AUBURN, Ala. -- The No. 16 Auburn gymnastics team takes to the road for the first time in SEC competition, taking on rival Georgia in Stegeman Coliseum, Jan. 19. The Tigers and Bulldogs will go head-to-head at 6 p.m. CT on SEC Network+.
"We are going in knowing that we're competing in a challenging environment," head coach Jeff Graba said. "We'll be up against a perennial powerhouse with a new coaching staff. We've talked a lot this week about making our energy portable so we'll need to keep our heads down and just do our job. Georgia is a fun, but tough place to compete so it'll be a good test for this squad Friday."
IN THE RANKINGS
Following a 196.625 to kick off the home schedule, Auburn moved up to No. 16 on the RoadtoNationals.com weekly rankings list with an average of 195.288.
LSU remains in the top spot, while Utah holds at No. 2. Michigan and UCLA are third and fourth, while Kentucky and Florida are tied for fifth. Alabama and Arkansas are in the Top 10 as well with Missouri coming at No. 24 and Georgia at 28th.
The Tigers are tied for 13th on both vault and beam and are 18th on bars.
The Georgia Bulldogs are led by first-year head coach Courtney Kupets Carter and stand at 28th on the RoadtoNationals.com rankings list with a 0-2 mark early on the season. The squad is coming off a pair of losses Friday and Monday as they opened the season at then-No. 4 Alabama, 196.525-194.525. The Bulldogs kicked their home slate hosting defending national champion Oklahoma Monday afternoon. The Sooners captured the meet with a 197.550-196.600 win.
Sophomore Rachel Dickson captured the all-around vs. Oklahoma with a 39.500, while junior Sydney Snead finished with a 39.350.
AUBURN/GEORGIA SERIES HISTORY
The Bulldogs held the advantage throughout most of the series history as UGA stands at 79-7 vs. Auburn. However, the Tigers have found the upper hand recently, holding a 4-3 record vs. the Bulldogs over the last three seasons.
Auburn hosted Georgia in Auburn Arena in 2017 regular season meeting. The Bulldogs came away with a 196.800-196.075 victory. UGA also bested the Tigers at the SEC Championship to finish fourth with a 196.700.
AUBURN LINEUP VS. GEORGIA
Depth is the name of the game for the Tigers in 2018 as each event is expected to be at least 10 gymnasts deep. The tentative lineup for Friday's meet features five juniors, three sophomores, and five freshmen. (Lineups are subject to change prior to the meet)
Being on the road, the Tigers will start on bars in the first rotation. Sophomore Katie Becker kicks off the event with freshman Drew Watson following. Sophomore Kendal Moss is set to go third after recording a career-best 9.9 vs. Missouri last week. Classmate Gracie Day follows with juniors Samantha Cerio and Abby Milliet capping the event. Cerio is in the Top 10 nationally with a 9.9 average.
Auburn then heads to vault for rotation two and will feature two freshmen, two juniors, and two sophomores. Watson, Day, and freshman Jada Glenn highlight the crew as the trio are capable to put together three-straight 10.0 vaults for the Tigers. Becker will once again lead off for AU with juniors A'Miracal Phillips and Taylor Krippner following.
Rotation three puts the Tigers on floor where freshman Ashley Smith is set to lead off. Junior transfer Skyler Sheppard makes her Tiger debut in the second slot, while Cerio holds down the third. Day is fourth after recording a career-high 9.9 vs. Missouri, winning the event title. Redshirt sophomore Emma Slappey and Milliet close out the rotation for AU.
The Tigers close out the evening on beam and have a pair of freshmen lead off in Allie Riddle and Meredith Sylvia. The start for Sylvia her first of the year. Cerio and Slappey follow before Milliet goes is slot five after reaching a career-high 9.925 vs. Mizzou. Krippner anchors the squad with the final routine of the night.
Auburn kicks off a two-week homestand next Friday, Jan. 26, hosting No. 5 Kentucky. The Tigers and the Wildcats will face off at 7:30 p.m. CT and the meet will be broadcast on SEC Network.
|Auburn's Projected Lineup|
|1. Katie Becker||1. Katie Becker||1. Allie Riddle||1. Ashley Smith|
|2. A'Miracal Phillips||2. Drew Watson||2. Meredith Sylvia||2. Skyler Sheppard|
|3. Taylor Krippner||3. Kendal Moss||3. Samantha Cerio||3. Samantha Cerio|
|4. Drew Watson||4. Gracie Day||4. Emma Slappey||4. Gracie Day|
|5. Gracie Day||5. Samantha Cerio||5. Abby Milliet||5. Emma Slappey|
|6. Jada Glenn||6. Abby Milliet||6. Taylor Krippner||6. Abby Milliet|
|Alt: Ashley Smith||Alt: Ashley Smith||Alt: Katie Becker||Alt: Katie Becker|