Auburn gymnast McInnis selected for NCAA competition

AUBURN- Auburn junior Rachel Inniss has been officially selected to participate at the 2010 NCAA Gymnastics Championship on April 22, the NCAA announced Monday.

"We are really excited for Rachel," said head coach Jeff Thompson. "This is a great reward for all of her hard work this year, and she has a chance to shine on the biggest stage in our sport."

Inniss qualified for the championship with a score of 9.9 after tying for the floor exercise title at the NCAA Salt Lake City Regional with six other performers, including three from teams that didn't qualify for the team championship. With Utah's Annie DiLuzio and Florida's Ashanee Dickerson and Maranda Smith automatically qualifying with their teams, and following the NCAA tiebreaker procedure, it was determined NCAA that Inniss, Boise State's Hanna Redmon and Washington's Kristen Linton and Samantha Wailor would all travel to Gainesville for the floor exercise portion of the championship.

Inniss will be paired with the University of Florida, and will perform in the fifth rotation of the event in the second semifinal on April 22 from the Stephen C. O'Connell Center on the campus of the University of Florida.

"There isn't a better team that she can be paired with than a team we've seen three times this season," said Thompson. "They are SEC Champions, NCAA Salt Lake City Regional Champions, and Rachel gets to follow their routines. If there was ever being in the right place at the right time, she has a great chance of making the event finals."

Inniss is the first Auburn individual qualifier to head to nationals since Julie Dwyer in 2008, who placed ninth in the all-around competition. Lindsey Puckett was the last gymnast to qualify in an individual event in 2006, as she tied for 31st on vault. In program history, there have only been three gymnasts prior to Inniss to qualify for one event including Aimee Goheen on bars, and Rachel Tarantino on beam, both of whom made it to the championships in 2005.