Da Boot Sports
LSU Sports Communications
By: Alyssa Leal
DULUTH, Ga. – The No. 6 LSU Gymnastics team finished third at the 2023 SEC Championships with a score of 197.800 on Saturday night in Gas South Arena.
LSU competed in Session II alongside top-seeded Florida, third seed Kentucky and fourth seed Alabama and recorded the program's third highest overall score at the conference championships with their score on the night.
The Tigers improved their NQS to 197.840 after their performance at the SEC Championships. Selections for the NCAA postseason will take place on Monday, March 20, at 11 a.m. CT on NCAA.com.
"We're always disappointed when we know we left things on the floor, but the other part of that is that they continued to show their fight and their grit. Our score was consistent with what've done all year," said head coach Jay Clark. "Given the circumstances, I am just proud of their continued fight. Now, we move onto regionals."
LSU started off on bars, where Alexis Jeffrey led off with a solid 9.850 routine. Olivia Dunne followed with a season high of 9.850. Tori Tatum scored her fourth 9.900 this season to match her career high. Aleah Finnegan added another 9.850 in the fourth spot and Haleigh Bryant anchored with a 9.875 to round out the team's score of 49.325.
The Tigers then moved to beam, where Shchennikova and Jeffrey each scored a 9.875. Sierra Ballard scored a 9.850 in the third spot and Bryant followed with a 9.825. Finnegan anchored with her 9.925 performance to close the second rotation with a score of 49.350 and notch the squad's sixth-highest score on the event at the conference meet.
Florida led the meet at the halfway point with a score of 99.075, while Alabama followed with a 98.925, Kentucky with a 98.725 and LSU with a 98.675.
LSU showed out in the third rotation on the floor. Ballard led off with a strong 9.900 to set the tone and Shchennikova followed with another 9.900. Chase Brock matched her career high and posted a 9.925, which she has recorded three times this season. Finnegan and Bryant were nearly perfect and earned 9.950's in the fifth and sixth spots to boost the Tigers floor score of 49.625. The score tied for the highest score on the event at the SEC Championships.
In the final rotation, Arenas started things off with her 9.900 on vault and Shchennikova followed with a 9.875. Finnegan earned a 9.900 in the third spot, while Bryce Wilson scored a career 9.925 in her first postseason routine as a Tiger. Bryant anchored the vault squad with a 9.900 to close with a score of 49.500 and post the program's sixth-highest score in the meet.
The Gators took the win in the evening session with their final score of 198.425, followed by Alabama's 197.925, LSU's 197.800 and Kentucky's 197.675.
The Tigers finished third in the SEC Championships in the squad's competition against all seven teams in the conference. After a full day of competition, Florida finished on top to win the title against Alabama, LSU, Kentucky, Auburn, Missouri, Arkansas and Georgia.
Bryant and Finnegan finished as two of the top floor performers in the conference as they tied for second on floor with their scores of 9.950, respectively. The two finished amongst the top-1o SEC performers in the competition as Finnegan placed fourth in the all-around with her score of 39.625 and Bryant placed seventh with her score of 39.550.
Four Tigers placed amongst the top-10 performers in the competition on vault. Wilson tied for fifth after her team-high performance while Arenas, Finnegan and Bryant tied for seventh. Finnegan also placed sixth on beam.
Tatum finished eighth on bars with her team-high 9.900 routine and Brock finished sixth on floor after matching her career high on the event. Ballard and Shchennikova also placed tenth on floor with their scores of 9.900.