Freshman Bri Guy qualified at the regional held in Auburn with a 39.350 for the all-around individual competition qualifiers, and senior Kylie Shields qualified for the vault competition with a 9.925.
“Kylie was there last year so that helps her,” said coach Jeff Graba. “I think she was more excited to go with Bri than anything else, just because it’s going to be very important that Bri gets a good experience and goes through it, because our anticipation is we want to be there next year as a team. To have somebody go through it and be able to bring that experience next year is going to be pretty important.”
Guy and Shields have been hard at work since the team hosted the NCAA regionals.
“Well we are just going over routines, lots of numbers getting everything right in my hand,” Guy said. “Thank goodness I have Kylie to look out for me; she’s given me confidence and supports me.”
Shields looks to capitalize on her fifth place finish at the 2011 NCAA regional last season. She scored a career-best 9.850 on the floor during that meet.
“This year is a little different because I am going for one event,” Shields said. “It’s a quick event; I do some timers and then I do my one or two vaults. I actually don’t do it every day. With feet and ankle problems we are trying to not push it really hard. I vaulted today, so tomorrow I actually do some cardio and circuit to keep up my conditioning.”
Unlike the regular season, the NCAA competition floor will be podium style, meaning the competition surface will be elevated three feet.
“Luckily we are on podium again and we had it at SECs, so she already has a podium experience,” Shields said. “It is a really big difference not having a team there, but thankfully I will be there too, so she won’t be alone.
“She is an awesome gymnast; she doesn’t need a lot of encouragement or motivation. I think the big thing is to enjoy it take everything in so you know how to help the team next year. That’s the ultimate goal: representing Auburn.”
The team semifinal and all- around meets will be divided into two sessions starting Friday at noon, with the top four advancing to the Sunday semifinals.
Shields begins in the third vault rotation Friday.