Alabama's gymnastics squad, No. 4 in the country and the 3-seed in the SEC Championship, put together their strongest meet of the year, finishing in second place behind the Florida Gators this weekend in Little Rock.
Florida, the winner of the last three national titles, claimed its first SEC title since the 2013 season.
Alabama was exceptional on a night when scoring was quite erratic, particularly on floor and the vault. Florida, however, was practically-perfect. Still, the Tide was able to post a season high on the uneven bars, and tied a season high on the floor routine. (Junior Carly Sims probably had her finest floor routine in two seasons, yet the scoring did not reflect that.)
Three Tide gymnasts stood out in particular en route to winning individual SEC titles: Sophomores Kiana Winston, Mackenzie Brannan, and Junior Katie Bailey. Winston (who also had an excellent floor exercise) won an individual championship on the beam with a 9.950. Katie Bailey, while not putting together her best all-around night, had an excellent bar routine, matching Winston's 9.950. Brannan was simply excellent. She nailed a 9.950 on her way to winning the vault title, and finished 3rd overall individually.
The Tide is finally peaking at the right moment, and with Alabama hosting an NCAA regional in April, a run at the national crown is not unrealistic, particularly given how narrowly Alabama was defeated Saturday.
Congratulations to the team on a strong finish and the individual SEC Champions. Roll Tide.