High expectations: LSU gymnastics team ranked No. 3 nationally in preseason poll

LSU gymnastics coach Jay Clark has his Tigers ranked No. 3 in the preseason. Standout Kiya Johnson returns to a deep and talented team. PHOTO BY: Jonathan Mailhes,

The LSU gymnastics team, which reached the Final Four last season, will begin the 2024 season ranked No. 3 in the Women’s Collegiate Gymnastics Association preseason coaches’ poll.

LSU, of coach Jay Clark, totaled 1,628 points and received five first-place votes, sitting only behind Oklahoma (1,709 points) Florida (1,634). This year’s preseason ranking marks the 12th straight year that the Tigers will open the season ranked in the top 10 and the 27th year in the top 25.

The WCGA preseason poll is made up of the top 36 teams in nationally and is voted on by members of the association.

LSU faces the poll’s top-two ranked teams on the road in 2024. The Tigers will compete against defending national champions and No. 1 Oklahoma in an early-season quad meet along with No. 4 Utah and No. 5 UCLA on January 13. The squad will travel to Gainesville to take on No. 2 Florida on February 23. 

LSU meets 12 opponents that earned spots in the poll during the regular season, including four conference matchups at home against No. 8 Alabama, No. 9 Kentucky, No. 15 Arkansas, and No. 17 Auburn. Every team in the SEC earned a spot in the top 20 in this year’s poll.

The Tigers will open the ’24 season at home at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center against No. 14 Ohio State on January 5 and are also set to face No. 12 Missouri (Jan. 26), No. 16 Georgia (Feb. 9) and No. 32 North Carolina (March 15).

LSU’s 22-member roster is composed of 11 seniors, four juniors, three sophomores and four freshmen.

The Tigers welcomed two sixth-year transfers in Savannah Schoenherr and Jillian Hoffman and four new freshmen as Konnor McClain, Amari Drayton, Kylie Coen and Leah Miller.

Cammy Hall is a sixth-year who is returning this year from injury, while fifth-year seniors Kiya Johnson, Alyona Shchennikova and Kai Rivers all returned for their final year of competition. 

Haleigh Bryant, Sierra Ballard, Chase Brock, Elena Arenas and Olivia Dunne all enter their senior year while Aleah Finnegan, Alexis Jeffrey, Tori Tatum, KJ Johnson enter their junior season.  Ashley Cowan, Bryce Wilson and Annie Beard enter their second year as Tigers.

LSU set a record with over 8,000 season tickets sold. The Tigers home schedule features six meets and single-meet tickets are available at the general admission level with prices varying by meet, ranging from $10-$14 for adults and $5-$7 for youth (ages 3-12).

2023-24 WCGA Preseason Coaches Poll:

Rank, Team, Points (First Place Votes)

  1. Oklahoma (1709 pts; 36 first place)
  2. Florida (1634 points) (3 first-place votes)
  3. LSU (1628 points) (5 first-place votes)
  4. Utah (1516 points) (2 first-place votes)
  5. UCLA (1499 points) (1 first-place vote) 
  6. Michigan (1466 points) (1 first-place vote)
  7. California (1465 points)
  8. Alabama (1383 points)
  9. Kentucky (1326 points)
  10. Denver (1273 points)
  11. Michigan State (1240 points)
  12. Missouri (1082 points)
  13. Oregon State (1065 points)
  14. Ohio State (1017 points)
  15. Arkansas (999 points)
  16. Georgia (980 points)
  17. Auburn (940 points)
  18. Minnesota (880 points)
  19. Arizona State (873 points)
  20. Stanford (796 points)
  21. Washington (795 points)
  22. Arizona (679 points)
  23. Iowa (638 points)
  24. Southern Utah (555 points)
  25. Maryland (548 points)
  26. Illinois (506 points)
  27. Nebraska (445 points)
  28. Penn State (429 points)
  29. Boise State (393 points)
  30. North Carolina State (314 points)
  31. BYU (311 points)
  32. North Carolina (263 points)
  33. Western Michigan (227 points)
  34. West Virginia (220 points)
  35. Clemson (148 points)
  36. Towson (137 points)
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