Alabama gymnastics hosted its annual Crimson and White Preview meet Friday night. Fans saw the 2022-23 Alabama gymnastics team in action for the first time. The squad was divided into two teams and competed against each other. A gymnast from the Crimson team would compete and a gymnast from the White team competed after. Two judges then picked which gymnast performed better and that team received a point. There were ten routines on each event.

This year's squad returns a lot of experienced gymnasts. Alabama returns 18 out of the 24 routines from last year's team; however, a lot of new faces could work their way into the lineups this season.

Newcomers looking to make an impact.

Six freshmen expect to contribute this season. Many competed on the US Junior Olympic team. The Crimson and White Preview served as an opportunity to see what the freshmen bring to the table in a low pressure environment.

"Having that opportunity to just get your first taste is a great opportunity for them and I think they did amazing," senior Luisa Blanco said. "They all stepped up to the plate tonight."

Gabby Gladieux did a yurchenko-1.5 which is a 10.0 start value vault. While she didn't didn't get the point for the White team, competing against sophomore Jordyn Paradise, Gladieux displayed how much strength and power she has on vault.

Gladieux was the only freshman to compete in the all-around tonight.

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Sophomore Corinne Bunagan competed for the first time in front of Alabama fans. She's one to keep an eye on this upcoming season as a gymnast who could make her way into the all-around lineup. Bunagan competed in bars, beam and floor Friday night. She was penciled into the vault lineup but didn't compete.

How the meet went.

The White team took the lead early on vault. Freshman Karis German, fifth-year senior Shallon Olsen, and sophomore Lilly Hudson each won their match up before sophomore Jordyn Paradise beat Gladieux to get a point for the Crimson team.

On beam, the Crimson team tied it up early with Paradise beating junior Cam Machado and freshman Lauren Little beating Gladieux. The tie didn't last for long as German and Hudson beat Bunagan and senior Mati Waligora in their head-to-heads.

The final two gymnasts to compete on floor were the two best bar gymnasts from last season in Doggette and Blanco. The judges couldn't decide so it went to the crowd who voted for Blanco which cut the White teams lead down to one point. It was 5-4 going into the third rotation.

More lead changes occurred in the beam rotation as Bunagan and Waligora claimed the lead for the Crimson team before Machado and junior Ella Burgess retook the lead for the White team. The judges couldn't pick between Blanco and Burgess and the crowd voted for Burgess. It was a great matchup between the lead-off beam gymnast Burgess and balance beam All-American Blanco.

The White team pulled away in the final rotation, winning four of the five matchups. One of the fan favorite routines from last year was revamped and performed by Hudson since the gymnast who performed it in the past graduated. Hudson's Alabama themed routine got fans clapping along and engaged.

Blanco closed out the night with a win over Doggette but the Crimson team lost 11-6. The meet should have fans excited considering how close each matchup was. It goes to show how much depth this Alabama team has heading into the season.

Injuries.

Junior Shania Adams and fifth-year senior Sania Mitchell didn't compete in the meet. Alabama gymnastics head coach Ashley Johnston said they were coming back from injuries and weren't quite ready to go today but should be able to compete during the season.

Message to the fans.

Alabama gymnastics wants its fans to pack out Coleman Coliseum as the team has big plans for the season. They want and need the fans to be a part of this season.

"My message to the fans is to just come out to Coleman Coliseum and help be the difference maker," Johnston said. "It really does create an amazing home field advantage when those stands are packed."

Doggette wants fans to "stay tuned" and "come and watch." She said that there's a lot of mystery around this year's team but that's part of what makes this season so exciting.

Blanco believes Alabama fans are the "best fans ever."

"Their support is everything to us, so we love seeing y'all at the meets. Pack the house and we'll do our best for y'all."

Alabama gymnastics kicks off its season on Jan. 6 at 6 p.m. CT.

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