Suni Lee, the first Olympic all-around medalist to compete in NCAA gymnastics, will see familiar faces at the national championships next week in the form of her Olympic teammates.
Lee, an Auburn freshman, led the Tigers to a runner-up finish at regionals on Saturday, booking their first NCAA Championships team appearance since 2016. NCAAs are April 14-16 in Fort Worth, Texas.
Lee scored her fifth perfect 10 of the season overall on the balance beam, rebounding from the uneven bars, where she kicked the low bar with her foot on her first transition to the high bar. Among stories on Lee this season, she reportedly said she has dealt with impostor syndrome and hating gymnastics during her first weeks on campus.
“It’s hard to get you guys to understand, to get anybody to understand, the pressure she’s under,” Auburn coach Jeff Graba said Saturday, according to reporters on site.
Auburn is joined in the women’s team field by Alabama, Florida, Oklahoma, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri and Utah (with Tokyo Olympian Grace McCallum).
Additionally, Tokyo Olympians Jade Carey and Jordan Chiles qualified to compete individually. Carey, the Tokyo Olympic floor champion now at Oregon State, qualified in the all-around. Chiles, a UCLA Bruin, made it on bars and floor.
U.S. Olympic team members from Tokyo who are not competing collegiately are Simone Biles, who hasn’t competed since the Games and may not return, and MyKayla Skinner, who is retired from elite gymnastics.
Women from the last six Olympic teams have competed collegiately, including gold medalists Kyla Ross and Madison Kocian.
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