In a competitive quad meet Sunday in New Hampshire, No. 15 Auburn finished second falling just 0.75 points short of Rutgers. Auburn finished with a 195.825.
“The big part of this meet was getting ready for the postseason and the pace of a quad meet. I'm walking away thinking we're in a good spot right now," said head coach Jeff Graba.
The Tigers did not come away with the victory in the meet, but the important thing for Auburn was looking comfortable in the quad meet format. While not everything was perfect, the Tigers looked like they have the pieces to be successful in the postseason.
It was a solid start for the Tigers as they took a lead in the first rotation with a score of 49.225. The 49.225 was .0.08 points better than Auburn’s average score on bars and it got the team rolling in the right direction to start the meet.
Junior Drew Watson tied her season-high with a 9.85, but Auburn received a huge contribution from Derrian Gobourne. Gobourne started off the quad meet with a 9.9 on the bars after an impressive high-flying routine. Gobourne’s score helped the Tigers grab the lead after the first rotation.
Auburn had a clean second rotation on beam scoring a 48.900. That score was good enough for the Tigers to hold a 0.325-point lead over second-place New Hampshire after two rotations.
Senior Emma Slappey tied her career-high with a 9.875. The Jacksonville, Florida, native has been a consistent performer for Auburn on beam this season.
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The third rotation put the Tigers on the floor and Gobourne continued to be a catalyst for Auburn. Gobourne went last in the lineup and closed the rotation out with a 9.85. That score was good enough to earn Gobourne a tie for first place in the event with Rutgers’ Belle Huang.
"There were some real bright spots today," Graba said.
Aria Brusch manufactured a 9.8 and Cassie Stevens put up a 9.775 to help Auburn hold onto its lead at 146.950 after three rotations. The Tigers lead the entire meet, but a late push from Rutgers had the Scarlet Knights only 0.3 points back heading into the final rotation.
Once again Gobourne shined in the fourth rotation winning the vault event with a score of 9.9. It was a day Gobourne could be proud of and a perfect way for her to build momentum for the postseason.
While Jada Glenn was able to score a 9.8, the rest of the Tigers did not bring their usual energy on vault. Auburn ranks 8th nationally in the vault averaging a 49.225, but on Sunday the team could only put together a 48.875.
Coach Graba explained while he still gives his team credit for competing hard with conditions not being in the team’s favor.
"I thought the team did a good job with the elements between competing on an ice rink and dealing with daylight savings on top of traveling as far as we did,” Graba said.
While Auburn was unable to close the meet out on vault, it is their strongest event, and the lead the team had after three rotations is something to build on.
The Tigers will travel to Birmingham on Friday to face No. 8 Alabama in the Elevate the Stage event at 7 p.m. CST. Auburn beat Alabama 196.625-196.025 in its last matchup on Jan. 10.
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