Gymnastics Faces No. 9 Missouri On The Road
COLUMBIA, MO — The No. 3 nationally ranked LSU Gymnastics team is on the road this week as the team will face No. 9 Missouri in their first conference road meet of the year on Friday, January 26 at 7:30 p.m. CT in the Hearnes Center.
“The mindset going into this week is the same as it is every week. Our goal is just to continue to improve on our performance every week and maintain a mindset of progress, intensity and focus,” said head coach Jay Clark.
“The most important thing is what happens next. Last Friday was a good confidence booster and our intention is to be that same team as we turn the page and move onto the next meet. Missouri is a good team and we’re excited to get in their environment. We want to be as consistently excellent as we can possibly be, and that’s what we’re going to try and do.”
The Friday Night Heights competition between the Tigers begins at 7:30 p.m. CT in the Hearnes Center on SEC Network with Bart Conner will be on play-by-play with Alicia Sacramone Quinn as the analyst. The first vault is set for 7:36 p.m. CT.
Live stats for the competition between the Tigers will be available on lsusports.net.
Scouting The Missouri Tigers
LSU holds a 48-9-0 overall record over Missouri and are 10-5-0 on the road. The last time the two teams met was in 2023, when LSU defeated No. 12 Missouri at home in the PMAC. Bryant scored a perfect 10 on vault and recorded her fourth-straight all-around title in that meet.
The last time LSU faced Missouri on the road was in 2022, when the home Tigers came out victorious in a tri-meet over LSU and Arkansas. Bryant also recorded a perfect 10 on vault in that meet as only a sophomore.
Missouri jumped three spots to No. 9 in the week three national polls after posting the program’s eighth-highest score last Saturday to re-enter the top 10. The team sits in the top-10 on vault, beam and floor with their averages of 49.300, 49.175 and 49.408 on the events, respectively.
The Black & Gold Tigers posted a 197.400 in their last meet on the road against No. 20 Georgia and had eight 9.9 routines across the afternoon.
The team has three gymnasts who rank among the top 20 individually on three different events in junior Jocelyn Moore, grad student Sienna Schreiber and junior Amari Celestine.
Last Time On The Floor
The Tigers posted the nation’s second highest score with their 198.125 over No. 6 Kentucky last Friday night in the PMAC. A record crowd of 12,331 fans came out to watch the Tigers defeat the Wildcats.
The score was the highest score by any SEC team so far this year. The victory also marked Jay Clark’s 50th win since being named head coach of the Fighting Tigers.
LSU recorded season high’s on three events with their scores of 49.525 on vault, 49.425 on beam and 49.725 on floor. The floor score was the third highest recorded in program history.
Both Haleigh Bryant and Kiya Johnson scored perfect 10’s against the Wildcats. Bryant earned her second perfect score on bars while Johnson marked her fifth on floor.
Bryant finished the night with a 39.825, securing the all-around title as well as the wins on vault and bars. Her three titles on the night moved her total to 65, with 25 on vault, nine on bars and 21 all-around.
Johnson had a season-high performance against the Wildcats, taking home the win on floor and finishing the night with a 39.650 in the all-around. Her floor title moved her career total to 16 on the event and 42 overall.
Bryant Named SEC Gymnast of the Week
Senior Haleigh Bryant continues to be one of the top performers in the country as she was named SEC Gymnast of the Week for the second time this year. She owns averages of 9.900+ on every event after three weeks of competition.
Bryant helped lead her team to a 198.125 over No. 6 Kentucky last Friday night as she posted scores of 9.900 or better on every event for the second week in a row. After performing a nearly-perfect vault with her score of 9.975 on Friday, Bryant continued her night with a perfect score on bars, followed by a 9.900 on beam and finished the night with a 9.950 on floor.
Already the all-time 10 leader in school history, Bryant added another perfect score to her resume on bars on Friday night in the PMAC. It was the second in her career on the event, making her only the second LSU gymnast to have multiple perfect scores on the event. She now owns 11 perfect scores in her career.
Bryant finished the night with a season-high 39.825 against the Wildcats, securing the all-around title as well as the wins on vault and bars. Her three titles on the night moved her total to 65, with 25 on vault, nine on bars and 21 all-around.
A native of Cornelius, North Carolina, Bryant’s 65 career titles currently sits eighth in program history. She is one win away from tying Jeanie Beadle in seventh place for most career individual titles. Her vault title places her fourth in the records while she’s fifth in the all-around.
Week Three Rankings
The Tigers moved up to No. 3 in the national polls after posting the second highest score in the country this weekend.
LSU owns top-10 placements on three events, including being the No. 1 floor squad in the country after week three. The Tigers 49.725 on floor against the Wildcats was the third highest in school history to earn them the top spot in the rankings. The team’s floor performance was highlighted by senior Kiya Johnson, who earned her fifth perfect score on the event.
The Tigers recorded a season high 49.525 on vault this weekend that moved them up to third in the rankings with an average of 49.375. Senior Haleigh Bryant is one of the top vaulters in the nation after posting a nearly perfect routine on Friday night.
On bars, the Tigers sit at fourth in the standings with an average of 49.492 through three meets. The bars rotation this weekend was highlighted by Bryant, who earned her second career perfect 10 on the event and took home the win.
The Tigers beam rotation last Friday was highlighted by Sierra Ballard, Kiya Johnson and Haleigh Bryant, who all posted a 9.900 to help the team record a season high 49.425 on the night. LSU now sits in the top-25 in the beam rankings after week three.
Individually, five Tigers earned a spot in the rankings for the second week in a row following their week three performances. Haleigh Bryant, Kiya Johnson, Aleah Finnegan, Konnor McClain, Amari Drayton are all amongst the top-25 gymnasts in the nation.
Bryant continues to show out week after week for the Tigers as she remains one of the top all-arounders in the country after week three. The senior currently shares the No. 1 spot as the top gymnast in the nation with her average of 39.708 in the all-around. She enters week four with averages of 9.900+ across the board and top-25 placements on all four events; third on vault, sixth on bars and 11th on bars and floor.
Johnson shares 13th and 5th place in the bars and floor rankings with her averages of 9.908 and 9.938 on both events, respectively. The fifth-year senior posted a 9.850 in the third spot on bars for the Tigers on Friday before capping off the night with a perfect 10 on floor in the anchor spot.
Finnegan continues to be one of the top beam performers in the country after week three. The junior scored a 9.850 in the anchor spot on Friday to place her 11th in the rankings with her average of 9.908.
The freshman duo of Amari Drayton and Konnor McClain continue to build momentum every week. Drayton competed on vault and floor against the Wildcats on Friday night and posted scores of 9.875 and 9.900. She sits at No. 24 in the individual vault rankings and No. 22 on floor.
McClain competed on three events for the Tigers on Friday night and made her debut on floor. She scored a 9.925 in her first floor routine in college to place her at No. 11 in the standings.
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.
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.
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