No. 16 Auburn Downs No. 10 Alabama in Front of a Sellout Crowd
SOURCE: AUBURN ATHLETICS
It was an electric night in Auburn Arena Friday as the No. 16 Auburn gymnastics team put together a 196.625-196.025 victory over rival and No. 10 Alabama, downing the Crimson Tide in front of a sellout crowd.
“The team went into this meet with some clear goals,” head coach Jeff Graba said. “I felt like last weekend the team got ahead of themselves and put too much pressure on themselves, so we wanted to make sure we had fun tonight. This team is pretty good when they’re having fun. We put in a lot of young people in front of a sold-out crowd against an archrival, and it worked out really well for us.”
Just as it did in 2016 when the Tigers edged the Tide, 197.275-197.250, to break the streak, Friday night’s meet came down to the final routine. Sophomore Derrian Gobourne needed put together a clean floor routine and came away with a 9.95, tying a career high and taking home the event title.
“I was looking away before my floor routine so I didn’t know how much we needed to win,” Gobourne said. “Floor is an event that I can go all out on. It’s really not that hard for me. I just let it all out, and I love being in that (anchor) position.”
Gobourne captured the bars (9.925) and floor (9.95) titles, setting a career high on bars and tying a career best on floor.
Junior Drew Watson competed in the all-around for the first time this season, winning the overall title with a 39.425. She captured the vault title with a 9.9 on floor, while adding a 9.75 on bars, a 9.875 on beam and a 9.9 on floor.
“Drew is a phenomenal athlete,” Graba said. “We need a one-two punch in the all-around and she’s our superstar as well as Derrian [Gobourne]. She needed to go tonight. She gritted her teeth and toughed it out and had a great performance. She’s really the grit at the top of the lineup most of the time. She sets the tone.”
Freshman Cassie Stevens was the team’s other all-arounder, competing in all four events for the first time in her career. She finished the night with a score of 38.800.
Overall, the Tigers set or tied 15 season or career highs.
The Tigers will head to Baton Rouge next Friday as they face LSU in another SEC showdown. The two teams will go head-to-head at 7:30 p.m. CT and the meet will be televised on SEC Network.
Auburn came out strong in the first rotation, closing out with a score of 49.075 on vault. Watson took home the title with a 9.9, tying a season best. Gobourne earned a score of 9.875 and senior Gracie Day followed closely behind with a season-high 9.825. Stevens and junior Jada Glenn chipped in a 9.75 and a 9.725.
Gobourne took the individual title and anchored rotation two with a career-high 9.925 on bars. Day followed with another season best, earning a 9.875. Freshman Aria Brusch had a great meet for the squad as the Cincinnati, Ohio, product competed in three events on the night. Her 9.825 was .025 off her career high. Watson’s 9.75 was added to the team score and freshmen Adeline Sabados and Stevens had a pair of 9.7s. The Tigers went 49.075 in the event.
Four of the six Auburn competitors scored a 9.8 or higher on beam in the third rotation as the Tigers finished with a 49.250. Senior Skyler Sheppard took the individual title with a career-best 9.925. Junior Meredith Sylvia followed with a season-high 9.9 and Watson tied her career score with a 9.875. Senior Emma Slappey kicked things off with a 9.8 and Stevens chipped in with a 9.75.
It was a strong finish on floor as Auburn scored a 49.225 in the final rotation. Gobourne took the individual title with her career-best 9.95 at anchor, while Sheppard and Watson followed with a pair of 9.9s. That score was another career high for Sheppard. Brusch had a 9.875 to set her career best in the event.