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Auburn Tigers

Auburn gymnastics headed to New Orleans, SEC Championships

 Auburn gymnastics will have one more chance to improve their national qualifier score this weekend as they compete at the SEC Gymnastics Championships in New Orleans.

After their impressive outing at the Kidney Care Women’s Gymnastics Championships, the Tigers remained at No. 14 in the rankings, but increased their NQS to 197.315. A NQS consists of adding a team's top six regular season scores, dropping the highest and averaging the remaining five. 

The catch? Three of those five scores must come on the road.

The SEC Championships provide another huge opportunity for head coach Jeff Graba’s Tigers to increase their NQS with a big road performance. They will face some of the best competition in what is arguably collegiate gymnastics' best league.

“Just looking forward to the SEC Championships,” Graba said. “It’s the premier conference in the country. Everybody is really good in this meet and if anything is going to prepare us for a postseason run it will be this meet.”

Auburn’s first rotation will be on beam, an event that many teams dread, but the Tigers embrace.

“We like it,” graduate student Cassie Stevens said. “It shows how much confidence we have in our beam team. You always want to start off a meet strong, and to be able to enjoy starting on that event, because we know we are able to start it off strong, that speaks volumes about our beam squad.” 

Auburn ranks seventh on the beam nationally in the latest gymnastics rankings. The Tigers continue to surge in that event, tying their season high last week with a 49.475.

Down the stretch, consistency will be key as the Tigers look to solidify their identity on vault. They connected for a season high 49.5 on vault on Feb. 9 against Alabama, but have only been able to hit for a 49.175 since then. With solid recent form in floor and beam especially, a big hit on vault will be crucial for Auburn to compete.

“Just going out there and being ourselves,” senior Gabby McLaughlin said when asked what the team wanted to accomplish at SEC’s. “I think we figured it out in Nashville, and just carrying it into the SEC’s, I think that will be the last little bit we need before regionals.”

The Tigers will be in the first session on Saturday, joining Arkansas, Missouri and Georgia. The action will get underway at 2:30 p.m. CT, and can be streamed on the SEC Network.

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