The No. 5 Auburn Tigers opened the season in a big way on Saturday night by placing third in the Super 16 in Las Vegas.
The Tigers scored 197.350, which sets a program record for the highest score in a season-opening contest. Auburn finished behind the last two programs to win a national championship, Michigan and Oklahoma and finished 0.075 points higher than seven-time national champion UCLA.
Opening the season against strong competition provided the challenge that head coach Jeff Graba was hoping his team would experience.
“It was about developing our depth and testing ourselves coming into this meet and I was really happy with how the team performed under the pressure,” Graba said following Saturday’s meet. “We beat our program record and were up against great competition so I’m excited. It was a great start and we wanted to kick off the season the right way.”
Despite the team finishing third in the competition, suni lee won the all-around crown with a score of 39.750. She earned the overall title by scoring 9.9 on the floor and vault, a 9.95 on the bars, and a perfect 10.0 on the beam, her fourth 10.0 score as an Auburn Tiger.
“Personally, I feel like I did everything I could,” Lee said. “I had a couple of hiccups and I’m still trying to figure out my routines, but I’m just taking day by day and am happy with tonight.”
Derrian Goboure got off to a hot start as well, as she scored 9.9 in vault, bars, and floor. Olivia Hollingsworth and Cassie Stevens competed in the all-around and finished with scores of 39.100 and 39.025 respectively.