LSU Gold

Gymnastics Posts Season Best Road Performance; Falls To No. 5 Florida, 198.150-197.950

Results (.pdf) +0
Gymnastics Posts Season Best Road Performance; Falls To No. 5 Florida, 198.150-197.950

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The No. 2 LSU Gymnastics team (7-3, 4-2 SEC) fell to No. 5 Florida (10-1, 5-1 SEC) by a final score 198.150-197.950 on Friday night in the O’Connell Center.

The Tigers finished the night with a season high road score after putting up a strong performance. Their 197.950 is also the fourth-highest score away from the PMAC. 

“I think our team did enough to win in there tonight. They responded to the challenge, they did their job, and I’m proud of how they competed. I thought bars was better than what the scores indicated, but that’s not up to us. It was a great overall performance and without a doubt our best road performance of the year from top to bottom,” said head coach Jay Clark. 

“It was a great meet and great atmosphere. Florida is a good team. The sting of the loss bothers us a little bit naturally, but at the same time, we improved our NQS and kept ourselves where we want to be. Onto the next one.”

LSU began the meet on bars with Alexis Jeffrey in the leadoff spot, where she got things started with a 9.850. Ashley Cowan, Kiya Johnson and Konnor McClain all posted solid routines for the Tigers and scored three 9.825’s in their respective spots. Savannah Schoenherr recorded a 9.85 in the fifth spot in her return to Gainesville since joining the Tiger family. Haleigh Bryant anchored with the second highest bars score on the night with her 9.925.

Florida took the early lead in Gainesville with a score of 49.600-49.275 after the first rotation. The Tigers headed to vault as the Gators rotated to bars.

On vault, KJ Johnson led off with a 9.825 and Aleah Finnegan followed with a 9.800. Amari Drayton continued to impress in her freshman campaign as she stuck a yurchenko 1.5 that scored a 9.975 for the Tigers in the third spot. Schoenherr, Johnson and Bryant closed out the back half of the lineup with their scores of 9.875, 9.950 and 9.925. Johnson’s yurchenko double was a season high on the night.

Drayton’s nearly perfect routine earned her the top spot on the night and her first event victory in her young career. 

The LSU vault squad recorded a season high 49.550 in the second rotation to even the competition with the Gators at 98.825 at the halfway point in the O’Connell Center.

The Tigers continue to prove to be one of the top floor squad’s in the nation after matching the program’s highest score on the event against the Gators. Konnor McClain got things started for LSU on floor with her 9.900 in the leadoff spot, followed by fellow freshman teammate Drayton, who earned a 9.925. KJ Johnson showed out in the third spot as she matched her career high with her 9.950 performance. Finnegan, Bryant and Kiya Johnson kept the fire going for the Tigers in the last three spots. 

Finnegan found perfection in back-to-back weeks as she scored a 10 in the fourth spot on floor. It was her fourth perfect score on the event and sixth in her career. Bryant and Johnson kept the momentum going and both recorded 9.950’s to close out the best floor rotation of the year.

The Tigers’ 49.775  performance was the highest ever recorded on the road and put LSU in the lead heading into the final rotation by a score of 148.600-148.450. 

“That may be the best floor rotation I have ever witnessed by any team in my years of coaching. It was stellar,” said Clark. “They did exactly what we told them to do. They went to vault and responded and then went to floor and knocked it out of the park.”

Sierra Ballard and Kiya Johnson scored 9.825’s on beam, while Finnegan scored a 9.800. Annie Beard received a 9.675. McClain and Bryant both tallied a pair of 9.950 to lead the Tigers on the event and finish the final rotation with a 49.350. 

Bryant continues to show out for the Tigers as she recorded scores of 9.9+ on every event for LSU for a score of 39.750 on the night. 

Finnegan finished as the top floor performer on the night for her second floor title this year to move her total to seven on the event. She now owns 19 individual wins in her career.

LSU will host Alabama next Friday, March 1 at 5 p.m. CT in the PMAC. The competition between the Tigers and the Tide will be the squad’s second meet on ESPN2 this year.