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“This is a very special team and will be our year” – Auburn gymnastics, Suni Lee on turning heads

Friday emerged as a banner night for the 2021 Olympic all-around gold medalist's college development.

Sunisa Lee

The first-ever gymnastics meet at Arkansas’ Bud Walton Arena is currently undergoing with intense competition. Meanwhile, Auburn coach Jeff Graba joked to anyone who would listen that “it’s like a rock concert in here.” And just like any great show, it needed natural performers and Graba brought some of the rock stars.

Coming to the competition, Auburn pulled off a dramatic comeback on Friday night in front of a record road crowd. They clinched the clash by a razor-thin margin of 0.05 points with its second-highest road score in program history: 197.25. 

“I think this is a very special team,” freshman Sophia Groth said after Friday’s riveting rally. “I think this is our year.” Or as Graba described it, “It doesn’t get easier than this: You get to the postseason, this isn’t even a tight meet.”

“Leadership is putting the team ahead”

Graba further went on to reckon that the leadership of their team is helping them to keep their noses ahead. 

“That’s leadership,” Graba said on the team bus afterwards. “That’s somebody putting the team ahead.” With “Free Bird” roaring in Arkansas, Brusch delivered a 9.850 on beam to keep her side alive. Adding to this, up-stepped in Groth, making an early statement in her college career with a 9.900.

“Jeff told us not to look at the score and I tried my best, but it was really hard in this environment,” she said. “I knew it was close to going into the beam, but I didn’t waver.”

“We knew we needed big scores, and that means you’ve got to take a risk. We’ve got young people trying to hit home runs, and we did a really, really good job,” Graba said. 

“I’m expecting just the best from this team. Because you expect the best and you do the best. So I wasn’t very surprised,” she added.

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