No. 14 Auburn opened up its 2021 season with a difficult opponent when they hosted No. 1 Florida on Friday.
Despite the meet taking place in Auburn Arena, Florida walked away with a 197.500-195.725 win against a youthful Auburn squad.
16 of the Tigers’ 24 routines came from sophomores or freshmen.
“It was a pretty good opening meet for us,” said head coach Jeff Graba. “We used quite a few people who didn’t compete last year on a handful of events. We got our feet wet and I felt like the team did a good job of handling some of the first-meet jitters.”
Auburn kicked its season off on the vault and walked away with a 49.100. Derrian Gobourne led the Tigers on vault with a 9.875, but not far behind was sophomore Adeline Sabados.
Sabados competed in vault for the first time in her career on Friday and finished with a 9.85. Cassie Stevens and Piper Smith scored a 9.8 each, and Drew Watson had a 9.775.
Following its work on vault, the Tigers’ second rotation was on bars, where they finished with a 49.000. Gobourne was a 2020 All-American in the event and had a strong showing to begin 2021.
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Gobourne captured the bars title with a 9.9, while Aria Brusch scored a 9.825. Rounding it out for the Tigers was Stevens scoring a 9.775 along with Anna Summer and Sabados with 9.75’s.
Not only did Gobourne capture the bars title, but she also took part in the all-around for the first time since the start of 2020. She finished with a 39.425, bars title and runner-up on floor.
“I just felt super grateful to be out there,” Gobourne said. “We didn’t even know if we were going to have a season or what it would look like. I was just really grateful to be out there doing the sport that we love.”
Stevens took part in the all-around as well, earning a 39.225.
Rotation three was on beam, and the Tigers scored a 48.975. Freshman Gabby McLaughlin was the standout on beam as she earned a 9.825.
Joining McLaughlin with identical scores were Brusch and Stevens. Watson led on beam for the Tigers scoring a 9.775, and Gobourne ended it for Auburn with a 9.75.
The fourth and final rotation was the floor where Gobourne was Auburn’s standout. She was not only the anchor but also led the Tigers with a 9.925.
Watson scored a 9.85, Stevens added in a 9.825 and freshman Olivia Hollingsworth earned a 9.75. The Tigers had to factor in a fall but finished the final rotation with a 48.650.
“It was our third-highest opening meet score in the history of Auburn,” Graba said. “And we gave away a little bit throughout the meet. I think we’re on track to compete with pretty much anyone in the country, but we definitely have some things to work on. I’m really excited to see what this season brings.”
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