Saturday, August 15, 2009

Gym Countdown: #17 Auburn

2008-09 Recap

The season started promisingly enough. Auburn was able to top two future super six teams, LSU and Arkansas during the regular season. They also lost by very narrow margins to both Florida and Alabama (who Auburn has not defeated in the last thirty years). The Tigers (or Plainsmen?, or War Eagles?) saw great senior leadership and scores from their two seasoned all arounders A.J. Mills and Lindsay Puckett. The team was ranked as high as fourth in the country and was looking forward to nationals as of the middle of the season.
The end of the season and the post-season did not pan out for Auburn. They were crushed in their second meeting of the season with rival Bama and were upset by Ohio St in two of their last three regular season meets. They then finished a disappointing fifth at the SEC Championships in Nashville going into the NCAA West regional. At their regional the Tigers finished fourth which was WAY below my expectations for this team. They joined Kentucky as the only SEC teams not attending nationals and Mills and Puckett were unable to qualify as individuals either. A disappointing end to a promising start of the season.

2009-10 Outlook

This ranking might be WAY too high or WAY too low for Auburn. It is hard to know what to expect from this team this season. The Tigers do have two returning seniors but neither of them (Krissy Voss and Carmen Nelms) competed all around last year and were generally two event specialists. There is a lot of young talent on this team and they will be expected to step up this year and make an impact. At least two positions on each event should be up for grabs.
I'm going to look out for sophomore Allyson Sandusky this season who impressed me with her steady hand on beam last year as well as contributing on bars and vault. She seems to be the type of consistent and disciplined gymnast that Auburn usually relies upon. With six freshmen and seven sophomores on this team Auburn needs the underclassmen to perform in a big way. If they can look for Auburn to make a move in the SEC and improve upon their fifth place finish at the conference championship. If they can't this team could take a giant step back. Here's hoping that doesn't happen. Their recruits look strong but you can never really tell how they will react to the new college setting.

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