BATON ROUGE -- In a plethora of pink, in front of an attendance-breaking crowd and Bradie James looking on, the No. 5 LSU Gymnastics squad fell to Alabama Friday night at the PMAC as the Crimson Tide slipped by the Tigers, 196.300-196.125.
It was LSU’s first time ever to perform in front of a home crowd of such magnitude with a paid attendance of 7,717.
“It was a wonderful night. To have Bradie here along with his aunt to commutate his mother and also have it such a success that just sums it up. To have everyone who worked on the event say this is the first on many. It just means a lot and it was a great event for LSU as well,” said LSU head coach D-D Breaux.
It was the Tiger’s first annual Etta James Memorial “Foundation 56” meet, in honor of former LSU linebacker Bradie James’ mother. Foundation 56 was created to raise awareness of breast cancer in the Baton Rouge Area.
Tonight, Foundation 56 along with the Tigers raised $30,950 for the cancer fund. A check for $20,950 was presented to the foundation after the meet.
The Tigers opened the night on the vault with freshman Staci Schwitkis, posting a season high of 9.875. Ashley Clare-Kearney captured victory on vault with a score of 9.925. It is Clare-Kearney’s seventh-straight vault title this season. Schwitkis and Susan Jackson followed, tying for second with scores of 9.875. The team finished out the event with an average 49.350.
In the second rotation, the Tigers again took the event title with a score of 49.025. Sophomore Summer Hubbard posted her season high of 9.900 and her first season sole victory on bars. Sabrina Franceschelli rounded out the event in third place with a score of 9.850.
After two rotations the Tigers led, 98.375-98.100, over the Crimson Tide.
The Tigers kept things rolling on the beam by scoring 48.950. Clare-Kearney tied her season high of 9.900 and held the event title for the night. Freshmen Samantha Engle and Nicole Lyons posted a score of 9.800 and 9.875 respectively.
LSU closed out the night with a 48.800 on the floor exercise, but it wasn’t enough to hold off a surging Tide team that posted 49.075 on the beam to secure the win.
Clare-Kearney captured another all-around event title on the season, scoring a 39.450. Jackson finished fourth with a 39.125.
Following the dual meet, the Tigers will continue at home when they compete against Michigan State on Friday, Feb 29 at 7 p.m. at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
1. Alabama – 196.300 (VT – 49.175, UB – 48.925 , BB – 49.125 , FX – 49.075)
2. LSU – 196.125 (VT – 49.350 , UB – 49.025, BB – 48.950 , FX – 48.800))
Individual (winner plus all LSU competitors)
Floor – 1. Morgan Dennis (Alabama), 9.875; t-3. Ashleigh Clare-Kearney, 9.825; t-6. Susan Jackson, 9.750; t-6. Sabrina Franceschelli, 9.750; t-6. Kristi Esposito, 9.750; t-10. Samantha Engle, 9.725; 12. Kayla Rogers, 9.625