Trinity’s Sydney Bassett one of five set to join Auburn Gymnastics in 2018

AUBURN, Ala. (auburntigers.com) – Auburn gymnastics will add five talented newcomers next season as head coach Jeff Graba announced the 2018 freshmen class Friday.

“I’m extremely excited to have such a well-rounded and accomplished group of gymnasts join our program,” Graba said. “I truly believe that all five will be able to help us as we continue to reach new heights.”

Auburn signed Ashley Smith (Holly Springs, N.C.), Meredith Sylvia (Macungie, Pa.), and Drew Watson (Tyler, Texas), while Sydney Bassett (Montgomery, Ala.) and Allie Riddle (Mobile, Ala.) will come to The Plains as preferred walk-ons.

ASHLEY SMITH

Hometown: Holly Springs, N.C.

High School: Holly Springs

Event: All-Around

Gym: Sonshine

Highlights: Six-time Level 10 JO National competitor … 2016 Region 8 Balance Beam Champion … 2014 Level 10 Regional Champion – vault, bars, all-around … 2014 National Champion – bars … 2014 all-around fifth place at nationals.

Coach Graba on Ashley: “Ashley brings grace and polish and we believe she will be able to step in on all four events very early in her career.”

MEREDITH SYLVIA

Hometown: Macungie, Pa.

High School: Allentown Central Catholic

Event: All-Around

Gym: Parkettes

Highlights: Two-time JO National qualifier … Two-time Regional All-Around Champion … Two-time USA Visa National Championships qualifier … Eight Region 7 event titles, including two All-Around crowns (2014, 2015).

Coach Graba on Meredith: “I’m really excited for our fans to see Meredith’s unique brand of gymnastics. She is able to wrap power and a unique skillset together that will be very exciting to watch.”

DREW WATSON

Hometown: Tyler, Texas

High School: Robert E. Lee

Event: All-Around

Gym: Texas East Gymnastics

Highlights: Three-time JO Nationals qualifier (2012, 2013, 2016) … 2016 JO National Vault Champion … 2016 Region 3 Vault Champion.

Coach Graba on Drew: “Drew is a dynamo and will bring power to our line-ups along with some dynamic ‘big’ skills.”

SYDNEY BASSETT

Hometown: Montgomery, Ala.

High School: Trinity Presbyterian

Event: All-Around

Gym: Prattville YMCA

Highlights: 2016 JO National Qualifier …  Level 10 state champion on vault … Earned 10 state titles … National AP Scholar.

Coach Graba on Sydney: “Sydney is one of the best Level 10 gymnasts in the state of Alabama and we feel lucky to have her join our program.”

ALLIE RIDDLE

Hometown: Mobile, Ala.

High School: UMS-Wright Preparatory

Event: All-Around

Gym: Gulf Coast Gymnastics

Highlights: 2013 Alabama State Champion on floor and beam … National AP Scholar.

Coach Graba on Allie: “Allie is another Alabama gymnast that we’ve had our eye on for a while. I believe she’ll be able to come in and give us much needed depth on floor and beam.”

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