That’s a Wrap! LSU Gymnastics completes regular season unbeaten at home, head to NOLA next

PHOTO By LSU Athletics

The No. 2 LSU Gymnastics team (12-3, 5-2 SEC) defeated North Carolina (5-12, 1-5 ACC) by a score of 198.250-196.075 to close out the regular season with a win on Friday night in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.

Tiger Nation continued to show out in the PMAC for the final home meet of the year and senior night. The Tigers secured their third straight sell-out , the most in a single season, and welcomed their largest crowd this season and fourth largest in program history as 13,328 Tiger fans showed out to watch the squad take down the Tar Heels.

LSU’s victory on the night moved their home record to 6-0 on the year, marking the program’s first undefeated home season since 2018. The Tigers have achieved this record on five separate occasions in past seasons in 2018, 2017, 2014, 2010 and 1987.

“It was a good night. We made some changes in the lineup and got some new people out there. We didn’t have the edge I thought we had the past four or five weeks, but I’m pleased with how we did,” said head coach Jay Clark. “If we want to be the best we have to continue to act like the best.”

“We have a tremendous group of seniors whether they are fourth, fifth or sixth years. All of them have exhibited great integrity and character about what they do. They go out and represent us in every possible way. Seen or unseen they have represented LSU like they have been here the whole time. I’m very proud of them.”

KJ Johnson started the competition out on vault as she led off with a 9.875 for the Tigers. Aleah Finnegan followed, matching Johnson’s score. Amari Drayton and Savannah Schoenherr continued in the third and fourth spots, earning a 9.850 and a 9.875, respectively. Chase Brock made her third appearance on vault this season and contributed a 9.850. To close things out on vault, Haleigh Bryant recorded a 9.925 in the anchor spot to finish as the top performer on the event. 

The Tigers tallied a 49.400 on vault to take the early lead over North Carolina’s 48.425 after one rotation in the PMAC. 

The LSU bars squad was led by Alexis Jeffrey, who scored a 9.850. Ashley Cowan posted a career-high performance in the second spot, earning a 9.950. Finnegan and Konnor McClain followed with two consecutive 9.875’s. Schoenherr added to a strong bar rotation with another 9.950 for the Tigers, matching her season high. Bryant handled business as usual as she anchored with a 9.975 routine to earn her the title.

It was a 49.625 for the Tigers in the second rotation to extend their lead to 99.025-97.550 at the halfway point in the PMAC. 

Sierra Ballard got things started on beam for the Tigers with a 9.850. Jeffrey followed in the second spot with a 9.675. McClain and Kiya Johnson recorded a 9.975 and a 9.925 in the third and fourth spots. Bryant earned a 9.950 in her last routine of the night before Finnegan added a 9.925 to close out the third rotation with a score of 49.625.

McClain’s performance on beam earned her the victory on the night, moving her total to six titles this year and her fourth on the event.

The freshman brought the energy to floor as McClain led the Tigers in the final rotation of the night with her 9.925. Fellow freshman, Drayton, posted a 9.900 in the second spot. The score was her seventh score of 9.900 or higher on floor this year. KJ Johnson tallied a 9.775 after an out of bounds deduction. One of the top floor performers in the country, Finnegan scored a 9.950 in the fourth spot. Dunne made her seventh floor appearance of the year, in which she contributed a 9.850. Kiya Johnson closed out with a nearly perfect routine that earned her a 9.975 and the title on the night.

It was Johnson’s third floor title this year, moving her career wins to 19 on the event and 46 in total.

The Tigers floor squad posted a 49.600 in the final rotation to close out the night. After four rotations in the PMAC, LSU defeated North Carolina with their sixth score over 198 this year. 

Bryant tallied two titles on vault and bars at the meet, as she now owns 26 event victories this year, with 31 on vault, 14 on bars and 86 in her career.

Finnegan appeared in the all-around for the first time this year and finished as the top performer in the meet with her season high 39.625. The all-around title marks her sixth title this year.

LSU had five exhibition routines on the night, starting with Cammy Hall on vault, where she earned a 9.775. In the second rotation, Dunne posted a 9.850 on bars. Schoenherr and Dunne both performed on beam for the first time this season, where they earned a 9.900 and 9.975, respectively. Ballard and Hall both made appearances on floor in the exhibition spots. Ballard earned a 9.875 while Hall scored a 9.125.

The Tigers will head to New Orleans next week for the 2024 SEC Gymnastics Championships, where they will compete as the top seed in the evening session at 7 p.m. CT on Saturday, March 23.

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