainer full, stuck? Small left foot adjustment? Close enough. 9.800

Waligora (Bama): Front lay, front double full. Had a cross over step to the lunge. That screams “I twisted until I hit the floor” to me. Tour jete half, wolf full. Side aerial. Playing with the bun. Cute. Back 1.5 front layout. Skidded a bit with the right foot but managed. 9.925, career high is too high for me. So sorry.

Brusch (AU): Front aerial, a waver to the split jump. Kept it moving. BHS LOSO. Go off. Switch leap, straddle 1/4. Good extension. A whole new world! Gainer full is stuck. Sacramone says she wobbled on some dance. I must’ve looked down. 9.900

Adams (Bama): Double pike. Switch half, tuck one and a half. Such a unique jump choice. Wolf triple turn? Alicia said double. It was good regardless. Roll Tide Roll. Back 1.5 to front lay. A bit flat on the second salto but managed well. Crowd goes wild! 9.900

Stevens (AU): BHS LOSO LOSO. A little soft on the knees. No wobbles here. Split, double stag ring. Head release is good. The Stevens. Nice and solid. She’s in it to win it. RO back 1.5 is stuck. The Tigers will not back down! 9.950. YES MA’AM!

Doggette (Bama): Turn right into a wolf full. FTDT, just keeps the heel in bounds. Switch leap, tour jete full is NOT around. At least a quarter turn on the ground. I do love this floor music mix. Back 1.5 to front layout is solid. 9.800

Groth (AU): BHS LOSO BHS. Looked so off on the second skill but she did amazing to make that with no wobble. Switch leap, switch half. Good and around. Side Aerial to tucked 1.5 is a bit short with a step back. Otherwise strong routine. Panned over to her sister in the audience. So sweet. 9.850

Gladieux (Bama): FTDT is gigantic. Dear Lord. I’m speechless. Tour jete half, popa. Amplitude is next level. Layout, Rudi, split jump. Travelled back a bit further than is permissible. Good routine for the freshman. 9.925

McLaughlin (AU): Switch leap, big leg up check. BHS LOSO. Another small check. Beat, side aerial. Good. Take a breath. Switch leap, straddle 1/4. Right on the money. Gainer pike, stuck. Alicia says 9.7ish. Let’s see. 9.675

Hudson (Bama): Front lay, front double full. Good. Legs together. Switch half, wolf full. Respectfully, I wish this dance had gotten changed when the music was passed down from Gaskins. Back 2.5 is nice as well. Double tuck. GOOOOOOD stuff. Considering the high scores for less good gymnastics… this one should be better. 9.975

Lee (AU): A loud cheer. Even in enemy territory. Stunning wolf turn. Confident. Switch leap, switch half. YES. Side aerial LOSO LOSO. Perfection. BHS gainer full. Stuck. Auburn needs a 10.0 to take the lead. Nothing less. Honestly… could get it done. 10.0. Okay then.

Blanco (Bama): Double pike. Perfect control. Double tuck is right on as well. Needs a 9.850 to win the meet. It’s Luisa, a 9.850 is in her sleep. Front full, front lay to arabesque. So the Tide keep their win streak in Coleman rolling. 9.975. In the words of DJ Khaled, ANOTHER ONE.

Final: Alabama 197.850, Auburn 197.700

Auburn had this meet in the bag. Ultimately it came down to a wobble on beam. If there’s one thing that Alabama will do, it’s rise to the occasion when a rivalry meet is on the line. Although, I do wonder what would’ve happened if Bama didn’t get a couple scoring gifts on beam and floor… Auburn will be happy to walk away from Tuscaloosa with a huge road score under its belt. We witnessed three 10s and three 9.975s tonight. That’s pure insanity. Love watching good gymnastics.

AA Winner: Sunisa Lee (AU), 39.825

VT Winner: Luisa Blanco (Bama), 9.950

UB Winner: Sunisa Lee (AU), 10.000

BB Winner: Luisa Blanco (Bama) and Sunisa Lee (AU), 10.000

FX Winner: Luisa Blanco (Bama), Lilly Hudson (Bama), 9.975

READ THIS NEXT: 5 Things That Are Making Gymnastics’ 2023 Iron Bowl One For The Books

Live Blog by Tavia Smith

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