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No. 8 Gymnastics Posts Season High Score of 198.100, Defeats No. 2 Florida

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No. 8 Gymnastics Posts Season High Score of 198.100, Defeats No. 2 Florida

BATON ROUGE- The No. 8 LSU Gymnastics team handed No. 2 Florida their first loss of the season, taking down the Gators with a score of 198.100-197.975 inside the PMAC on Friday night.

It was a season high victory for the Tigers to tie for the ninth highest overall score in program history. The night was highlighted by another perfect score from sophomore Aleah Finnegan, who recorded her first 10 on beam and third in her career.

“We needed that. We’ve been improving week after week and the one thing that was missing was the win. It was special to get a win like that,” said head coach Jay Clark. “They did such a great job. Our message all week was to just put pressure on them and see what happens, and we did that and performed at a high-level tonight. Now, we get ready to go again next week at Alabama.”

LSU scored a 49.475 on vault to set the tone for the meet. Junior Elena Arenas leadoff with a season high. Finnegan scored a 9.950 in the third spot while sophomore KJ Johnson earned a 9.850. Junior Haleigh Bryant scored anchored with a 9.975 to take the win and close out strong.

The Tigers outscored the Gators 49.475-49.350 to take the lead after the first rotation. 

On bars, the Tigers recorded four scores of 9.900 plus. Sophomore Alexis Jeffrey led off with a 9.900 and Arenas followed with another 9.900 to record a career high. Sophomore Tori Tatum added a 9.900 as well. The Tigers earned a 49.500 in the second rotation to match its season high score. Finnegan and senior Alyona Shchennikova both recorded 9.850’s before Bryant anchored with a 9.950 to match her career high in the event. 

LSU held on to the lead at the halfway point with a score of 98.975-98.775 heading into beam. 

Arenas led off on beam with a 9.825 followed by Shchennikova with a 9.850. Senior Kai Rivers had a strong routine to earn her second straight 9.900 in the third spot. KJ Johnson recorded a 9.875 in the fourth spot to earn a career high in only her fourth appearance on beam. Bryant added a 9.925 of her own before Finnegan anchored with a perfect score to propel the Tigers to a season high score of 49.550.

It was Finnegan’s third straight perfect score in three meets and first on beam. She now owns three perfect 10’s; one on floor, one on vault and one on beam.

In the final rotation, junior Sierra Ballard led off with a 9.875 and Shchennikova followed with a 9.925 to match her career high. Arenas scored a 9.825 in her first appearance on floor this season. KJ Johnson added a 9.950 to match her career high and Finnegan followed with a 9.900. Bryant anchored in fashion with her 9.925 routine as the Tigers finished the night with a floor score of 49.575 to complete the upset.

The Tigers handed the Gators their first loss of the season with a final score of 198.100-197.975. The victory marked LSU’s first win over Florida since 2018. 

Bryant took home the win on vault, moving her total to 18 titles this season and her sixth on vault. Finnegan took the beam co-title, alongside Florida’s Trinity Thomas, who also scored a perfect 10. KJ Johnson took the co-title on floor with her career high performance to record her second title this year. 

Arena competed in the all-around for the first time in her career, finishing with a score of 39.425 on the night. 

LSU will be back in action on Friday, February 24, as they travel to Tuscaloosa to take on No. 9 Alabama at 7 p.m. CT on SEC Network Plus.