Graba and Lane Honored, No. 15 Gymnastics Places 7th at SECs
March 24, 2012
DULUTH, Ga. – Auburn head coach Jeff Graba was named SEC Coach of the Year and senior Laura Lane earned her second-straight Scholar-Athlete of the Year Honor and No. 15 Auburn gymnastics recorded a total score of 194.100 and finished seventh at the 2012 SEC Gymnastics Championship at The Arena at the Gwinnett Center on Saturday.
“I like that fact that this great recognition comes from a group of people that I have great respect for,” Auburn head coach Jeff Graba said. “These are the top coaches in the country. The recognition means that the coaches in the league feel that we as a program are on the right path as well. Awards always mean more when it comes from your peers. They know what it is like to be a coach and for them to recognize your effort is one of the highest honors you can receive.”
The award comes in only Graba’s second season on The Plains. He split the award with Florida's Rhonda Faehn. Lane was also named Co-Scholar-Athlete of the Year in 2011. The senior is majoring in Actuarial Sciences.
Lane is the first gymnast in SEC history to win back-to-back scholar-athlete of the year awards. Auburn has now won the award three years in a row dating back to Krissy Voss in 2010.
“It is an honor to be recognized for the amount of work we put in as student-athletes,” Lane said. “For athletes, it takes discipline and time management. It’s an honor to be able to represent the SEC. It is really special to win this award twice. It is really nice to be recognized not once, but twice for continuing to put all that hard work in.”
The score of 194.100 was disappointing for the Tigers, who were averaging a total of 194.498 through 11 previous meets in 2012.
“We were tight and we were competing nervous,” Graba said. “We didn’t handle the pressure really well. We started out with one of our best vaults of the year and it looked like we just tightened up as the meet went along. I think our youth, with us having so many routines by young people played a role. They were affected by the format. It’s a long meet. It’s difficult for these guys to maintain throughout the meet. We were better than that. We went into the final rotation within reach of fourth. That’s what you go for. We just couldn’t close the door and seal the deal. We will go back to working hard tomorrow.”
Following vault the Tigers were once again on a bye before heading to uneven bars. Auburn closed strong on bars with the performances of a pair of seniors. A 9.8 from Sandusky and a 9.825 from Shields helped the Tigers record a total of 48.825.
Petrina Yokay got the balance beam lineup started strong with a 9.8 score. Identical 9.75 scores by Abbey Habicht and Megan Walker followed before Sandusky registered a 9.7. The Tigers posted a total score of 48.675 on the apparatus. Yokay’s total tied for eighth-best at the meet.
Guy posted the top score for Auburn on floor with a 9.9. Brittany Webster added a 9.7. Guy tied with five others for the second-best score on floor. The Tigers scored 47.700 as a team on floor exercise.
Florida squeaked out the overall SEC championships with a 49.375 on bars to pass Alabama (196.775) and Georgia (196.575). The Gators finished with a final total of 197.150.
LSU was fourth with a total of 196.425. Kentucky followed in fifth place with a total of 194.350 and Arkansas was sixth with a team event total of 194.175.
Auburn competes next on April 7 in NCAA Regional action at the Auburn Arena. Tickets are available now by calling 888-AUB-2010 or by visiting www.AUBTIX.com. Auburn’s opponents in the regional will be announced on Monday at 2 p.m. CT on NCAA.com.
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