Jan. 17, 2012
AUBURN – No. 20 Auburn Gymnastics heads home to Auburn Arena for the first time in 2012 and hosts No. 6 Georgia on Friday night as the rigorous early season schedule continues for the Tigers.
“This first SEC stretch is really supposed to prepare you,” Auburn head coach Jeff Graba said. “You’re running the gauntlet. Heck, we are going against everybody in the top ten. It’s good. Our girls will be probably dealing with the same amount of stress here as in an SEC Championship or a regional meet.”
The meet with Georgia begins a two-meet home stand which will also include a date with the 2011 national champion Alabama on January 27. Despite the tough start, Graba and his team are eager to test themselves against two of the top programs in college gymnastics.
“Georgia, and to another extent Alabama, those two teams have been winning national championships and we are just trying to get in to the conversation for that,” Graba said. “For us that’s good, that’s who we want to gauge ourselves against. I truly feel that if we are doing a good job, we can compete with anybody. So here’s our opportunity. Let’s go out there, let’s do a good job, and see where we end up. I think we are going to be in pretty good shape if the girls do what they are capable of.”
Despite a tough result on Friday night in Baton Rouge, Graba is seeing improvement in his team in the early parts of the season and took away several positives for the meet at LSU.
“The farther I get away from it, the more I feel like we are doing a relatively good job on the beam – we just had three falls,” he said. “It wasn’t like we were wobbling all over the place. We actually had some good beam sets going and we had put ourselves in a position to win the meet. If we did do a good job on the beam, we would have been right in the mix, so in that respect I feel like we were in a pretty good spot. The problem I have with it is that we just let an opportunity slip away.”
Auburn has already been on the road for two meets and with a highly-ranked program like Georgia coming in on Friday, Graba is excited for the meet the Auburn fans are in line for.
“I think the fans are going to see a really good meet. I think we are going to hit our stride,” Graba said. “They are going to see a lot of talent out there. They are going to see a lot of desire from us, and it is going to be a really good meet. It’s a chance for them to see one of the best events sports have to offer – an SEC gymnastics meet.”
Friday’s meet is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. reserved season tickets for 2012 are sold out, but general admission season tickets and single-meet tickets are still available. For more information, contact the Auburn Ticket Office via www.aubtix.com or calling 1-855-AUB-2010.