The No. 5 Auburn Gymnastics team picked up right where they left off during the inaugural Super 16 in Vegas. Scoring a 197.350 at a quad meet that featured No. 1 Oklahoma, No. 4 Michigan and No. 10 UCLA, the Tigers finished in third place behind Oklahoma (197.925) and Michigan (197.400).
The score for the Tigers is the highest for the program ever in a season opener, surpassing the previous record (196.375) by nearly a full point.
It was a different look for the Tigers compared to last season, with now sophomore Sophia Groth not participating in the floor or beam events, making way for juniors Olivia Hollingsworth and Gabby McLaughlin.
“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,” Auburn gymnastics head coach Jeff Graba said. “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.”
Hollingsworth competed in all four events for the first time since the 2021 season and finished the night with a 39.100, including a career-high 9.85 on bars.
“It was great being back out there doing the all-around,” Hollingsworth said. “I was just trying to soak in the moment and have fun. The team started right where we left off and I’m just really proud of the energy tonight.”
Suni Lee was the star of the show again for the Tigers, continuing her spectacular finish to last season with an all-around win at the Super 16 in Las Vegas. Lee finished the night with a 39.750, including a perfect 10 on beam, her fourth on beam since her freshman year. The Olympic gold medalist also earned a 9.95 on bars and two 9.9s on floor and vault.
“The team did really well and did a great job putting everything together,” Lee said. “Personally, I feel like I did everything I could. I had a couple of hiccups and I’m still trying to figure out my routines, but I’m just taking it day by day and am happy with tonight.”
That vault rotation from Lee and the Tigers tied a program record 49.500, with 9.9 or better from the final four competitors for Auburn. It was a strong way to round out the evening, giving Auburn the strong third place finish.
Fifth year senior Derrian Gobourne anchored the event and tied her career-high 9.95, giving her a second place finish in the event.
“It felt great to hit that vault,” Gobourne said. “I messed up my steps a little bit, but we’ve done so much in training that I just trusted myself and everybody in front of me. Tonight was so much fun and I’m so proud of us.”
Gobourne competed in floor, vault and bars, with 9.9 or above in all three events.
The No. 5 Tigers will look to ride the momentum of the season opener next week when SEC competition begins, and Auburn travels to Gainesville to take on No. 2 Florida. The rematch between the Tigers and the defending SEC champion Gators will kick off at 6:30 p.m. CT on ESPN 2.
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