The Auburn Tigers improved to 3-3 overall and 1-1 in the SEC last Friday night in a 197.175-196.125 win over the N.C. State Wolfpack. A tough challenge awaits the Tigers this week, however, as they head to Tuscaloosa to take on Alabama.
"Going to Alabama is never an easy task," head coach Jeff Graba said. "We need to get better at competing on the road in a hostile environment so no better way to do that than this Friday."
The Crimson Tide are 2-2 overall and 1-2 in the SEC. They are coming into this meet after taking a 197.825-197.325 loss to the Kentucky Wildcats on the road in Lexington last Friday night.
The Iron Bowl of Gymnastics has become one of the biggest rivalries in collegiate gymnastics, and Auburn is excited about the challenge.
"This is a special thing we get to be a part of," Graba said. "I think it's become one of the best rivalries in collegiate gymnastics. They're going to have a big crowd and it's going to be a big night for both programs."
“That was the goal when we got here. I mean, we wanted to make it a rivalry,” Graba said. “I really wanted it to be on the level of what we see with basketball and football and some of the other sports. So it's just it's rewarding that it's turned into that. And I think it's good for the sport.”
Lexi Graber is Alabama's highest scorer on vault so far this season with a 9.975. Luis Blanco is the highest scorer on bars and on beam for the Crimson Tide this season with a 9.975 in both. There is a four-way tie at 9.950 for Alabama's highest scorer on floor this season.
Auburn is confident in its position as one of the highest-ranked teams nationally and the Tigers are looking forward to proving why they belong there once again.
"If our team is having fun, we're really hard to beat," Graba said. "And that is the trick on the road. How do you have fun when everyone wants you to fail? The competition we've faced so far to this point has prepared us for this Friday."
The meet is set to get underway at 6:30 p.m. CT tomorrow night.