AUBURN, ALABAMA. (EETV) - Auburn Gymnastics finished the best season in program history on the biggest stage on Saturday. The Tigers came up short in the Final Four finishing fourth in the talent-packed meet.
“I’d say we proved some people wrong,” said head coach Jeff Graba “We’re really young so I was really happy with the way they reacted. You know, the other three teams that were here tonight were here a year ago and knew exactly what they were in for”
The Auburn Tigers started out on bars in the first rotation. Derrian Goborne kept the momentum she built at the end of the semifinals on Thursday and threw down a 9.9325. Sunisa Lee followed her score up with a 9.9125 of her own
Going into the second rotation, Auburn was in second with a score of 49.4250 just .088 behind Utah.
Oklahoma floundered on floor. The Sooners scored just a 49.1875, the lowest score on floor the team had recorded all season.
The beam proved to be a difference-maker for the Tigers. Of the first five Auburn gymnasts, the highest score was a pair of 9.8375s from Olivia Hollingsworth and Cassie Stevens. Sunisa Lee, fresh off winning the beam individual championship on Thursday was the only Tiger to get a 9.9 in the event doing it with a 9.900 flat.
Florida and Oklahoma surged back following their first rotations. After recording the lowest score of the season on floor, Oklahoma finished with their best score of the year on vault.
Halfway through the meet, the standings were Utah in first, Florida in second, Oklahoma in third and Auburn taking up the rear. The Tigers were .35 behind the other opponents
Auburn looked to bounce back after a poor performance on beam with a big score on the floor. Lee scored an impressive 9.95 and Gobourne followed that up with a 9.9375. Those two scores were the two highest on floor all afternoon but were not enough to put Auburn back in the hunt.
Oklahoma scored the second-highest score in program history on bars to put them in first heading into the final rotation of the year.
The Tigers attempted a make a run on vault with Cassie Stevens putting up a big score of 9.9375 but without any other gymnasts recording a 9.9 it was not enough to make a push at the podium.
The meet ended with fireworks between Oklahoma and Florida, Florida’s Trinity Thomas scored her second straight perfect 10 on the floor but it wasn’t enough to keep the Sooners at bay. Oklahoma scored a 198.2000 after digging themselves a hole early
The final scores for the meet were Oklahoma taking home the championship with a 198.2000, Florida in second with a 198.0875, Utah in third with a 197.7500 and Auburn taking home fourth with a final score of 197.3500.
The fourth-place finish is the best finish to a season in Auburn Gymnastics history. The previous best placement was 6th in both 1993 and 2015.
“I think this team has just decided that history, we just cut it off and started a new record book. It almost took that you almost have to quit carrying along all the baggage that people believe you’re not capable of this. We went to the Final Four and scored higher than we’d ever scored in the postseason in the history of the program”
The Tigers didn’t leave Fort Worth without any hardware, Sunisa Lee won the Individual Beam championship on Thursday. Lee is the first sole individual champion in Auburn history. Derrian Gobourne was the first to earn a share, doing so in vault in 2019.