Alabama freshman Lexi Graber had a stellar weekend at regionals in Tuscaloosa with a season-best all-around score of 39.575. Graber has been a solid contributor for the Crimson Tide throughout the season despite an early injury scare in just her third competitive routine on vault against Georgia.
The injury kept her out just one week, and the freshman continued competing on vault, bars, and beam before adding floor exercise in the second half of the season. She has posted nine scores of 9.825 or better on balance beam and eight routines of 9.850 or better on uneven bars.
Alabama faces UCLA, Arkansas, LSU, Nebraska, and Georgia on Friday in the first semifinal.
What is your favorite event to perform on and why?
Definitely floor, because on floor you get to go out and show your personality and have a lot of fun. Beam is my personal favorite event to train and compete. It’s just always been a favorite. I’ve always loved training beam but competing it has had to grow on me a little bit—having to actually get in the zone and like it. It’s definitely one of my favorites now.
What is your favorite skill to perform on any event?
My Nastia (front aerial to arabesque) on the beam, because it’s unique and not a lot of people do it in collegiate gymnastics.
What’s the most challenging skill that you’ve learned and what made it challenging for you?
I would say my shootover on bars, just because it’s hard to be so small and get from one bar to the other.
What has the transition been like going from club to collegiate gymnastics this year?
Definitely a lot more intense but a lot more fun for sure. You have a group of sisters basically and it’s just a big change, because in J.O. I didn’t really have a big team so it’s good to have that. They’ve made it a smooth transition and have helped me a lot so it has gone pretty well.
What has been the biggest takeaway from the regular season that you’ll look to use at nationals?
Definitely our ability to bounce back from any challenges we face in competition like a fall or even just a major mess-up. We were able to bounce back and I think using that at nationals is going to be a big help.
How do you bounce back from a fall?
You just have to stay in the mindset that you can’t let it affect you. You have been training every event, every day, and not falling. The fact that there was a fall before you shouldn’t affect your mindset.
How would you describe yourself in three words?
Outgoing, spunky, and a perfectionist.
How does the adversity that your team faces in the regular season help prepare you for this postseason run?
It definitely just shows that no matter what adversity we’ve been facing, we’re stronger from it. It just gives us a stronger mindset going into nationals.
What are you most looking forward to about competing at nationals?
I’m just excited to compete with our seniors for once last time and put it all out on the line.