Jan. 28, 2013
AUBURN – With more than a third of the 2013 regular season already completed, No. 17 Auburn gymnastics survived a January filled with lots of ups and downs.
“I think that we’ve been dealing with a lot of adversity all through January with sickness, injury and lineup changes,” Auburn gymnastics head coach Jeff Graba said. “On top of that, all the youth has had to grow. In the long run, it’s really helped the team become tougher. We are going to come out of this thing as a really tough team, but going through the process isn’t a lot of fun though.”
After enduring back-to-back road meets, Auburn will close out a three week stretch of meets away from Auburn Arena on Friday at Missouri. That match will lead into meets with Top 25 opponents Arkansas, Alabama and LSU.
Graba believes Friday’s meet at Florida was another big step for his team.
“I saw another growth step at Florida,” Graba said. “We only used eight girls. We had something new on each event, whether that was a new leadoff kid or a new routine. It really didn’t throw any monkey wrenches in it. That is what we’ve been shooting for. I took that as a real positive, not only did we go 24-for-24, but we looked better.”
Two of those changes were freshman Lexus Demers competing in three events and Petrina Yokay competing all-around for the first time since last season.
“The fact that we got Lexus [Demers] in on three events and Petrina [Yokay] into the all-around is really beneficial for us,” Graba said. “We needed to find out what they could do on those events and having [Kait] Kluz out gave them an opportunity to show what they could do. It gives us more scoring potential, we just have to manage it and make sure we don’t push anyone too hard or too quickly. It does give us more options, so that by mid-February we will know our highest potential scoring lineup and then we can move forward.”
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