March 14, 2011
AUBURN - The No. 22 Auburn gymnastics team defeated Southeast Missouri State, 195.625-192.250, on Friday in the Auburn Arena, as the Tigers wrapped up their regular season schedule. Auburn improved to 6-6 (2-4 SEC) while SEMO fell to 8-8 (5-2 MIC).
"Friday night I thought went pretty well for us," Auburn head coach Jeff Graba said. "We'd been on the road for six days out of the last eight, and we'd had three meets in eight days. We were a bit worried about how tired the girls were going to be, but they reacted really well, and we had a good night. Overall, we were very happy. We went 24-for-24 again, which was important for us, and we got a win. I feel like we're building and starting to click at the right time."
The Tigers had their second-highest score of the season behind a 195.925 against Pittsburgh, and they had four separate gymnasts take four of the five individual titles. Sophomore Toi Garcia earned her third vault title of the year after posting a 9.850, junior Allyson Sandusky grabbed her first bars title with a 9.825, junior Kylie Shields picked up her fourth beam title after scoring a 9.800, and senior Rachel Inniss earned her fifth floor title of the season with a 9.875.
"We're excited that we're getting good leadership out of some of the girls, as far as consistency goes," Graba said. "We try to tell the girls that it culminates in this. We tell them to go out and do their jobs every night and let the scores and the rankings take care of themselves."
The Tigers appear in this week's polls ranked No. 30 on vault, 21st on bars, 17th on beam and tied for 26th on floor. Shields enters the poll this week tied for 16th on beam nationally. This is her first time back in the Top 20 on beam since being ranked in the fourth and fifth weeks of the season. Inniss dropped three spots from last week and is tied for eighth on floor nationally. She has been ranked in the Top 20 on floor for eight-straight weeks.
"Rachel has been one of those girls that we can rely on," Graba said. "She's gone out and done a good job for us every night, and we've been able to rely on that routine. She's gone through the battles of injury, but I'm excited that she's being recognized for what she's capable of."
The Tigers return to action next Saturday, March 19, at the 2011 SEC Gymnastics Championship at the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex in Birmingham, Ala. The meet is set to begin at 4 p.m., and will be aired on a tape-delayed basis on Sunday, April 3, at 2 p.m. CT on ESPN2.