An Iron Bowl in Vegas? It’s Happening
It's probably safe to say Alabama has never faced Auburn in Las Vegas.
That's about to change.
For its first regular season meet of 2024, Alabama will travel to Las Vegas for the Mean Girls Super 16 Championships. The Crimson Tide will face off against UCLA, Cal and Auburn in a quad-meet Saturday, Jan. 6 at 8 p.m. CT.
Alabama coach Ashley Johnston was once an Alabama gymnast and also once an Auburn assistant.
She's ready to get the season started.
"Last year was really important for us to be able to re-establish what our culture was about," Johnston said. "As a new coaching staff, the most important thing was to create the culture where every athlete was going to thrive and be able to reach their full potential."
That culture reestablishment included beating Auburn twice: once in Tuscaloosa, and once in the SEC championships.
Alabama opens the season ranked No. 8. Johnston's second Tide team
will be led by four fifth-year seniors. Luisa Blanco, Makarri Doggette, Ella Burgess and Mati Waligora all announced their return to the Tide and Johnston was pleasantly surprised, she told a group of boosters in October.
"It says a lot about who they are, but also a lot about the culture that we're building, that all four of them wanted to be part of this program for another year," Johnston said. "Bringing that level of experience and perspective to our team is going to help us in the long run and provide some great leadership this season."
Blanco almost single-handedly led a home comeback to beat Auburn. She was an all-SEC gymnast who qualified for the NCAA championships as an individual on the uneven bars, though the team didn't make it to the finals.
Alabama Athletes With NIL Deals
Gallery Credit: Jacob Harrison