ANN ARBOUR, Mich. –Auburn’s No. 5 gymnastics team finished the regular season with a score of 197.175 in a triple meet with No. 3 Michigan and West Virginia on Saturday at Crisler Center.
The Tigers won three event titles that day with Drew Watson win the jump, Sunisa Lee win at bars, and Sophie Groth tied for the event title on beam.
Auburn finished second in the three-team event as Michigan won in front of a school-record crowd with a 197.950, and West Virginia was third with a 196.400.
“We finally activated it at the end of the game,” said the Auburn head coach. Jeff Graba noted. “I liked how we had to change things up. We had meetings where things went well early in the lineup. You don’t have to work with that. Where you have to work, that’s where things don’t go well. We had to do that in the first three events.”
“You have to move on. It’s comical that we’re frustrated with a 197, and last year we would have tripped over ourselves. Expectations are higher. But we have to move on. We’J I have SEC coming up in a week, so let’s not over-analyze the issues, just move on and prepare for the next game.”
Groth is tied for her first college title on balance beam, sharing the top score with Michigan’s Natalie Wojcik and Sierra Brooks as the three scored 9.95 at the event. Lee scored a 9.975 on bars tied for his second best score of the season, and Watson recorded a 9.925 on vault, tied for his second best of the year.
“I struggled with my jump the last two meets,” Watson said. “You have to be you and do your jump. I felt like I was trying to analyze other jumps, but really just doing my jump and doing what I knew how to do, I felt good.
“I felt like (today’s meeting) was what we needed. We didn’t have a meeting where we struggled and weren’t able to bounce back, so learn from that. If you feed that negative energy, it can come down quickly, so being able to recognize that and turn it around is really important for the playoffs.”
The Tigers will be back in action at next week’s SEC Championships in Birmingham. Auburn will be in the night session, which begins at 7 p.m. at Legacy Arena.
The Tigers started the day with a 49.375 on bars to take a .025 lead over Michigan after a rotation. After a pair of 9.75 ratings from Adeline Sabados and Groth, Cassie Stevens scored a 9.85, followed by a 9.875 from Aria Brusch. Gobourne put in another strong showing with a 9.925, and Lee anchored with a 9.975, tying for his second best score of the year.
Led by a Groth-winning 9.95 to tie their career high, Auburn scored a 49.150 on beam. Brusch tied his best road score of the season with a 9.875, and Stevens posted a 9.85. Olivia Hollingsworth started with a 9.75, Lee scored a 9.725 and Gabby McLaughlin had a 9.275.
Derrian Gobourne led the way for the Tigers with a 9.95, his best on the road this season and his fourth consecutive score of 9.9 or better. Groth scored a 9.875 and Watson added a 9.85. Stevens and Lee both scored 9.775, and Hubbard started with a 9.675 for a team score of 49.225.
Auburn finished the meet with a 49.425 on vault, their third-best of the season. Watson’s winning score of 9.925 led the way as all six jumpers scored 9.825 or better. Stevens posted a 9.9, his second straight 9.9 on the road. Lee and Sarah Hubbard both scored 9.875, Gobourne had a 9.85 and Groth scored a 9.825.