Gymnastics Set To Open 2024 Season On Friday
BATON ROUGE — The third-ranked LSU Gymnastics team kicks off the 2024 season against No. 14 Ohio State on Friday, January 5 at 7:30 p.m. CT inside the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
“It’s going to be a great environment in the PMAC on Friday night as we host Ohio State,” said head coach Jay Clark. “They are a great up and coming team who made it to the round of 16 last year, which is difficult today with so many great teams. It’ll be a good test for us to get this season started.”
“We’re excited to get in front of our fans. It’s always good when you can open the season at home before you have to go on the road and we’re expecting a big crowd tomorrow night. This team is as talented as I’ve ever coached and we’re excited to start with a clean slate.”
Introductions begin at 7:19 p.m. in the PMAC followed by the banner drop for the 2023 Final Four team. Competition begins with the first vault set for 7:32 p.m. CT. The opening Friday Night Heights competition will air on SEC Network with Bart Connor and Kathy Johnson Clarke on the call.
Live stats for the competition between the Tigers and the Buckeyes are available on lsusports.net.
There will be free capes and light up crowns to the first 1,500 fans to arrive on Friday. Doors to the arena open at 6 p.m. CT.
All meet promotions and giveaways items for the 2024 season can be found here.
LSU is 39-14-1 in season openers inside the PMAC. The Tigers hold an undefeated 13-0-0 record against the Buckeyes and are 3-0-0 at home.
The two teams last met during the regular season in 2005 when the Tigers defeated the Buckeyes away from home in a ranked matchup. LSU and Ohio State last faced each other in postseason competition at the 2013 NCAA Columbus Regional.
Scouting The Buckeyes
The Buckeyes earned its highest result in the WCGA preseason coaches’ poll in 10 years after being voted No. 14. The Buckeyes finished the 2023 regular season 13th nationally.
Ohio State returns 11 members from last season’s roster and welcomes six newcomers to the roster. The Buckeyes closed the 2023 season with a program-record score of 197.750 in the NCAA Regional Final, just .10 shy of qualifying for the national championship meet. Sophomore Payton Harris represented her team at nationals individually, competing in the all-around and finishing 11th overall.
Head Coach Jay Clark enters his fourth season leading the Tigers and 13th season overall as he continues to grow the LSU Gymnastics program. He is joined by Assistant Coaches Garrett Griffeth, Ashleigh Gnat and Courtney McCool Griffeth. Gnat is in her fourth season with the Tigers while the Griffeth duo enters their third season on staff.
The Tigers climbed their way to the NCAA Championship Final in Fort Worth for the ninth time in program history in 2023. The Final Four appearance marked the second time that LSU has advanced to the finals since the format began in 2019 and the first time under Clark’s tenure.
Last season marked the program’s 38th straight appearance in the NCAA postseason and 40th overall appearance for the Tigers. With the team advancing out of regionals, LSU marked their 32nd program appearance in the NCAA Championships.
LSU has a total of 16 individual national titles across 10 gymnasts in program history, including current senior Haleigh Bryant who was named the NCAA vault champion in 2021.
The Tigers own four SEC Championship titles in program history, winning three consecutive titles from 2017 to 2019. The last time LSU took home the conference title was in 2019 in the Smoothie King Center, the site of this year’s conference championship.
2023 Season Recap
The Tigers concluded the 2023 season at the NCAA Championship Final in Fort Worth with their fourth place finish nationally; the program returns all routines.
After advancing out of the NCAA Denver Regional, the Tigers finished on top of the NCAA Semifinals with their score of 197.475 to earn their spot in the championship.
LSU finished ranked in the top-10 nationally on all four events in 2023 as the squad finished third on vault, third on floor, ninth on bars and 10th on beam. The Tigers held an NQS of 49.500 on vault, 49.420 on bars, 49.415 on beam and 49.595 on floor.
The squad posted a season high 198.100 in the regular season against No. 2 Florida to mark the program’s ninth highest overall score. The Tigers season high road score came in a 197.975-197.925 victory over No. 9 Alabama.
Bryant and Finnegan combined for 15 WCGA All-American honors in 2023. The duo also combined for nine perfect scores on the year, the most in a single season.
This year’s preseason ranking marks the 12th straight year that the Tigers will begin the season as one of the top-10 teams in the country and the 27th year in the top-25.
The Tigers totaled 1,628 points and five first place votes in the poll to place them in the top-five nationally, sitting only behind Florida and Oklahoma. Florida tallied 1,634 points while Oklahoma received 1,709 to make the Sooners the top team heading into the 2024 season.
The top-four teams in the poll all appeared in the 2023 NCAA Championship Final, where LSU finished fourth.
No. 3 LSU will meet 12 opponents that earned a spot in the poll during the regular season, including four conference matchups at home against No. 8 Alabama, No. 9 Kentucky, No. 15 Arkansas, and No. 17 Auburn. Every team in the SEC earned a spot in the top-20 in this year’s poll.
Reaching New Heights
The Tigers reached a new milestone as the program set a new record of over 8,000 season tickets sold prior to the start of the 2024 season.
With the goal of selling out the PMAC, Tiger fans have the opportunity to set a new attendance record this year as the Tiger’s home schedule features six meets inside the PMAC.
LSU has finished in the top four of average attendance nationally for six consecutive years, claiming the No. 1 spot in 2022. Over 50,000 fans filled the seats of the PMAC through five home meets in 2023, earning LSU the highest attendance average in the SEC last season with an average of 12,075.
The 2024 Squad
This year’s roster is composed of 22 gymnasts with 11 seniors, four juniors, three sophomores and four freshmen. The Tigers welcomed two transfers this year in Savannah Schoenherr and Jillian Hoffman and four new freshmen as Konnor McClain, Amari Drayton, Kylie Coen and Leah Miller begin their first year in the Purple & Gold.
Cammy Hall is a sixth-year who is returning this year from injury, while fifth-year seniors Kiya Johnson, Alyona Shchennikova and Kai Rivers all returned for their final year of competition with the Tigers.
Haleigh Bryant, Sierra Ballard, Chase Brock, Elena Arenas and Olivia Dunne all enter their senior year while Aleah Finnegan, Alexis Jeffrey, Tori Tatum, KJ Johnson begin their junior season.
Ashley Cowan, Bryce Wilson and Annie Beard enter their second year as Tigers.
All single-meet tickets are available at the general admission level. Ticket prices vary by meet with a range of $10-$14 for adults and $5-$7 for youth (ages 3-12).
Discounted group tickets for 15 or more are available by calling the ticket sales and services staff at 225-578-2184.
For all ticket information, please visit lsutix.net.
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