Coming off a win in their first home meet against Arkansas, the No. 5 Auburn Tigers are once again in The Jungle as they host the No. 20 North Carolina State Wolfpack.
The Wolfpack will be confident going into Neville Arena after a strong showing against George Washington and Pitt in a tri-meet. NC State had its best meet of the season with a 196.650, posting season-high scores in vault, bars and beam. Senior Chloe Negrete won three event titles in vault, beam and floor, scoring 9.9 in all three events. Fellow senior Emily Shepard achieved an all-around score of 39.250, second highest for the tri-meet.
The Wolfpack is averaging 196.180 points per meet, while the Tigers are averaging 197.350. NC State has seen the most team consistency on the bars this season with a high of 49.125 and 9.800 performances from sophomore Peyton Childs in all three meets. NC State will need to elevate its performances in all four events if it hopes to defeat its higher-ranked opponent.
NC State ranked No. 26 in week three last season and has shown improvement this year by breaking into the top 20. This will be yet another top-25 matchup for the Tigers and the Wolfpack’s first SEC opponent this season.
“NC State has a shot at coming in here and knocking off an SEC team, they're going to give us their best shot,” said head coach Jeff Graba. “If we let that get to us then we're gonna have trouble, so we've got to stay focused on what we can control and that's really what we're doing.”
Focus shouldn’t be an issue for the Tigers. Sophomore Suni Lee could take the nation’s highest all-around average score with another strong performance, and fifth-year senior Derrian Gobourne is poised to score 9.95 on the floor for a third straight week.
Auburn fans should be out in full force again for the meet, showing the support that the Tigers love to see.
“The energy was great,” said senior Cassie Stevens. “It's encouraging to us just knowing that we have that kind of support from our fans and that they're there for us no matter what and that we're one of those top-tier sports where people will wait in line to come watch us.”
The Tigers will once again defend The Jungle in front of 9,121 fans in Neville Arena as the Wolfpack seeks to steal a road win and a victory over a top-five opponent.
The meet begins at 7 p.m. CST in Neville Arena and is available for streaming on the SEC Network+.
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Jack Fawcett is a sports production major from San Diego, California. He started with The Plainsman in January 2023.