Seventh-ranked LSU gymnastics closes out regular season finale with season-high score in upset of fourth-ranked Utah

LSU's Aleah Finegan posted a 9.875 on beam during her team's win over Utah. PHOTO BY: LSU gymnastics Twitter.

The seventh-ranked LSU Gymnastics team scored a season high 198.125 to take down fourth-ranked Utah in the regular season finale Friday night inside the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.

The Tigers defeated the Utes, who scored a 197.875, in a thrilling meet in front of a crowd of 10,845.

LSU officially finished No. 1 in the country in average attendance for the first time in school history, overtaking Utah, who held the No. 1 ranking since 2004, for the top spot in the country.

Haleigh Bryant started the final home meet with a perfect score on vault. The 10 marked the fifth in her career. She is now four away from tying the record for career perfect scores.

“We really needed this meet,” LSU gymnastics coach Jay Clark said. “We needed to have this type of performance after last week and all the things that we’ve had stacked against us. The biggest challenge was believing it. This was the best meet we have had all year and sustained energy throughout.”

Bryant won the vault with a perfect score as well as the all-around with a 39.700. Alyona Shchennikova scored a 9.925 for the win on bars and Sarah Edwards had a 9.975 on floor to win the event.

LSU opened on fire with a 49.525 on vault for a new season high, punctuated by Byrant’s perfect score. Elena Arenas led the meet off with a 9.90 and stick on her Yurchenko Full. Shchennikova and Sarah Edwards followed with a 9.80 and KJ Johnson scored a 9.85 on her stuck Yurchenko Full. Kiya Johnson just missed out on a perfect 10 on vault with a season-high 9.975 but she set her teammate Bryant in the anchor spot.

The Tigers scored a 49.425 to extend their lead at the halfway point. Kiya Johnson started the rotation with a 9.90 and Arenas followed with a 9.875. Bryant gave the Tigers a 9.90 in the fourth spot followed by Shchennikova’s 9.925 and 9.825 from Sami Durante.

It was another consistent rotation for the squad with a 49.500. In her final performance on beam inside the PMAC, senior Christina Desiderio scored a 9.925. Kai Rivers returned to the lineup for the Tigers and scored a 9.90. Senior Bridget Dean scored a 9.85 in her final performance in the PMAC followed by Bryant’s 9.85. Freshman Aleah Finnegan gave the squad a 9.875 and Kiya Johnson anchored with a 9.95.

LSU scored a 49.675 on floor to outlast Utah. Desiderio started the rotation with a 9.925 and Shchennikova scored a 9.90. Edwards won the event with a 9.975 in her final routine in the PMAC. In the final three routines, KJ Johnson scored a 9.90, Finnegan scored a 9.925 and Bryant wrapped up with a 9.95.

LSU will now compete at SEC Championships March 19 in Birmingham, Alabama. Seeding will be determined following Saturday’s meets and released via LSU Gymnastics social media.

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Tiger Rag News Services

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