Da Boot Sports
By: Terrill J. Weil
BATON ROUGE, LA - The LSU gymnastics team took to the floor in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center for the first time in 2023 looking for their first victory of the season after a disappointing 0-2 start, but the defending national champions and top ranked Oklahoma Sooners had other plans as the squeaked past the Tigers, 197.600-197.450,..
"Well, you never like to lose, but I'll tell you this. The kids showed tremendous fight and heart today. We went against the best team in the country and the defending national champions and showed a lot of guts," said head coach Jay Clark. "I'm just proud of their fight. After the emotion that surrounded Friday night with Kiya getting hurt, they picked themselves up, got on message, and competed fearlessly."
The 197.450 was the Tigers highest score of the season as they kept pace with the Sooners all meet long, but a key mental miscue late in competition killed any chance of an upset as Chase Brock fell to the mat on her final landing attempt on her floor routine, drawing a 9.150 score.
LSU started strong in the opening rotation on vault. After Elena Arenas opened with a 9.775,
Alyona Shchennikova recorded a 9.875,... Chase Brock scored a 9.800,... KJ Johnson landed a 9.875,... Aleah Finnegan recorded a 9.850 and then, cha-ching! Haleigh Bryant posted a 9.925,...
The bars were the Tigers best rotation event of the day with six impressive performances. Alexis Jeffrey led off the rotation with a 9.800, followed by Arenas with a 9.875,... Tori Tatum recorded a strong 9.875,... Finnegan scored a super 9.925,... Shehennikova landed a 9.875 and, cha-ching! Bryant rang up a 9.900,...
On the beam LSU was good enough to keep pace with the Sooners. Kai Rivers lead off with a 9.800 while Sierra Ballad recorded a solid 9.875,... KJ Jackson landed a 9.750,... Arena scored a very nice 9.875,... followed by, cha-ching! Bryant ringing up a 9.950 that I felt should have been a 10,... Finnegan finished off the beam rotation with a 9.775,...
The floor routines have recently been a strength for LSU and on this day four of the Lady Tigers flirted with a perfect 10. Ballard lead off with a fantastic routine, scoring a 9.900,... Shehennikova followed with an outstanding 9.925,... Brock recorded a 9.125,... Johnson danced to a 9.775,... then Finnegan and Bryant both finished with incredible routines. Finnegan with a 9.950 and Bryant with a 9.900,...
Haleigh Bryant impressively took the all around title on the day with a season high 39.675,... She has won the all around title in all three meets so far this season.
With the loss the Tigers are now 0-3 as they head into SEC play.
Next up LSU will host Missouri this Friday, Jan. 20 at 6:00pm CST in the PMAC.
Photos By: Michael Bacigalupi
Photos Below By: Jonathan Mailhes
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