Gymnastics Ready to Face Defending National Champs


Jan. 26, 2012

No. 16 Auburn  vs. No. 6 Alabama | Friday, 7 p.m. CT
Auburn, Ala. | Auburn Arena

Live Stats  | Live Video Auburn Notes | Alabama Notes | Parking

AUBURN – A week after posting its highest scores of the year against Georgia, No. 16 Auburn gymnastics is back in Auburn Arena on Friday night at 7 p.m. to host defending national champion No. 6 Alabama.

“I have a lot of respect for Alabama gymnastics,” Auburn head coach Jeff Graba said. “They are consistently near the top of the national rankings and are the defending national champs. I think this is another great opportunity for our young team to test themselves against a tremendous opponent.”

The Tigers (2-4) have had a solid week of practice as they continue to upgrade various parts of their routines and work toward developing additional depth.

“Practice has gone pretty well this week,” Graba said. “We have a young team and therefore we need to develop depth for the postseason. With this in mind, we are still trying to work on some upgrades and we have used this week to do just that. We will be moving our lineups around slightly with the intent of gaining more experience and possibly getting some of these upgrades competed Friday night. We are trying to keep our eye on the big picture and we definitely want to get experience for all of our young people on as many events as possible before midseason.”

Freshman Bri Guy is expected to compete all-around for the first time in 2012 as she joins senior Kylie Shields in the all-around competition. Guy set new career-high marks in vault, beam and floor last week against Georgia, and Shields picked up her first all-around title of the season versus the Gym Dogs.

Alabama enters the meet coming off a four-way meet victory last Saturday at Penn State. The Crimson Tide edged Penn State by .075 and they also picked up wins over Michigan State and Cornell.  Alabama junior Ashley Sledge is ranked No. 1 in the nation on the vault and tenth in the all-around.

“Our team is extremely excited to get back into the environment that our fans created for us last Friday night in Auburn Arena,” Graba said. “It was a phenomenal environment to compete in and our team is looking forward to hopefully topping last week. Hopefully, we will have another large crowd to help us compete against the defending national champs.” 

Friday night’s meet is the 113th all-time meeting between the in-state programs. The meet will air in a tape-delayed format on CSS on January 31 at 6 p.m. CT.

Live stats, live video and a live blog of the meet are available at the links above. Fans attending are encouraged to arrive early to avoid any delays due to construction on campus. For more information on event parking visit parking link above.