AUBURN — After another historic night in the career of Suni Lee, the sophomore gymnast was named SEC Gymnast of the Week for the third time this season. It was a great night for Lee and her team, with the Auburn legend scoring two more perfect 10s and Auburn securing a season-high score. The Tigers could not get the win over their rival Alabama, but it was a good step for Lee and the team.
“We all are in the same place. We're all on the same page, because we all want the same thing,” said Lee. “I think it's really exciting when you see everybody putting in the work, everyone being accountable, and even just helping each other, you know, like giving each other corrections telling each other what they could be doing better. ”
With the 197.700 for the Tigers, the team is back in the top five of the NCAA gymnastics rankings, keeping pace with Florida in the SEC.
This award makes three in five meets for Lee, and she is now No. 1 in the nation in all-around with a score average of 39.713. With those accolades and possibly more to come, Lee is focused on what is in front of her.
“I've tried not to pay too much attention to it just because I know that now it's going to be like in the back of my head, whenever I'm going like, ‘Oh, I can't mess this up,’” Lee said about looking at awards and rankings.
The latest recognition makes eight SEC-related awards for Lee, including a Co-Gymnast of the Week earlier this season, as well as some freshman awards last season.
In her short career on the Plains, Lee has seen a lot of environments both on the road and at home. From the Olympics to Bud Walton Arena, Neville Arena and even the Final Four, Lee is aware of what could be coming on Friday with the Bayou Bengals coming to town.
Junior gymnast Olivia Dunne is expected to be in action after competing on bars during LSU’s meet last week. Dunne has over 7 million followers on TikTok and is estimated to be the most valuable female athlete in terms of NIL in college sports.
“I'm really excited. I don't really know how the fans are going to react,” Lee said. “Me and Livvy are obviously really good friends. I'm really good friends with a lot of the other girls on the team. But I know that she's like, so big, so it's gonna be a really big meet. But I'm really excited for all the amazing gymnastics that there is to come.”
For Lee, there is even more amazing gymnastics ahead as the gold medalist is planning on returning to the U.S. Gymnastics team for the 2024 Olympics. Some of the gymnastics that she has put on display during this season have been prep, and even with her beam dismount changing last week, the prep continues.
“We still train off the end because we have some options, that when she goes back into the elite world completely, she is going to want those options. So that was our commitment to her is we're just going to do some extra training,” head coach Jeff Graba said of how she is preparing. “I think she's better than she was last year. I think she's definitely on the right path.”
Auburn and LSU will battle on Friday, February 10, with the meet beginning at 7:30 p.m. on SEC Network.
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