BATON ROUGE -- The 11th-ranked LSU gymnastics squad closed out its home schedule in style Saturday in front of the second-largest crowd in LSU gymnastics history as 6,170 fans saw the Tigers defeat North Carolina State, 197.150-195.725, in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
On Senior Night, senior Ashleigh Clare-Kearney got the Tigers rolling early as she posted a perfect 10.0 on vault, marking the fourth time in her career she has been flawless in the event and her fifth 10.0 overall.
“It was a great overall performance and a great crowd. Any time you have this much energy and enthusiasm the performance raises to the next notch, and that is what happened,” LSU head coach D-D Breaux said. “The kids were outstanding.”
Led by Clare-Kearney’s flawless performance, LSU (12-2) scored a 49.325 on vault. The Tigers increased their lead over the Wolfpack in the second rotation as LSU posted its second-highest bars score of the season with a 49.450 to take a 98.775-98.050 advantage into the third rotation.
Junior Susan Jackson delivered a career-best 9.950 to close out LSU’s 49.100 score in the event, and Jackson scored a season-high 9.925 on floor to lead the Tigers to a 49.275 in the event. Directly after Jackson’s routine, Clare-Kearney tallied a 9.90 on floor to clinch LSU’s 197.150 score.
Jackson recorded the best meet of her career by posting a 39.700 all-around score, the highest of her career. The all-around title marked Jackson’s second of the season, and the Spring, Texas native also scored individual titles on bars, beam and floor. Jackson tallied a season-high 9.925 on bars to win the event as well as a season-best 9.925 on floor to go along with her 9.95 on beam.
Sophomore Staci Schwitkis scored a 39.250 all-around mark including a career-best 9.850 on beam.
Clare-Kearney closed out her final meet in the PMAC by scoring a 9.90 on bars to go along with her 9.90 on floor and her perfect 10.0 vault score.
LSU’s other senior, Lauren Klein, finished her final meet in the PMAC by scoring a 9.725 in exhibition on bars despite fighting a nagging ankle injury all season.
The meet also marked the Second Annual Etta James Memorial Meet in an effort to help raise money for Foundation56, an organization created by former LSU linebacker and current Dallas Cowboy Bradie James after he lost his mother, Etta, to breast cancer in 2002.
The goal was to raise $50,000 for the organization, and with the help of the Baton Rouge community and the fans at the meet, LSU was able to surpass the goal by raising $50,171.92 to support breast cancer awareness.
“This says a lot about the community, Bengal Belles, LSU and our commitment as a family to be a part of this community and have a real positive impact,” Breaux said. “The common thread in this whole effort has been Bradie James and his passion for Foundation56, and the love that he has for his mother permeated this whole event and really made it successful.”
After the outstanding victory over NC State (11-10), LSU will travel to Shreveport, La., for the Tigers final regular season meet of the season when LSU takes on Centenary March 13 at 7 p.m. CDT.
1. LSU 197.150 (VT – 49.325, UB – 49.450, BB – 49.100, FX – 49.275)
2. NC State 195.725 (VT – 49.050, UB – 49.000, BB – 48.850, FX – 48.825)
Individual (Includes first place and all LSU competitors)
All-Around – 1. Susan Jackson 39.700; 3. Staci Schwitkis 39.250; 4. Ashleigh Clare-Kearney 39.225
Vault – 1. Ashleigh Clare-Kearney 10.00; 2. Susan Jackson 9.90; t4. Staci Schwitkis 9.850; 6. Gloria Johnson 9.80; t7. Sabrina Franceschelli 9.775; t7. Kayla Rogers 9.775
Bars – 1. Susan Jackson 9.925; t2. Ashleigh Clare-Kearney 9.90; t2. Summer Hubbard 9.90; 5. Sabrina Franceschelli 9.875; t6. Staci Schwitkis 9.850; t6. Samantha Engle 9.850
Beam – 1. Susan Jackson 9.950; 2. Staci Schwitkis 9.850; t5. Summer Hubbard 9.800; 7. Samantha Engle 9.775; t8. Gloria Johnson 9.725; 11. Ashleigh Clare-Kearney 9.425
Floor – 1. Susan Jackson 9.925; 2. Ashleigh Clare-Kearney 9.90; 3. Summer Hubbard 9.875; 5. Kayla Rogers 9.825; t7. Gloria Johnson 9.750; t10. Staci Schwitkis 9.700