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A spirit that is not afraid

Auburn triumphs Missouri in final home meet, scores 197.325

Cassie Stevens performing on beam in Neville Arena during Auburn's meet against Mizzou on February 23, 2024.
Cassie Stevens performing on beam in Neville Arena during Auburn's meet against Mizzou on February 23, 2024.

Auburn gymnastics delivered a strong performance in a tightly-contested matchup against the Missouri Tigers Friday night. Auburn broke away from a close score, making a comeback with its floor rotation and gaining a victory, earning a 197.325.

This meet held special significance for Auburn as it marked its final home appearance of the season, with a focus on honoring those affected by breast cancer.

Auburn Gymnastics team in Neville Arena during Senior Night match against Mizzou on February 23, 2024.

Auburn entered the competition on the heels of a challenging loss to LSU, where it earned an overall score of 197.100. Despite the setback, the Tigers achieved their highest road score of the season in the previous meet, making them determined to secure a victory in their final home event.

The meet began with Auburn finding itself slightly behind Missouri after the first rotation. Despite impressive vault performances from Sydney Schumacher and Olivia Hollingsworth, Auburn trailed Missouri by a small margin. Cassie Stevens emerged as a standout for Auburn, delivering a flawless routine that earned her a score of 9.9, contributing to Auburn's total score of 49.2 on the vault. 

Meanwhile, Missouri showcased its strength on the bars, with Sienna Schreiber standing out with a stellar performance and a score of 9.9, helping Missouri secure a slight lead of 0.025 points.

As the meet progressed into the second rotation, both teams continued to deliver strong performances, resulting in a deadlock tie. Auburn's Aria Brusch and Olivia Greaves impressed on the bars, each earning impressive scores of 9.9. Stevens once again demonstrated her consistency and skill, contributing a score of 9.85 to Auburn's total.

On the vault, Missouri matched Auburn's score, with Rayna Light and Jocelyn Moore leading the charge to maintain a 49.325 tie for the rotation, still maintaining a 0.2 lead overall with a 98.550.

Auburn entered the third rotation determined to narrow the gap. Paige Zancan started strong on the beam, earning a 9.850. Brusch followed up this impressive performance and despite losing balance, recovered to earn a 9.75. Although Missouri started in the lead, Auburn rallied behind standout performances from Hollingsworth, Sophia Groth and Stevens, all earning scores of 9.9 or higher. 

Their collective effort helped Auburn deliver a stellar performance on the beam, matching Missouri's impressive floor routine that earned a 49.475. However this still kept the Auburn Tigers 0.1 behind overall, keeping the competition neck and neck.

In the meet’s final rotation, Auburn found itself trailing behind by a narrow margin. However, the team refused to back down, mounting a comeback with the floor routines. Led by Hannah Hagle and Groth, Auburn delivered a series of flawless routines, with Stevens once again shining with a stellar score of 9.95. Simultaneously, Missouri struggled on the beam, allowing Auburn to close the gap and secure a close victory.

Auburn's perseverance helped the Tigers achieve a comeback and emerge triumphant on their Senior Night with a total score of 197.325, narrowly edging out Missouri's 197. 

“It’s just a testament to our toughness and our mentality,” Stevens said. “No matter what happens in the beginning we are good at turning the page and knowing we can do great things on whatever the last event is and I think that is really gonna come in handy for us in the postseason.”

Stevens ended this meet with a career-high on the floor after winning four event titles. 

She expressed gratitude towards her team and the supportive environment.

"This is the culmination of five years of nothing but love and support from the people in this building," Stevens said.

Hollingsworth also ended her career on a high note this meet, earning a 10 from the judges.

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“I was in shock.” Hollingsworth said, “Finally I just felt like all my hard work paid off and to see that 10, I was so excited.”

The Auburn Tigers will face the Georgia Bulldogs in Athens on Friday, March 1st at 6 p.m. CST and will be televised on the SEC network.

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