Hay-Hay piles up more gymnastics honors

LSU freshman Haleigh Bryant has been named the Women’s Collegiate Gymnastics Association Region 1 Gymnast of the Year along with Alabama’s Luisa Blanco.

Bryant is the 2021 Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Year and one of the best all-around gymnasts in the country. The Cornelius, North Carolina native has scored two perfect 10’s this season on vault, including one in the NCAA Regional Final on Saturday.

In her debut season, Bryant finished third on vault, fourth on floor and ninth in the all-around in the nation. The top freshman in the country, Bryant won the SEC vault title. Bryant owns career highs of 10 on vault, 9.90 on bars and beam, 9.975 on floor and 39.625 in the all-around this season.

Also, the WCGA announced former LSU gymnastics meet manager Richard Dempsey is the Region 1 Administrator of the Year. He served as the Tigers meet manager for six years before being named the assistant athletic director for athletic event and facility operations at Wake Forest in March.

In 2021, Dempsey went above and beyond during the COVID-19 pandemic to provide a safe environment for gymnasts, judges, coaches and fans at home meets in the PMAC. He worked with LSU officials to enact procedures and policies for fans that resulted in the program averaging more than 2,000 fans a meet, which marked the most in the nation.

Outside of this season, Dempsey provided leadership to the entire LSU gymnastics external group during his time working with the program. He spearheaded “The Landing”, a premium seating option for groups on the floor of the PMAC in 2020 and served as the meet director for the 2019 NCAA Baton Rouge Regional.

“Richard is without a doubt the most thoughtful and detail-oriented event manager I have ever worked with,” LSU gymnastics head coach Jay Clark said. “He is patient and creative in his problem-solving efforts. His consideration for others involved in the process, sets him apart in ways that make him a joy to work with. He will be missed terribly by this program.”

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