Alabama's season ended with a second NCAA gymnastics semifinal. After a heartbreaking third-place finish by the tightest of margins in 2021, the Crimson Tide's final performance was not quite as dramatic.
Three missed appearances on the vault secured Alabama it wouldn't be competing for a seventh national championship. No. 5 Alabama was aiming for a top-two finish in the four-team session, bringing 0.750 behind Utah, and 0.013 behind No. 8 Minnesota.
After a good floor rotation, Alabama fell within 0.1375 of second place, but the Crimson Tide was ruled out. Thursday's 197.1000 score was more than a quarter behind its NCAA regional score of 198.175, which was recorded on April 2 in Seattle.
Oklahoma's top-ranked Oklahoma was the first in the semifinal, with 198.1125, followed by Utah's 197.7125.
Along with Florida, Michigan, and Missouri, No. 7 Auburn will compete in the evening semifinal.
Auburn forwarded a goal in an individual victory as senior Luisa Blanco was one of five tied for the first time after the first session. Her 9.9375 was tied with Lexy Ramler of Minnesota and three athletes from Utah -- Abby Paulson, Kara Eaker, and Maile O'Keefe. However, it didn't keep up as Suni Lee scored 9.9625 to claim the championship.
The Utah beam rotation secured that second place after the Utes opened the door with a difficult bars performance. It had to count a 9.750 on the third rotation to allow Alabama's solid floor routine to increase within 0.1375 entering the final apparatus.
The Utes, which was the no. 1 nationally on the beam, delivered while Alabama battled on vault where it was no. 6 nationally. A 9.9125 from Blanco was the best of the six Tide scores there with three in the 9.7-range stricken the total. Alabama had a 49.1250 on vault -- far below its 49.400 NQS and 49.280 season average.
Utah's 49.6000 on the beam secured the second spot, while Minnesota won with a 49.3875 on bars.
Alabama opened on the bars with a 49.200, claiming it was the third consecutive day after the first game after missing the season average score of 49.436.
After two rotations, Alabama had to count a 9.7250 after a missed landing. Blanco's 9.9375 helped save a 49.3250 from the deficit, led by Shaina Adams.
While Blanco may still represent his team at a new level, Lexi Graber's bid for a second consecutive floor title fell short. She was eighth after the first session with a 9.9250, while Oklahoma's Jordan Bowers led with a 9.9625.
Alabama won a national championship in 2012 but hasn't lost a final since the format changed in 2019. Last year, the Tide lost 0.025 points to Utah in the semifinals. With its last championship near-miss coming with a third-place finish in 2016.
Michael Casagrande is a reporter for the Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter or on social media.