Auburn gymnastics phenom Suni Lee expected to return

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It’s looking like the Tigers’ gymnastics team could retain its key piece.

Head coach Jeff Graba told Auburn alumni on Thursday night that gold medal Olympian and Auburn all-around star Sunisa Lee told him she intends to, at the moment, return to the Plains for her second season of college gymnastics according to a report by the Montgomery Advertiser.

Lee’s decision comes in part due to preparation for the 2024 Olympics and whether she wanted to commit to both elite gymnastics and collegiate gymnastics. According to Graba, Lee currently believes that she can do both at the moment.

“NCAA gymnastics has been good for her in a lot of ways,” Graba said before an Auburn alumni event. “But she’s going to have to balance it out. She’s going to have to make decisions in the future, but right now the decision is: ‘I think I can still do both.’ So I think that’s where we are.”

Lee’s return to Auburn would be big to Auburn gymnastics. The Tigers posted a 1-7 record in 2021 and missed out on NCAAs without Lee, but when she arrived at the Plains, she helped propel Auburn to a 22-8-1 record and an appearance in the NCAA gymnastics Final Four.

With senior Derrian Gobourne returning to the team as well, Graba has a squad that looks primed to return to the Final Four for the 2023 season. The 2023 gymnastics season should begin in the first week of January.