No. 6 LSU gymnastics sets pace in four-way meet

LSU gymnastics coach Jay Clark and the Tigers will have the 2024 SEC Gymnastics Championships in New Orleans at the Smoothie King Center. PHOTO BY: Jonathan Mailhes

DENTON, Tex. – The sixth-ranked LSU gymnastics team scored a 197.625 and earned wins over Pittsburgh (195.600), Texas Woman’s (195.450) and Centenary (187.475) Friday evening at Kitty Magee Arena.

The road score marked the second-highest of the season for the Tigers.

LSU now has two regular season meets remaining before traveling to Birmingham, Alabama, for the 2022 SEC Championships.

“I thought we did what we needed to do today to get a nice road score,” LSU gymnastics coach Jay Clark said. “There are some things we still need to iron out and injuries to get through. I did like the fight though and response, especially from our freshmen. KJ (Johnson) and Aleah (Finnegan) showed real poise tonight and delivered when we needed them to.”

LSU gymnasts swept the all-around and every event on the night, led by Kiya Johnson’s 39.450.

The Tigers’ vault lineup scored a 49.500 to match their season high on the event. KJ Johnson scored a 9.95 on her Yurchenko Full, which was perfect for the 9.95 start value. Haleigh Bryant matched her with a 9.95 in the anchor spot. Elena Arenas and Kiya Johnson each scored a 9.875 and Sarah Edwards added a 9.85.

On floor, LSU scored a 49.475 for a its highest road score on the event this season. Kiya Johnson earned the win with a 9.95 in the anchor spot. Aleah Finnegan matched her career high on the event with a 9.90 and Olivia Dunne, KJ Johnson and Edwards each scored a 9.875.

Without Bridget Dean in the lineup, The Tigers scored a 49.225 on beam. Finnegan set a career high and earned her first collegiate win with a 9.925. Christina Desiderio opened with a 9.80 and Arenas also scored a 9.80. Bryant earned a 9.875 and Kiya Johnson scored a 9.825 in the sixth spot.

LSU started the meet with a 49.425 on bars. Kiya Johnson started the meet with a 9.80 and Elena arenas followed by a 9.875 to set a new career high. Alyona Shchennikova scored a 9.90 in her return to the bars lineup after missing the last two meets. Bryant and Sami Durante each scored a 9.925 to earn the victory on bars.

The Tigers return to Baton Rouge for their final SEC meet of the season against Kentucky at 7:15 p.m. Friday in the PMAC.

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