LSU gymnastics hosts West Virginia for regular season finale in PMAC
Editor’s Note: The following is an official press release courtesy of LSU’s athletic’s department.
BATON ROUGE – The No. 6 LSU gymnastics team (7-5, 4-3 SEC) is set to host West Virginia (11-7, 1-2 BIG 12) for senior night and the regular season finale on Friday, March 10, at 7:30 p.m. CT in the PMAC.
“We can’t let up. This meet should propel us into SEC Championships,” said head coach Jay Clark. “We should be able to go in front of our home crowd and do our best to try and secure that number two seed in Atlanta next weekend. We’re hoping for a crowd of 12,000 fans to give us the juice we need and finish out the regular season strong.”
The competition between the Tigers and the Mountaineers will be streamed on SEC Network Plus with Lyn Rollins and Kaleigh Dickson Abboud on the call. The doors to the arena open at 6 p.m. and introductions begin at 7:16 with senior recognitions.
Streaming and live stats of the meet will be available on lsusports.net.
There will be a free Our Lady of the Lake t-shirt giveaway to the first 5,000 fans as well as a scrunchie giveaway to the first 500 fans to arrive at the arena for senior night on Friday in the PMAC.
The first 250 students to attend will receive a free Raising Cane’s 3-finger combo.
The Series Record
LSU owns an undefeated record of 11-0-0 over West Virginia and are 5-0-0 in the PMAC. The last time LSU and West Virginia faced off was in 2012, when the Tigers defeated the Mountaineers 196.850-194.900 at home
Last Time On The Floor
LSU finished on top in the Podium Challenge as they took down No.7 California, No. 23 Washington and George Washington with a score of 197.700 on the road in the Raising Cane’s River Center.
Junior Haleigh Bryant won the all-around for the eighth time this season with her score of 39.700 on the night. She now owns 16 all-around titles in her career to tie her at sixth for career-best in LSU history.
LSU began the meet on vault, where junior Elena Arenas led the squad off with a huge 9.900 routine. Senior Alyona Shchennikova followed with a 9.850. Junior Chase Brock matched her career high and hit a 9.975 in the third spot. Freshman Bryce Wilson made her second career appearance on vault and scored a 9.850 before junior Haleigh Bryant anchored with a 9.975. The Tigers earned a 49.550 in the first rotation.
Sophomore Alexis Jeffrey led off the bars squad with a 9.900 and junior Olivia Dunne followed with a 9.825. Sophomore Tori Tatum posted a 9.875 while freshman Ashley Cowan made her second collegiate appearance and posted a career high 9.850. Shchennikova scored a 9.800 in the fifth spot and Bryant anchored with a 9.900. LSU scored a 49.350 in the second rotation.
The Tigers were tied with California at the halfway point with a score of 98.900, followed by Washington’s 98.625 and George Washington’s 98.300.
On beam, Arenas started things off with a 9.825 followed by a 9.725 from Shchennikova. In her second career appearance on beam, Jeffrey scored a 9.850. Junior Sierra Ballard recorded a strong 9.900 and Bryant added a 9.850 in the fifth spot. In her return to the beam lineup, freshman Bryce Wilson anchored with a career high 9.850.
Ballard led off with a 9.850 routine on floor to begin the final rotation in the River Center. Shchennikova earned a 9.900 in the second spot followed by Brock, who continued her night with a 9.925 to match her career high. Arenas scored a 9.875 to match her career high and Jeffrey scored a 9.750 in the fifth spot. Bryant anchored with her 9.975 to close out the competition with a floor score of 49.525.
The Tigers battled their way through adversity to come out victorious in the quad meet with California, Washington and George Washington. LSU finished with a 197.700 on the night, followed by California’s 197.675, Washington’s 196.000 and George Washington’s 195.125.
Bryant earned her eighth all-around and vault titles with her scores of 9.975 on vault and 39.700 in the all-around to move her total to 22 titles this year. She now owns 52 titles in her career to tie her at tenth in program history for most individual titles.
Brock recorded her first win after also taking the vault title in the quad meet. Her scores of 9.975 on vault and 9.925 on floor marked back-to-back meets that the junior recorded career high
Perfect Scores In 2023
Bryant earned the first 10.00 for the Tigers in 2023 with her perfect vault against Missouri. It was her sixth career perfect score. The junior tallied another perfect score on vault at Alabama to move her career total to seven; all of them being on vault.
Finnegan recorded four perfect scores in four consecutive weeks to find perfection in all of February. The sophomore’s first career perfect score came on floor against Georgia on February 3rd, followed by a 10.00 on vault at Auburn. She found her first perfect score on beam and third in her career against the Gators. Her fourth career 10.00 came on floor at Alabama for her second perfect score on the event this season.
She will look to be the first gymnast in LSU history to earn a perfect score across all four events.
The Tigers have notched four weekly conference honors in 2023. Bryant earned the first conference award for the Tigers this season as she was named SEC Co-Gymnast of the Week on January 24. Against Missouri, she earned a perfect 10.00 on vault and scores of 9.900+ on all four events.
The junior notched her second award on March 1 after her career high performance at Alabama, where she recorded her seventh career perfect 10.00 and a career high 39.800 in the all-around in Tuscaloosa.
KJ Johnson earned her first honor as she was named SEC Specialist of the Week on February 7 for her performance against Georgia. The sophomore earned a 9.875 on vault and matched her career high on floor with a 9.950 against the Bulldogs.
Bryant earned her third conference honor this season and fourth in her career after being named Gymnast of the Week for the second consecutive week on March 7. She won the all-around at the Podium Challenge with her score of 39.700 to help lead the Tigers to victory.
Bryant and Finnegan are expected to be mainstays in the all-around as the team prepares for their final home meet of the season against West Virginia. Arenas could also appear in the all-around for the Tigers.
An eight-time All-American, Bryant has embraced a larger role this season and has earned 22 titles in 2023. She owns seven career perfect 10’s on vault as her front handspring-front pike half is considered to be one of the best vaults in all of NCAA gymnastics.
Bryant has recorded season highs of 9.975 on floor, 9.950 on bars and beam, and matched her career high 10 on vault against Missouri and Alabama. She set a new career high against the Crimson Tide to become only the sixth gymnast in program history to record an all-around score of 39.800 or higher.
Sophomore Aleah Finnegan competed in the all-around for the first time in the team’s season opener at Utah and now owns a career high score of 39.800 after her career night at Auburn. After recording four perfect 10’s in four straight meets, the sophomore now owns perfect scores on floor, vault, and beam and a career high of 9.925 on bars.
Arenas has been a consistent contender in the vault, bars and beam lineups. The junior from Athens, Georgia, won the SEC vault title in 2021 and owns a season-high score of 9.925 on the event. She also recorded a career high of 9.925 on beam at Kentucky and 9.900 on bars against Florida. She made her first appearance on floor this season against Florida and earned a career high score of 9.875 at the Podium Challenge.
Shchennikova competed in the all-around for the first time this season against Missouri and matched her career high 39.525 against Auburn. The senior owns season highs of 9.925 on vault, 9.875 on bars, 9.800 on beam and 9.925 on floor.
Kai Rivers provides experience and leadership within the team. The senior is a staple in the beam lineup and owns a season-high of 9.900, which she scored back-to-back against Auburn and Florida.
Junior Chase Brock made her vault and floor debuts against Oklahoma and has been continually making her mark in the lineups. After her career night against Alabama, she now owns highs of 9.975 on vault and 9.925 on floor, which she also matched at the Podium Challenge.
Ballard continues to bring the energy to the floor leadoff spot and owns a season high of 9.900 on the event. The Louisiana native debuted on beam against Oklahoma and now owns a career high of 9.925 after her performance at Alabama.
A native of Dallas, Texas, KJ Johnson owns season high scores of 9.950 on floor and vault. Johnson also recorded a career high 9.875 in only her third beam appearance against Florida.
Tori Tatum, a sophomore from Chanhassen, Minnesota, made her debut on bars against Oklahoma after suffering from an injury last year. She now owns a career high 9.900 after her performance against Missouri and matched her career high against Florida and Alabama.
A consistent bars leadoff, Alexis Jeffrey owns a career high of 9.925 on bars and made her beam and floor debuts in Tuscaloosa. The sophomore now owns highs of 9.900 on beam and 9.750 on floor.
Freshmen Ashley Cowan and Bryce Wilson have stepped up in only their first season with their Tigers. Cowan made her collegiate debut on bars at Auburn and now owns a career high 9.850 after her routine at the Podium Challenge. Wilson made her debut on beam against Utah and her vault debut at Alabama. She now owns career highs of 9.850 on beam and 9.875 on vault.
Fans can follow the Tigers on the team’s social media channels @LSUgym on Instagram and Twitter and www.Facebook.com/lsugym.
Week Nine Rankings
LSU remained sixth in the week nine Road To National rankings following the team’s victory in the Podium Challenge on Friday night with their score of 197.700.
The Tigers own an NQS of 197.655 in the week nine rankings and remain in the top-10 for the seventh consecutive week. LSU’s six scores are 198.100, 197.700 and 197.450 from home meets and 197.975, 197.700 and 197.500 away from the PMAC.
LSU topped No.7 California, No. 23 Washington and George Washington on Friday night in the Raising Cane’s River Center to improve their NQS and hold their place at sixth.
The Tigers rank second on vault, fourth on floor, eighth on bars and eleventh on beam in the event rankings.
Bryant continues her streak of being ranked amongst the top-5 gymnasts in the nation for the seventh consecutive week, as she was placed at No. 4. The junior also holds the No. 1 spot on vault with her NQS of 9.975. Bryant also ranks in the top-25 on bars, beam and floor.
Brock earned a spot in the rankings for the first time this season as she placed No. 18 on vault. Finnegan also held her place in the rankings as she is fifth on floor, sixth on beam and fourteenth in the all-around.
LSU ranks second in the conference, only behind Florida. The Gators own an NQS of 197.920.