This was LSU’s week. The Tigers must have heard my prediction last week that this was not their year and set out on a mission to prove me wrong – and I could not be happier about it! LSU competed in two meets this weekend and scored over 198 in both. This is a school record, and the Tigers also posted the highest score in the NCAA so far, a 198.175. Incredible! It was a very good meet also between UCLA and Utah, with the Red Rocks just edging the Bruins 197.550-197.425. Oregon State and Washington also impressed, posting a 197.300 and a 107.050 respectively. It was a weaker meet for #1 Oklahoma, which suffered three falls on beam and scored a 196.425.
At the Mardi Gras Invitational on Friday, LSU posted a huge 198.075, ahead of Missouri (196.025), George Washington (195.650) and Arkansas (195.575). On vault, Myia Hambrick scored a 9.925, and Kennedi Edney and Sarah Finnegan two 9.900s. On bars, Lexie Priessman and Sarah Finnegan posted two 9.950s, Sami Durante a 9.925 and Kennedi Edney a 9.900. On beam, Finnegan touched perfection with a 9.975, Hambrick a 9.925 and freshman Christina Desiderio a 9.900. On floor, Myia Hambrick scored yet another 9.975 and Sarah Finnegan a 9.950.
On Sunday, LSU competed against Texas Woman’s, and won with a huge 198.175 to 194.200 despite not using the big guns. The Tigers posted their highest ever score on bars, a slightly inflated 49.725. Kennedi Edney won vault with a 9.900, while all other scores were in the 9.8s. On bars, all five counting scores were 9.900 or better. Lexie Priessman scored a 9.975, Myia Hambrick, Ruby Harrold and Sarah Finnegan three 9.950s, and Kennedi Edney a 9.900. On beam, Christina Desiderio, Erin Macadaeg, Myia Hambrick and Sarah Finnegan posted four 9.900s, while on floor Kennedi Edney and Lexie Priessman posted two 9.950s, Ashlyn Kirby a 9.925 and Ruby Harrold a 9.900. What an incredible weekend for the Tigers, they deservingly regained the second spot in the national ranking.
Utah upset UCLA at home, after the Bruins had a few mistakes in their last rotation on floor. For UCLA, on vault Nia Dennis scored a ‘perfect’ 9.950 for her FTY, and Felicia Hano and Pauline Tratz followed with two 9.925s. On bars, Nia Dennis scored a big 9.925 and Katelyn Ohashi a 9.900. On beam, Ohashi scored a 9.925 and Madison Kocian a 9.900. Finally, on floor Felicia Hano and Katelyn Ohashi posted two nearly perfect 9.975s, but the Bruins had to count a 9.775 and a 9.675. For Utah, on vault MyKayla Skinner posted a big 9.950 and Kari Lee a 9.900. On bars, Kim Tessen and MaKenna Merrell-Giles posted two 9.900s, while on floor Skinner posted a 9.975, Merrell-Giles and Missy Reinstadtler two 9.925s and Kari Lee a 9.900. The Red Rocks came through in a pressure situation on beam, with Merrell-Giles and MyKayla Skinner posting two 9.925s. It was not the best meet on both sides, but it was a fun meet, and the UCLA fans supported both teams in a great example of fair play.
Oregon State had an outstanding meet, winning with a huge 197.300. It won against Arizona, which however vaulted only two of its gymnast for a meet that was not really a meet. The Beavers had outstanding rotations on beam and floor. On beam, Destinee Davis and McKenna Singley posted two 9.900s, and on floor Kaitlyn Yanish posted a 9.950, Isis Lowery a 9.925 and Mary Jacobsen a 9.900. Jacobsen also impressed on bars with a 9.950, followed by teammate Alyssa Minyard with a 9.925.
Washington also excelled, winning on the road with a big 197.025 against Arizona State (196.575). The Huskies had an outstanding rotation on beam, where Evanni Roberson, Hailey Burleson and Malory Rose posted three 9.900s. They were also very solid on floor, where Burleson and Maya Washington posted two 9.900s.
Florida won at Georgia 196.950-196.125. The Gators had a good competition, but had to count a fall on beam. Alicia Boren won vault with a 9.950, Alex McMurtry bars with a 9.975 and Alyssa Baumann beam with a 9.900. The highlight of the meet came however on floor, where Georgia’s Sydney Snead posted her first perfect 10.0. Congratulations!
It was an incredible meet for Ivy Lu of Minnesota, who first scored a 9.975 on bars and then a perfect 10.0 on beam for a beautiful routine, which included a double turn. This gymnast deserves everything she is getting, so happy for her.
The third perfect 10.0 of the week came on floor with Stanford’s Elizabeth Price, who is finally having the season she deserves. Ebee also performed a flawless and stuck DTY on vault for a 9.975.
This week LSU proved once again that heart matters as much as preparation in gymnastics. Two 198s in three days is unbelievable, anything can happen now. The Oklahoma Sooners, on the other hand, showed that they are human after all, although this seems a simple hiccup they will solve with some KJ Kindler-style pep talk. Utah and UCLA, though not perfect, are on the hunt, while Florida had both some problems and some fantastic routines. Elizabeth Price, Ivy Lu and Sydney Snead deserved very much their perfect 10.0s. We are still waiting for the same treatment for Myia Hambrick and Sarah Finnegan, hopefully, once again, their time will come soon. On the sad side of the spectrum, Alabama’s Makenzie Brannan announced that she ruptured her Achilles. Her season ends here.
Team: LSU – 198.175
All around: Sarah Finnegan (LSU) – 39.775
Vault: Maddie Karr (Denver) – 9.975
Uneven bars: Ivy Lu (Minnesota), Sarah Finnegan (LSU), Lexie Priessman (LSU), Alex McMurtry (Florida) – 9.975
Balance beam: Ivy Lu (Minnesota) – perfect 10.0
Floor exercise: Elizabeth Price (Stanford), Sydney Snead (Georgia) – perfect 10.0
Routines of the week
Vault: Lexie Graber (Alabama) – Way to go for a gymnast who risked serious injury on the same vault just a few weeks ago!
Uneven bars: Mackenzie Brannan (Alabama) – In honour of a beautiful gymnast and an incredibly strong person, who unfortunately tore her Achilles this week.
Balance beam: Ivy Lu (Minnesota) – This is beam at its best, congratulations!
Floor exercise: Elizabeth Price (Stanford) and Sydney Snead (Georgia) – Perfect 10.0 ladies, a joy to watch!
On Friday, Georgia will host #2 LSU and Auburn will host Alabama. Florida will compete at home against Arkansas, and so will Oklahoma against Texas Woman’s. On Sunday Utah will compete at Cal and UCLA will host Oregon State.
Article by Talitha Ilacqua