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Gymnastics Hosts No. 2 Florida In Primetime Matchup

Gymnastics Hosts No. 2 Florida In Primetime Matchup

BATON ROUGE – The eighth-ranked gymnastics team will host No. 2 Florida for a highly anticipated top-10 conference matchup inside the Pete Maravich Assembly Center on Friday, February 17, at 8 p.m. CT.

The rivalry between the Tigers and the Gators will be aired primetime on ESPN2 with Bart Conner on the play-by-play and Kathy Johnson Clarke as the analyst. Sam Peszek will be in the arena as the on-site reporter.

“We continue to keep getting better and improving our ranking. I think our meet against Auburn was the most complete meet we’ve had so far and certainly the best performance we’ve had on the road,” said head coach Jay Clark. “It was the first time we stayed aggressive from start to finish. Looking forward to tomorrow, Florida is a really good and accomplished team and we have to stay in the mindset that we were in last Friday night. We’re going to go out there and compete in front of our home base.”

Introductions begin at 7:52 p.m. and the first vault will lead off at 8:05 p.m. CT in the PMAC.

Live stats and streaming of the meet can be found on


It’s the Mardi Gras meet and student point night on Friday night in the PMAC. The first 500 students to arrive at the arena will receive a free Mardi Gras t-shirt.

The first 500 fans to attend will also receive a free “We Climb” gymnastics shirt.

The Series Record

LSU owns an overall series record of 42-75-0 against Florida and are 16-12-0 inside the PMAC. The Tigers hold a 34-54-0 record against the Gators during the regular season.

The last time the two teams met was in 2022, when No. 5 LSU fell to No. 4 Florida in Gainesville with a score of 197.825-198.150.

The Tigers will look to end the Gators undefeated streak and record its first win over Florida in the regular season since 2018.

Last Time On The Floor

The ninth-ranked LSU Gymnastics team fell to No. 5 Auburn, 197.500-197.750, with a season high road score on Friday night in Neville Arena.

Aleah Finnegan recorded her first career perfect score on vault, marking her first title on the event. The sophomore also earned her second all-around title against Auburn with a career high 39.800. She now owns 11 titles on the year with four on floor and beam, one on vault and two in the all-around. 

LSU started off on bars in Auburn. Freshman Ashley Cowan made her collegiate debut on Friday night as she scored a 9.775 in the second spot. Sophomore Tori Tatum added a 9.850 while Finnegan added a 9.875 of her own. Senior Alyona Shchennikova recorded a 9.825 before junior Haleigh Bryant anchored with a 9.950. The Tigers recorded a 49.275 on bars to close out the first rotation. 

Vault was highlighted by Finnegan’s perfect 10 in the fifth spot. Junior Elena Arenas led off with a 9.800 and Shchennikova followed with a stuck 9.925 routine. Bryant added a 9.900 in the anchor spot. Finnegan hit a perfect omelianchik to record her first perfect career 10 on vault and boost LSU’s score to 49.350 in the second rotation.

It was a 98.825-98.625 Auburn lead at the halfway point in Neville Arena.  

Junior Sierra Ballard led things off on floor in her normal energetic fashion to score a 9.825. Shchennikova followed and matched her career high with a 9.925. Finnegan continued her dominant night, scoring a 9.975 to take the co-title on the event, alongside Auburn’s Sunisa Lee and Derrian Gobourne. KJ Johnson also added a 9.875 as the Tigers moved into the final rotation of the night.  

Arenas moved into the leadoff spot on beam against Auburn, where she earned a 9.750. Shchennikova topped off her night with a 9.850 before senior Kai Rivers recorded a season high 9.900 in the third spot. Ballard scored a 9.850, as she continues to show consistency in her performances. Bryant added a 9.900 and Finnegan anchored with another 9.950 to match her career high on the event and take the co-title with Lee. LSU earned a 49.425 on beam to record a season high on the event.

Auburn held on to the lead at the end as the meet finished 197.500-197.750 in favor of the home Tigers. 

It was another career night for LSU as the team continues to climb. The squad recorded a season high road score with their overall score of 197.500 and a season high beam score of 49.425. Individually, Shchennikova matched her career high all-around score of 39.525 with her performance against Auburn as well as a new career all-around high for Finnegan.  

The Squad

Shchennikova, Bryant and Finnegan are expected to be mainstays in the all-around as the team prepares to take on Florida for a highly anticipated conference matchup. Elena Arenas also has the potential to appear in the all-around for the Tigers.

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.

An eight-time All-American, Bryant has embraced a larger role this season and has earned 17 titles in the Tiger’s six meets thus far, including six straight all-around titles. She owns six 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. The junior is currently ranked the No. 2 vaulter and No. 8 gymnast in the nation. 

Bryant has recorded season highs of 9.950 on bars, beam and floor, and matched her career high 10 on vault against Missouri. In that same meet against Missouri, she matched her career high all-around score of 39.750. 

In the team’s season opener against Utah, Finnegan competed in the all-around for the first time and now owns a career high score of 39.800 after her career night at Auburn. The sophomore earned her first perfect score on floor against the Bulldogs and followed with another perfect 10 on vault against Auburn to make that two in her career. She also owns career highs of 9.850 on vault, 9.925 on bars and 9.950 on beam this season.

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 9.850 on the event. She also recorded a career high of 9.925 on beam at Kentucky and owns a season-high of 9.875 on bars.

Kai Rivers provides experience and leadership within the team. After a battle with injury throughout her career, the senior is a staple in the beam lineup and owns a season-high of 9.900.

Junior Chase Brock made her vault and floor debuts against Oklahoma and has been continually making her mark in the lineups. Brock has a season-high of 9.825 on floor and recorded a new career high on vault against the Bulldogs with her 9.950 routine.

Ballard has brought 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, where she recorded her career high of 9.825 and matched that score against AUBURN.

A native of Dallas, Texas, KJ Johnson continues to show consistency in the vault and floor lineups, where she owns season high scores of 9.950.

Tori Tatum, a sophomore from Chanhassen, Minnesota, made her debut on bars against Oklahoma after suffering from an injury last year. Tatum scored a 9.875 in her first ever collegiate routine and recorded a career high 9.900 against Missouri.

Freshman Ashley Cowan, a native of Hillsborough, North Carolina, has been training the uneven bars and has the potential to make an appearance in the lineup while fellow freshman and Louisiana native Bryce Wilson made her collegiate debut on beam in the season opener against Utah.

Wilson recorded a career high 9.775 against the Utes and has the potential to make her way back in the beam lineup in the coming weeks.

Fans can follow the Tigers on the team’s social media channels @LSUgym on Instagram and Twitter and

Week Six Rankings

The Tigers progressed to the eighth spot in the week six Road To National rankings. This marks the sixth consecutive week LSU has ranked amongst the top-10 teams in the nation.

LSU fell to No. 5 Auburn with a score of 197.500-197.750 on Friday night. The score was a season high road score for LSU to improve the team’s average to 197.200 in as many meets.

In the event rankings, The Tigers improved to third on vault, 14th on beam and 11th on floor. The squad placed ninth on bars.

Senior Alyona Shchennikova, junior Haleigh Bryant and sophomore Aleah Finnegan all rank in the top-25 gymnasts in the nation. The rankings placed Bryant at No. 8, Finnegan at No. 23 and Shchennikova at No. 24.

The Tigers sit at third in the conference behind Florida and Auburn and first on vault, third on bars, fifth on floor and sixth on beam.

Week Six Road To National Rankings (2/13/23)

Rank Name AVG
1 Oklahoma 198.038
2 Florida 197.838
3 Michigan 197.792
4 Utah 197.679
5 Auburn 197.446
6 UCLA 197.425
7 California 197.317
8 LSU 197.2
9 Alabama 197.196
10 Denver 197.15
11 Kentucky 197.083
12 Oregon State 196.961
13 Ohio State 196.835
14 Arkansas 196.738
15 Michigan State 196.713
16 Missouri 196.663
17 Minnesota 196.542
18 Iowa 196.533
19 Georgia 196.514
20 Arizona State 196.45
21 Southern Utah 196.429
22 Stanford 196.263
23 Illinois 196.225
24 Maryland 196.215
25 Washington 196.029