The Gators rebounded from a poor performance on balance beam and finished strong with a score of 197.575 to win its first national title in program history. The Crimson Tide led Florida by the absolute slimmest of margins heading into its final event, but ultimately finished in third place with a score of 197.350.
Oklahoma finished with a flourish on floor exercise to place just ahead of the Crimson Tide with a score of 197.375. Host UCLA (197.100) finished in fourth, LSU (197.050) came in fifth and Georgia (196.675) was sixth.
The balance beam was the thorn in Florida's side to overcome throughout the night and it became Alabama's undoing at the end of the night. While Alabama had two performances on beam that were less than stellar (one stumble and one fall) Oklahoma was tearing it up on the floor. Florida had rebounded from their poor performance on the beam with outstanding scores on the vault and floor.
Alabama will have several gymnasts competing in Sunday's individual event finals, starting at 1 p.m. PDT in the New Pauley Pavilion on the UCLA campus. Milliner, Clark and Beers will compete on the vault, sophomore Kayla Williams will compete on the balance beam and Milliner and Jacob will compete on the floor exercise.
I will go ahead and apologize for the late writing of this. After watching the competition and watching our girls work so hard to only lose the competition on the same apparatus that they won in such dramatic fashion last year, I couldn't bring myself to write the words that they hadn't won it again this year. When they stepped out onto the floor to accept their third place trophies a few of their eyes were puffy, they had all done their "congrats" round to the girls and coaches to the Florida bench where they had been crying for a different reason, and it just broke my heart for them. I'lol be tuning in this evening to watch individuals to see if we pick up any championships and I'll be reporting back tomorrow.