Kylie Shields Heads To NCAA Gymnastics Championships
April 14, 2011
AUBURN - Auburn junior Kylie Shields qualified to compete in the all-around at the NCAA Championships in Cleveland, Ohio, after tallying a 39.250 in only her third all-around meet of the season at the Tuscaloosa NCAA Regional on April 2. Shields will be the only Auburn gymnast represented at nationals and will rotate with the University of Michigan in the first session at 12 p.m. CT on Friday.
"I think the way we are approaching this is that she gets to go through this process and since she is a junior, she will get to bring back a lot of the preparation that goes on," Auburn head coach Jeff Graba said. "The fact that she is in the all-around helps because she is going to be preparing for all the events, and she can bring that knowledge back and help our team next year prepare for it.
"It is difficult going as an individual. You have to rotate with another team. You don't have a lot of support with you, and for the most part, it is not nearly the experience that going with a team is. I guess we are going to do the best that we can and see where she ends up. Still it's a great opportunity, and she needs to make the most of it."
Last season, Shields lost a tiebreaker to Brianna Artemev from Denver, who advanced on to the championship with a score of 39.200. This season, even though Shields is going as an individual qualifier, she plans on using the knowledge she gains to help her team next season.
"I'm going to miss my team while I'm there, but I'm going to represent Auburn University the best I can and bring back my experience to get next year's team ready to be nationals bound," Shields said.
"This has been my goal since freshman year, and it was so upsetting when I narrowly missed it in a tiebreaker last year. Especially starting off this year with a stress fracture and having it nag at me all season, I really didn't expect much from myself. I pushed every day though, and I achieved my goal which is an amazing feeling."
Shields is the second-consecutive Auburn individual qualifier to head to nationals. Rachel Inniss qualified on the floor exercise last year and was the first Auburn gymnast since Julie Dwyer in 2008. Lindsey Puckett qualified prior to Inniss in an individual event in 2006, as she tied for 31st on vault. Shields is the 15th gymnast in program history to qualify for the all-around. Dwyer placed ninth in the all-around in 2008.
The top four individuals from each session in each event (plus ties) from the preliminary team and all-around competition will compete in the individual-event competition on Sunday at 1 p.m. CT.
Visit the NCAA Gymnastics Championship website at http://www.ncaa.com/championships/gymnastics-women/d1.
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