March 26, 2012
AUBURN - No. 18 Auburn gymnastics will compete in the postseason for the 10th straight season when it hosts the NCAA Auburn Regional on April 7 in the Auburn Arena.
“[The selections] played out a little how we thought,” Auburn head coach and SEC Coach of the Year Jeff Graba said. “We expected to face the six and seven, so we got what we thought was coming to us. The teams in the four, five and six spots were a little bit of a surprise to us.”
The Tigers will welcome SEC foe and regional top seed and sixth-ranked Georgia along with number two seed and seventh-ranked Oregon State. Additionally, No. 21 Michigan, West Virginia and Michigan State will compete in the six-team event where the top two finishers advance to the NCAA Championship meet in Duluth, Ga. on April 21.
Individuals from Bowling Green, Western Michigan and Ball State will also compete in the Auburn Regional.
“Georgia is obviously a team we get to see,” Graba said. “We know what they are about. They’ve won 10 national championships and are a juggernaut in this sport. Oregon State has been a mainstay at nationals. They have a really good program. They are well coached. Michigan made the Super Six last year. We know they are well coached and will bring a good group. We know we have our work cut out for us to stay in the top four.”
This year’s regional will be the first NCAA gymnastics championship competition in the Auburn Arena. Auburn last hosted NCAA competition when it put on the national championship meet in 2006 in Beard-Eaves-Memorial Coliseum.
Graba is excited to be hosting in Auburn and excited for the chance to compete in front of the home fans again in 2012.
“There are advantages and disadvantages to hosting,” Graba said. “I like it because we already have a recipe for home meets. We get to stick to that a little bit. The girls get to stay in their own beds and that type of thing. You are at home, so you have a lot more distractions than you do when you are on the road, so you have to balance that. I think the good out-weighs the bad. I’d rather be at home and hosting on our equipment in our arena. I also love the fact that it’s in the new arena and everyone will get to see what we see every home meet.
“I think our girls love the fact that our fans show up for our meets. That’s why we’ve been so good at home. I fully expect that we will have a good crowd that will be supportive of us and pretty wild. That will only help our team.”
Auburn is seeking its first berth in the national championship meet since 2003. The Tigers haven’t missed NCAA gymnastics regional competition since 2002.
Tickets for the meet are available now by calling 855-AUB-2010 or by visiting www. AUBTIX.com. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children and students with a valid student ID of any participating university.