No. 2 LSU Gymnastics easily takes down Alabama, awaits Kentucky-Florida result

Photo by LSU Athletics

In a thrilling conclusion to their conference season, LSU gymnastics demonstrated resilience and determination, securing a decisive victory over Alabama with a score of 198.325-197.325.

In the context of the season, the LSU Tigers Gymnastics squad sought redemption after just their second loss to Florida. Despite the setback, they maintained their No. 2 spot in the rankings. In their final SEC meet, a clash with No. 9 Alabama, the Tigers eyed not only a win but also the potential to clinch the regular season SEC title and the No. 1 seed in the SEC Championships.

Now, they eagerly await the results of Sunday’s Florida vs. Kentucky meet to determine their standing in the broader competition.

While LSU excelled across all events, their prowess on the floor was particularly dazzling with the addition of a perfect 10 from Haleigh Bryant. The No. 2 Tigers closed the floor routine with an impressive six scores surpassing 9.90, with Sierra Ballard’s 9.90 being the only one dropped. Ballard emphasized the team’s depth, stating, “Our floor rotation is extremely talented, but it doesn’t stop at the top six. We have a top nine who can go 9.90 or above.”

Bryant added to the spectacle by securing her 14th perfect 10 in her career, marking her third on the floor. LSU coach Jay Clark expressed his admiration, saying, “I never get tired of watching her. It’s remarkable. She’s amazing.”

The freshmen gymnasts, Konnor McClain and Amari Drayton, initiated the final rotation with flair, scoring 9.925s on the floor. KJ Johnson continued the excellence with a near-perfect routine, scoring a 9.975, followed by Aleah Finnegan with a solid 9.950.

Starting on vault with KJ Johnson in the leadoff spot with a score of 9.875, her highest score in a month. Aleah Finnegan, finding her rhythm in recent meets, followed with a 9.875. Despite a stumble by freshman Amari Drayton, scoring a 9.725, Chase Brock seized the opportunity with a noteworthy 9.875. Kiya Johnson and Haleigh Bryant maintained the momentum, both scoring 9.875. Bryant, anchoring as usual, finally broke into the 9.9s with a stellar 9.950. The No. 9 Tide struggled to surpass 9.875, allowing the Tigers to take their first lead of the night 49.450-49.200.

Moving to the second rotation, Alexis Jeffrey continued to lead off on bars for LSU, maintaining her impressive streak with a 9.875. Ashley Cowan, despite an up-and-down season, scored a season-high 9.925. Kiya Johnson, overcoming a recent slump on bars, secured a 9.900. Freshman Konnor McClain, breaking through her recent struggles, scored a 9.900. Tori Tatum and Haleigh Bryant concluded the impressive rotation with scores of 9.950 and 9.975, respectively, resulting in a team score of 49.650 and an extended lead over Alabama.

After the break, the Tigers moved to beam for their third event of the night. Sierra Ballard, leading off on beam, displayed consistent performance, averaging a 9.850 over the last four meets. Despite a near fall, she scored a 9.825. Alexis Jeffrey, going second on beam, showcased improved consistency, scoring a noteworthy 9.900. Konnor McClain, despite being one of the nation’s top beam gymnasts, scored a 9.875, her lowest since January 19th.

Although LSU decisively defeated Alabama, the team remains focused on the broader picture. With the Podium Challenge and SEC Championships ahead, the Tigers aim to carry their momentum forward.

Coach Clark expressed optimism, stating, “Tonight certainly helped our confidence, but I don’t think we’re done.”

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