Auburn gymnasts happy with road to NCAA Championships
April 6, 2015

KaitKluz
Auburn's Kait Kluz celebrates after the vault in NCAA Regional


By Charles Goldberg
AuburnTigers.com

AUBURN, Ala. -- The journey is almost complete. Senior Megan Walker and Auburn qualified Saturday night for the NCAA gymnastics championships in Fort Worth, and the veteran Tigers say they're ready.

"It's the culmination of the whole four years," Walker says. "Our class came in and we were like 'We're going to make nationals every year. We're going to change Auburn gymnastics.' But that's not how this process works. It's a little bit of change every single year, and to finally have it happen, to start the legacy, it's exciting."

Auburn qualified for the nationals for the fourth time in school history Saturday night by finishing second to Alabama in an NCAA Regional in Auburn Arena. There will be more familiar SEC faces at the NCAA Championships. LSU, Florida and Georgia also qualified, along with Oklahoma, Utah, UCLA, Michigan, Oregon State, Nebraska and Stanford. The championship event is April 17-19.

Caitlin Atkinson knows the routine. She's been to the NCAA championships. But that was in 2013 when she and Bri Guy qualified as individual competitors.

"It was great, but my team wasn't there. I'm real excited to share this experience with my team," Atkinson said.

Auburn has enjoyed a successful season, but coach Jeff Graba said the test of the season came Saturday night.

"We tried to mask it the best we could, but the whole year would have been a failure if hadn't made this," Graba said. "It's hard to say it that way because we've broken so many records, but this is how this team would have reacted."

Now that Auburn has qualified for the nationals, Graba said the Tigers will have "some fun with it."

Walker says Auburn has made a statement.

"This is the beginning of a new era for Auburn and our team," she said.

Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter:

 

 

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