The No. 15-ranked Auburn gymnastics team will look to extend their season when they head upstate for the Tuscaloosa Regional next Thursday.
The Tigers enter the regional as a No. 4 seed in a field that features some of the best programs in the sport, including No. 1-ranked Oklahoma, No. 7 Alabama and No. 10 Arkansas.
“We’re really excited to be able to go to a place we’ve already been to before this season,” said head coach Jeff Graba, referencing the Tigers' January meet against the Tide.
While Graba is excited for having made the postseason, he knows that the toughest challenges lie ahead for the Tigers.
“We’re going to face a big challenge in No. 1 Oklahoma and SEC Champion Alabama as well as having two other SEC schools here in Arkansas and Missouri.”
Despite the challenges that are ahead, Graba doesn’t overlook the fact that there may not have been a season at all.
“We’re just thankful to be at this point in a Covid season where we didn’t know what to expect,” he said.
Junior Derrian Gobourne is one of the gymnasts who also appreciates the opportunity that is before the Tigers in the Regional Championship. With Covid cutting last season short, she knows not to take any chance to compete for granted.
“It’s very exciting to go to Regionals because we didn’t get that chance last year,” said Gobourne. “We’re a really talented team so you never know what could happen. It’s going to be a tough meet, but I know we can handle it.”
The Regional will kick off next Thursday in a first round that will feature Eastern Michigan and Maryland competing, with the winner advancing to the second round, which will be held next Friday.
The second round will feature an afternoon and evening session. The afternoon session will begin at 1 p.m. and include the No. 2 seed Alabama, No. 3 seed Arkansas, Iowa and Iowa State.
The evening session will be the first time the Tigers compete. Beginning at 7 p.m., it will feature No. 1 seed Oklahoma, No. 4 seed Auburn, and Missouri as well as the winner of day one. The Tigers will start the night on bars and head to beam, floor and vault.
The top two teams from each second round session will advance to the Regional Final at 7 p.m. on Saturday, April 3.
The top two teams from the Regional Final will then advance to NCAA Championships April 16-17 in Fort Worth, Texas.
The Tigers enter the Regional with a National Qualifying Score of 196.875.
For the latest on Auburn Gymnastics, follow @AuburnGym on Twitter and visit our Facebook page at facebook.com/AuburnGym.