Feb. 13, 2013
TUSCALOOSA - No. 15 Auburn gymnastics renews its in-state rivalry with the defending national champion No. 5 Alabama on Friday in Coleman Coliseum at 7:30 p.m.
"The in-state rivalry is really an exciting event," Auburn head coach Jeff Graba said. "This matchup typically packs the house wherever it is held. The atmosphere is electric and the athletes and fans are on the edge of their seats throughout the whole meet. I think the meet with Alabama is just a phenomenal event no matter who is hosting."
Last season, Auburn narrowly fell to the eventual national champions 196.325-196.250 in front of a program record 7,299 fans in Auburn Arena.
Graba's team is hoping to continue a stretch of three-straight scores of 196.000 or higher, a feat that hasn't been accomplished since 2009.
"Our young team has turned into a bit of a veteran team after such a grueling start to the season," the third-year coach said. "I think the last few weeks of success are a reflection of not only that fact, but also it shows that we have depth and are getting a bit healthier each week. This team has done a great job of keeping its head down and doing what is necessary to improve each week. That dedication has led to success the last few weeks and our goal is to keep working hard to continue to improve as we approach the second half of the season."
Despite Auburn's recent scoring success, Graba knows the Tigers are facing a talented team on Friday, but he relishes the opportunity to see how his squad stacks up.
"Facing the two-time defending national champs is a great opportunity for us to measure ourselves against a top-notch team," Graba said. "We feel that when we are on our game that we can compete with anyone in the country. We are approaching this Friday as simply that, another opportunity to measure ourselves against the one of the nation's best teams. We will be in front of a lot of people, under a tremendous amount of pressure, and I am excited to see how our young team handles itself. It should be a great event."
Live scoring and a free radio broadcast are available at the links above. For the latest on Auburn gymnastics, follow @AUGymnastics on Twitter.