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Gymnastics Defeats No. 12 Auburn in Front of Sold Out Crowd

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Gymnastics Defeats No. 12 Auburn in Front of Sold Out Crowd

BATON ROUGE — The No. 3 LSU Gymnastics team (7-2, 4-1 SEC) defeated No. 12 Auburn (5-6, 1-4 SEC) in front of a sold out crowd by a score of 198.300-197.100 on Friday night in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center. 

The victory marked LSU’s eighth straight win over the visiting Tigers when facing off in the PMAC. The score was also the squad’s third 198 of the year, making LSU the team with the second-most scores on that scale so far this year.

“Great night. Great atmosphere. We can’t thank the fans enough for coming here and selling this place out. That was a lot of fun,” said head coach Jay Clark. “LSU people are special. To be able to support your baseball team as defending national champions and then come across the street and seat 12,740 is awesome. I don’t know any other place in the country that would do that. We are grateful.”

The LSU vault squad kicked off the Friday Night Heights competition in Baton Rouge with a 9.775 from KJ Johnson. Aleah Finnegan posted a season high 9.995 in the second spot. Amari Drayton earned a 9.900 while Savannah Schoenherr followed with a 9.875. Kiya Johnson posted a 9.850 before Haleigh Bryant anchored with a 9.900 to close out the first rotation with a 49.475.

The home Tigers moved to bars for their second rotation where Alexis Jeffrey earned a 9.850 in the leadoff spot. Tori Tatum made her second appearance on bars this season, posting a 9.800. In the third spot, Ashley Cowan matched her career high of 9.900 while Kiya Johnson added a 9.875. Savannah Schoenherr and Bryant both recorded a pair of 9.925’s for the Tigers to close out the first half of the meet.

LSU earned a 49.475 on bars to extend their lead to 98.950-98.350 at the halfway point in the PMAC.

Sierra Ballard led off with a 9.875 to get things started on beam in the third rotation. Jeffrey followed with a 9.925, a career high performance. Konnor McClain recorded a nearly-perfect routine in the third spot with her 9.975. Kiya Johnson and Bryant both posted scores of 9.950 for the Tigers before Finnegan anchored with a 9.925.

The Tigers recorded a season high 49.725 on beam, which matched the highest score on the event in program history. The score has only been achieved four times in school history, with the last time being in 2018. 

LSU led Auburn by a score of 148.675-147.650 heading into the final rotation in the PMAC.

Ballard returned to the lead off spot for the floor squad and scored a 9.775. Drayton matched her career high of a 9.925 in the second spot. KJ Johnson followed, tallying another 9.925. Finnegan performed a perfect routine, notching her fifth perfect score and third on floor. Still with two routines to go on the night, Bryant kept the momentum going with her 9.925 routine and Olivia Dunne closed out the rotation with a 9.850 after entering the lineup at the last minute.

LSU hit every routine in front of 12,740 fans in the PMAC, the seventh largest attendance in school history. The night was highlighted by a program-high beam performance that helped the team earn the victory over No. 12 Auburn and secure their fifth conference win and seventh over a ranked opponent this year.

Five LSU Tigers had season high performances against Auburn. Finnegan recorded season highs on vault, floor and beam, while Kiya Johnson’s beam routine was also a season high. Cowan matched her career high on bars and Jeffrey set a new career high on beam with her 9.925 performance. 

Finnegan finished the meet as the top performer on vault and floor. She now owns 18 titles in her career and added to her individual event titles with six on floor and two on vault.

Bryant earned a share of the bars title with teammates Schoenherr as well her third straight all-around title and fifth this year. She finished the night with a score of 39.700.

The senior now owns 75 career individual titles and moved her total to 24 in the all-around and 11 on bars. Her two titles on the night put her ahead of Susan Jackson in the program records, as she now sits at sixth all-time.

It was Schoenherr’s second title in the Purple & Gold and second on bars.

McClain’s beam routine earned her the victory on the event, moving her total to four this year – three of those coming on beam.

LSU will get ready to travel to Gainesville and face Florida this week on Friday, February 23 at 6 p.m. CT on ESPN2.