Johnson achieves seventh perfect 10, boosting No. 5 LSU gymnastics past No. 8 Alabama

LSU gymnastics coach Jay Clark cheers on Kiya Johnson earlier this season. PHOTO BY: Jonathan Mailhes,

The fifth-ranked LSU gymnastics team scored a season-high 198.050 to take down eighth-ranked Alabama Friday night inside the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.

The score marked the 15th 198.000 or higher in school history.

LSU (4-1, 3-1 in SEC) is the fifth team in the country to score a 198 in 2022 and owns the fifth-most 198-plus scores in all of NCAA Gymnastics.

“It was another great atmosphere and great score,” LSU gymnastics coach Jay Clark said. “It was a real big win, but the great thing is we still have more room to improve. The biggest thing for me is that every leadoff scored a 9.90. Those first three routines are so important.

“I am so happy with the win. I think it was the right decision to pull Kiya. There was no sense in putting her out there since we nurse her Achilles like we do. We knew we won, and had the highest score of the year.”

Junior Kiya Johnson anchored the LSU beam lineup, which scored a 49.650, with a perfect score. The ten marked the seventh for Johnson in her career and second on beam. She became the sixth LSU gymnast to score multiple perfect scores on beam.

Desiderio led off the beam lineup again with a 9.90. Bridget Dean scored a 9.90 in the third spot and Haleigh Bryant set a career high with a 9.95 Aleah Finnegan matched her career high with a 9.90 and Johnson anchored with the 10. LSU’s beam score of 49.600 marked the fourth-highest score in school history.

LSU was pushed to a 198-team score after a 49.450 on floor. Desiderio led off with a 9.90 and Olivia Dunne set a new career high with a 9.90. KJ Johnson and Bryant scored a 9.875, sandwiched between a 9.90 from Finnegan.

The Tigers opened the night with a 49.500 on vault. Kai Rivers and Sarah Edwards each opened with highs of 9.90. After a 9.875 from Elena Arenas and KJ Johnson, Kiya Johnson scored a 9.90 and Bryant anchored with a 9.925.

With 49.500-49.300 lead after the opening rotation, the Tigers scored a 49.450 to keep the momentum going. Kiya Johnson started with a 9.90 and Rivers followed with a 9.875. Dunne scored a 9.90 and Bryant went 9.925. Sami Durante anchored with a 9.95

LSU will have a quick turnaround as the team will travel to Columbia, Missouri, on Saturday. The Tigers will take on Arkansas and Missouri at noon Sunday in a rescheduled meet due to COVID-19 postponements in January. The meet will be streamed on WatchESPN.com and the app.

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