No. 7 Auburn's season-highs best No. 14 Georgia
AUBURN, Ala. - Hitting the 197.5 mark for the fourth time this season, No. 7 Auburn cruised to a 197.550-196.075 victory over No. 14 Georgia Friday at Neville Arena.
"That feels amazing even though we know we have more in the tank," said fifth-year gymnast Derrian Gobourne, who scored two 9.95s and a 9.9. "I'm so proud of this team and I'm so grateful, and I can't wait to see what it looks like when we put it all together."
"My athletes are tough as nails at this point," Auburn coach Jeff Graba said. "We're ready for the postseason. This is phenomenal being in front of all the fans at Neville Arena. It's once in a lifetime for a lot of these athletes. They'll never forget this. You have to embrace that."
Sunisa Lee tied her career best to win the vault title with a 9.95. Sara Hubbard also equaled her career high by scoring 9.9, a mark Gobourne matched in the anchor spot. Cassie Stevens added a 9.875 while Sophia Groth and Olivia Hollingsworth each contributed 9.825s to pace Auburn to a sizable 49.450-49.025 lead after one rotation.
"Our whole week we've been focusing on starting strong. It meant a lot to us to achieve that goal," Hollingsworth said. "Another thing we wanted to focus on was being together. We really wanted to be together, surround each other, create a bubble and have a really good atmosphere within the team."
Auburn delivered more big scores on bars with Gobourne and Lee anchoring with matching 9.95s to share the event title after Aria Brusch earned a 9.9 in her season debut on bars. Groth added a 9.825 and Stevens scored 9.775 to give the Tigers 49.4 on bars and 98.850 through two rotations.
Gabby McLaughlin led Auburn on beam with a 9.9 to share the event title with Georgia's Vanessa Deniz. After Hollingsworth led off with a season-high 9.875, Brusch added a 9.85, a score Lee matched from the anchor position. Groth added a 9.775 to give Auburn 49.225 in the event and 148.075 heading to the final rotation.
"In order to hit beam, you have to attack beam," Graba said. "But you have to attack beam with a patient mentality."
Gobourne continued her mastery on floor, winning the event title by scoring 9.95 in her next-to-last home meet. Brusch led off with a 9.85, Groth and Hollingsworth followed with 9.9s, then Stevens earned a 9.85 before Gobourne's grand finale gave Auburn 49.450 on floor.
"This is something I'm going to take with me forever," Gobourne said. "I'll never forget those fans out there."
Lee won the all-around with a 39.475 while teammates Groth (39.325) and Stevens (39.2) also competed in all four events.
"We've got some people in new positions and some of that is just now rounding into shape," Graba said. "We're learning each other this year a little bit more. This year's team has a lot of scoring potential, as much as we did last year, probably a little bit more at this point. It's just a matter of settling down and believing in ourselves and getting to the point where we expect it to happen a certain way."
The Tigers travel to Lexington, Kentucky, next Friday for a 6 p.m. CT meet vs. the Wildcats.