From beam, Stevens gained notoriety. On the jump, she found her identity, which worked well until her Yurchenko one-and-a-half jump started slipping away from Cassie as a freshman at Auburn.
“I could do it in my sleep,” Steven said, recalling his mastery of the vault as a club gymnast. “When I got to college, it got harder and I ended up pulling out of it. It was devastating.
As I matured, I realized that jumping was just another aspect of gymnastics to be developed, not what defined it.
Paradoxically, the more Stevens surrendered, the more she triumphed. She has scored 9.9 or better on vault five times this season, including a program-best 9.975 against Florida.
“That was my biggest point of growth throughout my college gymnastics career so far,” she said. “The moment I finally decided that I was okay with everything that had happened was when I finally started to get it back. That was the biggest reward to get that back.
“She’s extremely dedicated, focused and driven,” Auburn coach Jeff Graba said. “Now she’s on an even higher level because her confidence is skyrocketing.”
With that confidence comes consistency. Stevens has appeared in the all-around for the Tigers in nine meetings this season, scoring a career-high 39.675 to help Auburn set its program record of 198.575 on March 4 against the Gators.
“When you put a lot of hard work into something and it pays off, that’s the greatest feeling,” Stevens said. “It’s so much hard work, but it’s so rewarding when it pays off.”