April 2, 2007
AUBURN, Ala. -
For the 15th time in school history and for the fifth straight year, the Auburn gymnastics team has been selected to compete at the NCAA Regionals. In an official announcement Monday afternoon, the Tigers were selected as the No. 3 seed in the Southeast Regional, which will be held in Morgantown, W.V., on April 14 at 5 p.m. CT.
Joining the 17th-ranked Tigers at the Southeast Regional as the top seed is SEC foe, No. 5 LSU. Eighth ranked UCLA will be the two seed, while No. 22 NC State earned the fourth seed. Host West Virginia, ranked 24th, will be the five seed, while No. 30 North Carolina earned the sixth seed.
"We are excited to be going to Morgantown," head coach Jeff Thompson said. "We have competed really well there in the past. It's a fun place and easy to get to, plus it is just one time-zone away."
The Northeast Regional is one of six regionals comprised of six teams that are all vying for the coveted 12 spots at the NCAA Championships, which will take place from April 26-28 in Salt Lake City, Utah. In addition to the six teams, each regional also has five all-around competitors, who are not on a qualifying team, and one individual event specialist per event (who has a minimum Regional Qualifying Score of 9.4).
From each regional, the top two teams and the top two all-around competitors, who are not on an advancing team, will receive an automatic berth to the national championships. Event winners, whose teams do not advance, will also advance to the championships.
"We are going to have our work cut out for us," Thompson said. "Not only from the standpoint of upsetting LSU or UCLA, but also in trying to fend off NC State and West Virginia."
Auburn will open the meet with a bye before floor for the second straight year in the first of six rotations. In the second rotation, Auburn will compete in its first event of the evening on floor. In the third rotation, the Tigers will compete on vault before having their second bye in the fourth rotation. To conclude the meet, Auburn will compete on bars and beam in the fifth and sixth rotation, respectively.
"We get to finish on beam, which has been one of our strongest events all year," Thompson said. "We will know what LSU and UCLA have as a final team score and what we need to record to beat them before competing on beam."
The Tigers are bidding for their fifth appearance at the NCAA Championships and first since 2003. Auburn placed third at the 2006 NCAA Northeast Regional in Ann Arbor, Mich., with a 193.050.
Fans looking to attend the meet should visit http://www.msnsportsnet.com/ncaa_gymnastics/ncaa.html. Live scoring of the meet will also be available on www.auburntigers.com.