April 28, 2014
Auburn Gymnastics' 2014 SEC award winners were honored on Saturday night. (A. Aaron photo)
AUBURN - After another season filled with record performances, Auburn gymnastics closed the fourth year of the Jeff Graba era with an end-of-season banquet and awards ceremony on Saturday in Auburn Arena.
"It was great to end a wonderful year with such a fantastic banquet,” Auburn gymnastics head coach Jeff Graba said. “We had nearly 100 in attendance as we celebrated many of the tremendous accomplishments of this year's team. The end of a season is always bittersweet but to wrap it up with friends, family and supporters is special to all of us and it gave me one more chance to express the tremendous pride we as a staff feel for this team."
As part of the event, the coaching staff recognized members of the SEC Honor Roll and Academic Top Tiger selections along with handing out several awards capped by the MVP award.
Sophomore Caitlin Atkinson took home MVP honors for the second consecutive season. Atkinson competed all-around in 10 meets, primarily in the anchor spot of the lineup. She posted scores of 9.9 or higher on all four events for the second-straight season and set a season high with an all-around total of 39.525 at Alabama.
Sophomore Kait Kluz was named “The Rock” as Auburn’s most consistent gymnast. Kluz was in the lineup on at least three events in all 12 meets in 2014, including her first career all-around appearance at Kentucky. She set career highs of 9.875 on vault and bars and 9.85 on floor as a sophomore.
Additionally, Kluz missed only two of 37 routines in 2014.
Sophomore Lexus Demers and redshirt freshman Kelsey Kopec split the Most Improved Gymnast award. After competing just seven routines as a freshman in 2013, Demers was a mainstay in 2014 competing three events in all 12 meets. After her 9.9 vault at Alabama, she has now scored 9.9 or higher on vault, beam and floor. She also set career highs of 9.925 on beam and floor as a sophomore.
Kopec came back from a redshirt season to become a constant on bars as a redshirt freshman in 2014 setting a career high with a 9.875 against Missouri. She also emerged in the vault lineup late in the season to fill a key role following the injury to Bri Guy.
Megan Walker was honored as the 2014 recipient of the Sarah Wentworth Award, presented annually to the Auburn gymnast who best exemplifies the Auburn Creed. Videographer Andrew Aaron was named 2014’s winner of the Ritenbaugh Award. Named for Auburn gymnastics supporter and Assistant Vice President for Auxiliary Services Bob Ritenbaugh, the award goes to an individual who goes above and beyond the gym and university to reach out to the community.
Junior Caryn Kadous received the distinction of Student-Athlete of the Year for earning a 3.77 cumulative GPA in exercise science.
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