After a stellar club career, Makarri Doggette made an immediate impact with the University of Alabama women's gymnastics team this past winter.
A 2019 graduate of Pickerington Central, Doggette completed her freshman season with the Crimson Tide in March, earning All-American recognition on uneven bars.
"That was a nice surprise," said Doggette, an all-around gymnast. "I've always been more of a floor (exercise) and vault girl, so when I got All-American for bars, it was nice to know that all the hard work I put in is showing and I'm very grateful for that opportunity."
Doggette finished the season with a 9.905 national-qualifying score on bars and was named a second-team All-American by the Women's Collegiate Gymnastics Association. She is the first Alabama freshman to earn All-America honors since 2015.
The NCAA regional championship meets, which were to be held April 2-4 at four locations, and the national championship meet, which was scheduled for April 17 and 18 in Fort Worth, Texas, were canceled because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
The Southeastern Conference championships, slated for March 21 in Duluth, Georgia, also were canceled. Alabama had finished third in the conference meet in 2019, behind champion LSU and Florida.
"We're so very proud of Makarri and all she accomplished during a stellar freshman season," Crimson Tide coach Dana Duckworth said. "She was at her best in the biggest meets and we were all looking forward to seeing what she would do at the championship meets, but I know this is just the start to an amazing career."
Doggette led Alabama on bars seven times, including four wins on the event, and was named SEC Specialist of the Week on Jan. 21.
"I had a tight team and coaches behind me that made everything possible for me, and with all the hard work that we all put in, the season was going to be the best one yet," Doggette said. "We proved that with what we did as a team and I'm just very happy that I was part of it."
Duckworth was impressed with Doggette's commitment to the team.
"One of the highlights for me was seeing how much she excelled in a team environment," Duckworth said. "She truly understood the meaning of 'for her' and every routine was done for something bigger than herself and you could see that through her smile and her passion. We can't wait for that feeling again."
Doggette began competing for Buckeye Gymnastics in Westerville at age 5 and earned numerous national awards with the club.
She won USA Junior Olympic national titles in the all-around and all four individual events in 2018, becoming just the second gymnast in history to win all four individual events and the all-around at the Junior Olympic national championships in the same year.
In 2017, Doggette won Junior Olympic national titles in the all-around, floor and vault. She also won the senior all-around title in the Nastia Liukin Cup in 2019.
"Buckeye Gymnastics is so proud of Makarri's accomplishments during her freshman year at Alabama," Buckeye Gymnastics coach Kittia Carpenter said. "She made an immediate impact. I knew Makarri's talent and competitive drive would land her at the top quickly in her NCAA debut. Makarri has thoroughly enjoyed the events that accompany college competitions, such as flying in the university private jet, competing in sold-out arenas and having family immediately surrounding her after each event."
Doggette's family has a strong athletic background, as her mother, Becky, and older sister, Brooklyn, both were collegiate gymnasts at West Virginia. Becky currently is a coach at Buckeye Gymnastics.
"It's hard to do college gymnastics to begin with, but to have my sister and my mom to look up to, and to always have that goal in mind and to have it finally come true is a blessing," Doggette said. "I'm very excited, and to have them by my side and to know that they went through the same things and that I can just ask them any question, it's very nice to have those people behind me."
Doggette's brother, C.J., is a sophomore fullback and defensive tackle for the Central football team and already has received several college offers, and her younger sister, Jayla, is a former gymnast who competes in track and field and is a cheerleader at Central.
Her father, Cecil, played football at West Virginia and is a former practice squad member for the NFL's Buffalo Bills, Dallas Cowboys, New York Jets and San Diego Chargers. He also played in the World Football League and for the Columbus Destroyers, Arizona Rattlers and Grand Rapids Rampage in the Arena Football League.
Doggette will be joined at Alabama this fall by another Buckeye Gymnastics standout in Shania Adams, a senior at Dublin Jerome.
"We are excited to see Makarri continue her NCAA career alongside another Buckeye gymnast, Shania Adams, who just signed her national letter of intent to attend Alabama," Carpenter said.