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Jan. 5, 2011
AUBURN, Ala.-- The thirteenth ranked Auburn women's gymnastics team heads to Ames, Iowa to open its season Friday night against No. 22 Iowa State at 7 p.m., at the Hilton Coliseum.
The Tigers have been preparing hard to get ready to open the season this weekend, and are hoping what they've seen in practice transfer to the competition floor.
"The main thing that all of us would like to see this weekend is some consistency," head coach Jeff Graba said. "We just want to be able to practice like we compete and to compete like we practice. What we'd like to see is them get out on the floor and it look a lot like practice, they're relaxed, yet still pretty focused."
This weekend's focus is on getting some early success to set the tone in the right direction for the rest of the season.
"What we are looking for right now is obviously first thing, stay healthy and make good choices," Graba added. "Other than that we want to gel together as a team and have a successful road meet, get out there and do a pretty good job to start the ball rolling in the right direction."
Auburn is aware that they won't have any easy meets this season, and recognizes the tough competition they will face against the Cyclones.
"Iowa state, they are pretty talented," Graba said. "They are a top 25 team. Everybody we go up against (this season) is going to be able to put up a good fight for us. We need to be able to stay within ourselves, and do our best job and see where the chips fall."
Seniors Lauren Brzostowski, Katie Hurley and Rachel Inniss will be looked upon to continue to lead the team, but other gymnasts, who may have not competed as much, will also be looked upon to take the fore front this weekend.
"When we go back to last year's roster there are about four or five that don't really have a lot of experience, they've been here, they've gone through the seasons, but they don't have a lot of experience competing, whether it's injury or line-up spots," Graba said. "What we are looking for from those guys is to see them trying to solidify what they will show every meet. We are going to have to rely not only on, Katie Hurley, Lauren (Brzostowski) and Rachel (Inness), but also the ones who have been injured in the past that now need to get out on the equipment."
Graba is in his first year as Auburn head coach after spending the past five seasons at Utah. While at Utah, he helped the Utes to three NCAA runner-up and one third place finish. Graba, who was the 2009 West Region Assistant Coach of the Year, coached two NCAA event champions and nine All-Americans that earned 20 All-America honors during his tenure at Utah.