On Friday night, the No. 13 Auburn gymnastics team faced a formidable challenge against host No. 4 Arkansas at Barnhill Arena. Despite a commendable score of 196.675, Auburn fell short against the Razorbacks, who finished with an impressive 197.225.
Auburn head coach Jeff Graba acknowledged the tough competition and commended his team's resilience, emphasizing the importance of having every member ready for competition on any given night.
“It was a tough environment tonight against a really good team in Arkansas,” Graba said. “We are seeing some bright moments for the squad, but we’re at the point where we need to have everyone ready to compete on any given night.”
Auburn secured victories in four of the five individual titles. Cassie Stevens, in her fifth year, claimed the all-around title with a score of 39.475. Stevens shared the vault crown with freshman Julianne Huff and won the floor title outright. Additionally, senior Gabby McLaughlin secured a share of the bars title.
“These are the positives we can take away,” Graba said. “There were bright spots that I’m really happy with. I’m hoping we can build off of these moments as we get ready for another competition next week at home.”
Coach Graba reflected on the positive aspects of the performance, expressing satisfaction with the team's bright moments and expressing hope for building on these successes in preparation for the upcoming home competition.
In the third rotation, Auburn showcased its strength on the floor, earning an overall score of 49.325. McLaughlin led the team with a solid 9.9, marking her third consecutive 9.9 or higher in the event. Other team members, including Olivia Hollingsworth, Aria Brusch, Sophia Groth, and Stevens, contributed with impressive scores.
In the second rotation on vault, Auburn achieved a team score of 49.275, with Huff and Stevens each scoring 9.9 to share the vault title. Huff's performance marked a career-best. The team showcased its depth, with Sara Hubbard tying her season best at 9.875, and strong contributions from Groth and Hollingsworth.
The final rotation featured Auburn on beam, scoring 49.200. Stevens claimed the event title with a season-best 9.9, while McLaughlin and Hollingsworth posted solid scores of 9.875. Contributions from Brusch and freshman Paige Zancan rounded out the team score.
The meet kicked off with Auburn on bars, earning a score of 48.875. McLaughlin stood out with a career-best 9.9, sharing the title with her performance. Hollingsworth, Stevens, Brusch, and Groth also posted counted scores for the team.
Looking ahead, the Tigers are set to return to Neville Arena for a quad meet on February 2, where they will host Temple, Fisk, and Talladega at 7 p.m. CT. The event will be streamed on SEC Network+.