Gymnastics Knocks Off Kentucky in SEC Opener
BATON ROUGE – In front of 10,052 fans, the third-largest crowd in program history, No. 7 LSU gymnastics defeated No. 20 Kentucky, 196.575-195.100, Friday night in the Maravich Center.
LSU improved to 3-0 overall and 1-0 against Southeastern Conference competition after tallying a 49.375 on vault, 48.800 on bars, 49.175 on beam and 49.225 on floor to finish with a 196.575.
Kentucky fell to 1-2 overall, 0-2 against SEC competition after scoring a 48.850 on bars, 48.700 on vault, 48.400 on floor and 49.l50 on beam to earn a 195.100.
“We felt like tonight was a step in the right direction,” LSU head coach D-D Breaux said. “Making mistakes can be part of the process. The last two years we opened the gate with 197s, and this team is going to grow into that. We have a lot of youth and young kids we are trying to get in and out of the lineups, and we saw some real spurts of greatness tonight.
“We had some freshman and sophomore mistakes, things we weren’t used to last year with a mature squad, but I am so excited about the process. Every week with this team we are seeing real greatness in practice and competitions.”
Ashleigh Gnat sent the crowd into a frenzy with her first career perfect 10.0 after she stuck her landing on her double-twisting Yurchenko vault. Gnat became the eighth LSU gymnast to score a perfect 10 on vault, and it marked her fifth career vault title.
“Being in a lineup that has such amazing girls with great vaults, it encourages you to do better,” Gnat said. “It was really exciting, and it’s a good feeling.”
Lexie Priessman won the bars title with a 9.925 in her first official bars routine as a Tiger.
Sarah Finnegan tied with Kentucky’s Sidney Dukes to win the beam title with a 9.90, Finnegan’s second beam title in three meets.
Gnat posted her second 9.95 of the season on floor to win the title, the third of her career on floor.
Myia Hambrick won her second all-around crown of the season with a 39.325, highlighted by a 9.90 on floor and 9.875 on vault.
LSU opened the meet with a 49.375, highlighted by Gnat’s first career perfect 10.0. She was followed closely by Sydney Ewing who shattered her career best with a 9.975. Hambrick added a 9.875 on a stuck vault, Randii Wyrick tallied a 9.80 and Priessman earned a 9.725 to wrap up the Tigers’ scoring in the event.
In the second rotation, LSU posted a 48.800 on bars. Priessman led the way with a 9.925 to win the title. Hambrick and Jessica Savona tied for second with 9.85s, and Shae Zamardi was right behind them with a 9.825. The Tigers also counted a 9.35 from Gnat.
Halfway through the meet LSU led Kentucky, 98.175-97.550.
LSU earned a 49.175 on beam led by Finnegan’s 9.90 and Ewing and Gnat’s 9.875s. Erin Macadaeg led off the event with a 9.825, and Hambrick tallied a 9.70 to round out the scoring.
The Tigers wrapped up the meet with a 49.225 on floor, paced by a 9.95 from Gnat in the anchor spot. Hambrick earned a 9.90, Wyrick scored a 9.875, Ewing led off with a 9.85 and McKenna Kelley recorded a 9.65.
LSU heads back on the road next week when the Tigers compete at the Metroplex Challenge against Missouri, Oklahoma, Stanford and Washington on Jan. 30. The meet will begin at 7 p.m. CT in the Fort Worth Convention Center in Fort Worth, Texas.
The Metroplex Challenge will be carried live by FloGymnastics.com.
1. #7 LSU 196.575 (VT – 49.375, UB – 48.800, BB – 49.175, FX – 49.225)
2. #20 Kentucky 195.100 (VT – 48.700, UB – 48.850, BB – 49.150, FX – 48.400)
Individual (Includes first place and all LSU competitors)