March 20, 2010
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The No. 17 Auburn gymnastics team (6-6, 2-4 SEC) participated in its first four-way meet of the season Saturday afternoon at the Comcast Center Pavilion, defeating No. 33 Maryland, No. 56 George Washington and No. 62 Yale with its third-highest team score of the season with a 196.225.
"I am really proud of the girls," said head coach Jeff Thompson.
"Our goal was to come up here and basically focus on ourselves. The unwritten goal was to hit every routine. The thing I'm most proud of was starting out on beam and doing great bar routines."
The four-way meet began with the Tigers starting on their strongest event, beam. Following a pair of 9.675's from juniors Lauren Brzostowski and Katie Hurley, senior Krissy Voss scored a 9.750. Rachel Inniss broke the 9.8 plateau for the third-straight meet with a score of 9.825 in the fifth spot, while sophomore Kylie Shields scored 9.85 as the anchor to give the Tigers an event score of 48.775.
After rotation one, Auburn was in second place behind Maryland, who scored a 48.825 on vault. Yale tallied a 48.325 on floor, followed by George Washington's 47.325 on bars.
Auburn then moved to the floor, an event the Tigers had struggled on much of the season. However, Saturday was different as four Tigers eclipsed the 9.8 mark. Freshman Toi Garcia and Inniss scored 9.85's, while Voss chipped in a 9.825.Shields followed with a 9.8 to give the Tigers their second-highest floor score of the season with a 49.075.
After the superb floor performance, Auburn took the lead with a 97.950 heading into rotation three. Maryland trailed with a total score of 97.750, while the Bulldogs (95.550) and Colonials (95.025) were third and fourth, respectively.
On vault in rotation three, sophomore Justine Foster returned to action after a three-week layoff in a big way and tied a season-high with a 9.9 in the anchor position. Her performance gave Auburn a share of the individual title on the apparatus. Garcia continued her solid homecoming meet with a 9.775 to give the Tigers an event score of 48.825.
In the team race after three rotations, Maryland cut down on the Tigers lead to .075 after recording a 48.950 on beam, trailing 146.775-146.700. George Washington was third with a 143.900 and Yale was in fourth with a 142.000.
Auburn tallied a 49.450 on bars in the final rotation of the day, seeing the squad record the second-highest mark in school history and the highest score in the event since 2003. Petrina Yokay turned in a special performance for the Tigers, as judge one gave the freshman a perfect 10.000 and judge two handed out a 9.9. The score of 9.95 gave Yokay a career-high and Auburn season-best score. Sandusky added another 9.95 on the anchor position for Auburn. The two performances were good for Yokay's third bars title of the season, while it was Sandusky's fourth.
Voss led off with a 9.825 and was followed by senior Carmen Nelms with a 9.85 and Shields marked a 9.875. Sophomore Kendall Swartz recorded a 9.8 and Sandusky capped off the valiant team performance with another 9.95. For the first time this season, all-six Auburn bar competitors scored at least a 9.8.
"We did a great job on floor as well as vault. We went to bars and stuck five out of six dismounts on bars, great bar routines, for the second-highest score in school history. We held on to our lead and came away with three wins. It was a great end to a great trip for us," said Thompson.
Saturday's meet marks the final regular season meet for the Tigers, as the best gymnasts in the country will be showcased in Jacksonville, Fla., on March 27 at the 2010 SEC Championships. The meet is slated to begin at 3:05 p.m. CT, and will take place at Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Tickets are $13 for adults and $8 for children, and can be purchased via TicketMaster.com, or can be via phone at (904) 630-3900.