Gymnastics Shines In Gym 101 Showcase
BATON ROUGE – The LSU Gymnastics program shined at its annual Gym 101 showcase on Saturday evening inside the Pete Maravich Assembly Center as the Tigers showcased 50 routines ahead of the 2024 season.
“It was extremely encouraging to see what we saw tonight. It takes incredible mental fortitude to do what they did tonight this early in the year, so I’m just proud of them,” said head coach Jay Clark. “We’re certainly pleased with what we did tonight, but not satisfied. We are going to continue to iron out the wrinkles and get better, but I’m excited about the potential.”
The Gym 101 showcase had a different format this year compared to previous ones, with the team splitting into two groups and alternating between two events to help prepare the Tigers for meets in the spring that will feature more than two teams. The first rotation of the meet started with one group on the beam and the other on the floor.
The night saw multiple debut’s with routines from freshmen Konnor McClain, Amari Drayton and Kylie Coen and newcomers Savannah Schoenherr and Jillian Hoffman. The veteran duo of Cammy Hall and Kiya Johnson also made their returns in the showcase after suffering injury last season.
“I was so pleased to have them (Kiya & Cammy) back tonight. It’s so nice to see Kiya look like Kiya. Having her influence and consistency back is so great for us.”
Ashley Cowan opened her second year with a solid floor routine in the first rotation as she stuck all passes and got the crowd energized. The rotation saw freshman Kylie Coen make her debut in front of the home audience in the second spot, followed by veteran senior Olivia Dunne in the third spot. In the fourth spot, sixth-year senior Cammy Hall made her debut as a Tiger after returning from injury last season followed by sophomore Bryce Wilson. Alexis Jeffrey had a good routine in the sixth spot and freshman Amari Drayton’s debut routine was a hit with the crowd. Fan favorite KJ Johnson ended the floor rotation by debuting a new opening pass.
Sophomore Annie Beard continued the debuts on the night as she set the tone on beam with a poised routine. Veterans Alyona Schennikova and Sierra Ballard followed in the second and third spots with solid outings ahead of freshman Konnor McClain’s debut routine at spot four. Senior Haleigh Bryant competed in the fifth spot and was followed by Kiya Johnson, who stuck the landing in her first routine since her injury early in the 2023 season. The final routine went to newcomer Savannah Schoenherr, who dazzled the attending audience for the first time in Purple & Gold.
The second rotation featured the first group move to the floor and the second group move to the vault. On floor, Ballard opened the rotation in the first spot and was followed by Schoenherr. The veteran pairing of Shchennikova and Chase Brock followed in the third and fourth spots ahead of McClain’s floor debut at five. The rotation ended with a tremendous routine from Haleigh Bryant at the sixth spot and was followed by a strong return to the floor from Kiya Johnson to wrap it up.
On vault, Wilson opened and was followed by Hall. KJ Johnson stuck the landing in the third spot and was followed by an impressive vault from Tatum. Fifth-year transfer Jillian Hoffman competed in the fifth spot for her first routine as a Tiger and the rotation concluded with Drayton.
The third rotation saw the first group move to the vault while the second group headed to bars. Shchennikova opened with a good routine on vault and was followed by McClain. Schoenherr stuck the landing in the third spot and was followed by Kiya Johnson at spot four. The fifth spot saw Brock give a veteran performance and stuck the landing with grace. The rotation concluded with Bryant executing on her routine in the sixth slot.
At bars, Jeffrey opened the rotation and was followed by a tremendous routine from Tatum at the second spot. Dunne dazzled in the third spot with an impressive outing and was followed by a good performance from Cowan in the fourth spot. The fifth and final spot went to Drayton, who had a solid performance in her first bars routine as a Tiger.
The final rotation saw the first group end the evening on bars and the second group on beam. Johnson’s opening routine on bars saw her stick the landing to conclude her all-around return and was followed by Shchennikova in the second spot. At the third spot, McClain’s first bar routine in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center was met with applause after a strong performance. The final two spots saw Schoenherr at the fifth spot and Bryant anchor at the sixth.
On beam, Jeffrey’s leadoff routine was a solid tone setter and Cowan continued her impressive night in the second spot. Coen completed her first beam routine in the third spot and was followed by Dunne in the fourth set. KJ Johnson put in a strong performance at the fifth spot and the event concluded with a nearly flawless performance from Aleah Finnegan.
“Some people that stuck out tonight were Chase’s vault and floor and obviously Haleigh and Kiya did their thing. I thought Ashley Cowan did pretty well on three events and she’s a good competitor. Savannah did a great job for us tonight. She’s a great addition to this team. There were so many out there to name,” said Clark.
Following the conclusion of the event, fans stuck around for an autograph session with the team inside the legend’s club.
The No. 3 Tigers officially kick off the 2024 season on Friday, January 5 at 7:30 p.m. CT when the No. 14 Ohio State Buckeyes come to Baton Rouge. The home opener meet will be broadcasted live on the SEC Network.