Auburn competed in the NCAA tournament Round of 16 this evening at Neville Arena. The competition was against Florida, Kentucky, and Denver. The top two scoring teams would advance to the National Championships in Fort Worth, TX starting April 14th. Auburn came into this round after advancing on Thursday.
In the first rotation, Auburn was on bars. Adeline Sabados scored a 9.850, Sophia Groth scored a 9.750, Cassie Stevens scored a 9.850, Aria Brusch scored a 9.850, Derrian Gobourne scored a 9.900, and Suni Lee scored a 9.725. Auburn had a score of 49.200 after the first rotation which had them in fourth place.
In the second rotation, Auburn was on beam. Sophia Groth recorded a 9.950, Cassie Stevens recorded a 9.900, Aria Brusch recorded a 9.875, Suni Lee recorded a perfect 10, Olivia Hollingsworth recorded a 9.850, and Gabby McLaughlin recorded a 9.900. Auburn scored a total of 49.625 points in the second rotation, bringing their total to 98.825.
In the third rotation, Auburn was on floor. Sophia Groth earned a 9.900, Cassie Stevens earned a 9.750, Aria Brusch earned a 9.850, Derrian Gobourne earned a 9.975, Suni Lee earned a 9.950, and Drew Watson earned a 9.825. Auburn scored 49.500 points in the third rotation, bringing their total to 148.325.
In the fourth rotation, Auburn was on vault. Sophia Groth received a 9.800, Cassie Stevens received a 9.900, Derrian Gobourne received a 9.850, Suni Lee received a 9.875, Drew Watson received a 9.975, Sara Hubbard received a 9.850. Auburn scored a total of 49.450 points, bringing their total to 197.775. That was enough for Auburn to move on.
Auburn had three athletes finish in the top 10 all-around. Cassie Stevens and Sophia Groth scored 39.400 each to tie for eighth place. Suni Lee placed fifth with 39.550 points. Trinity Thomas from Florida came in first with 39.900 points.
When talking about the contributions from the freshman on the team, Drew Watson said, “They aren’t freshman. They haven’t gone through that freshman phase.” She added, “It’s so special and we are so happy”. When asked about her thoughts on Suni Lee’s bounce back after kicking the bars, Derrian Gobourne said, “I just feel like she was ready to redeem herself. She wasn’t going to carry that with her.” She added, “I’m super proud of her for bouncing back like that.”
In his statement, Head Coach Jeff Graba said, “I’m proud of them, we started out in the hole, but they became themselves going to beam”. He added, “We have our work cut out for us but at least we’re going to Fort Worth”. Graba was asked if anything was said when the team was going to beam. He answered, “The last couple weeks we’ve had some struggles, but we’ve used it to try to educate them on how to pick themselves up”. He added, “They’ve done a good job with it”. He was also asked about how Sophia Groth’s performance on beam set the tone for the rest of the meet. He answered, “Sophia is phenomenal, and I think one of the best athletes in the country.”
Auburn will be back in action starting April 12th at Dickies Arena in Fort Worth, Texas. The Tigers will be one of eight teams competing.