March 1, 2013
AUBURN - 11th-ranked Auburn gymnastics posted its sixth-consecutive score of 196.000 or better behind its single event season high score of 49.525 in floor exercise in a 196.825 - 195.300 win over No. 23 Maryland on Friday in Auburn Arena.
The total of 49.525 on floor is the second-highest total in program history behind only a 49.600 against Florida in 2004.
"I like the fact that we are fighters," Auburn head coach Jeff Graba said. "We went through some adversity early on and we were able to pull it together. I really like the fact that they finally woke up and did what they are capable of on the last two events. We got a good score out of the deal on a pretty mediocre night. This is what I've been telling the team all year, on a medium night, this is what you are capable of. We just have to start earlier next time."
Auburn led off on vault and posted a solid 49.100 behind a 9.900 from Bri Guy and a season-high 9.875 from Toi Garcia. Caitlin Atkinson added a 9.850 with her fifth-consecutive vault score of 9.850 or better.
The Tigers moved to uneven bars in the second rotation and posted a 48.950. Despite struggling on its first two routines, Auburn rallied and got strong performances from Abbey Habicht (9.800), Megan Walker (9.925, career high) and Petrina Yokay 9.875).
At the midway point of the meet, Auburn had scored 98.050 and needed a spark.
"The LSU meet was such a high for the team and there was a natural letdown," Graba said. "We didn't see it a whole lot in practice, but I was a little worried that they would come out a little flat. The adversity on bars was tough, but they rose to the challenge and that was the real wake up. They were doing an all right job, but they took care of business after bars."
In the third rotation that energy arrived and Auburn stretched its lead over the Terrapins substantially as it posted its sixth-consecutive beam score of 49.000 or higher this season with a 49.250. It also marked the Tigers' second-highest beam total of the season.
Walker and Atkinson led Auburn with scores of 9.900. It was a career high mark for Atkinson, who has now earned a 9.900 or better on all four events in her freshman season. Yokay and Caryn Kadous each added scores of 9.825.
With her performances on bars and beam, Walker recorded scores of 9.9 or higher in both events for the first time in her two-year career.
"I'm just glad that she is finally starting to get rewarded for what I think is some of the best gymnastics in the country," Graba said. "She's such a phenomenal athlete on those two events and I'm just so proud of her. She kept her head down and has really worked for the last year-and-a-half and now it's paying off."
The Tigers finished with their strongest single event of the season, posting a 49.525 on floor behind a career-high 9.950 from Atkinson and a 9.925 from Guy. The rotation also included career highs for Brittany Webster (9.900), Yokay (9.875) and Kadous (9.850).
Atkinson won her fourth all-around title of the season, posting a 39.475, while Yokay tied her all-around career high and finished second with a 39.325. Atkinson has now won four all-around titles in 2013.
Auburn is in action next on March 8 when it hosts Lindenwood in Auburn Arena for Senior Night. The meet is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.