LSU gymnastics earns third place at SEC championship
LITTLE ROCK – The highlight of the night was another perfect 10.0 from LSU junior Ashleigh Gnat, but it was not enough as the third-ranked LSU gymnastics team tallied a solid 197.500 to place third at the Southeastern Conference Championship Saturday night in Verizon Arena.
No. 2 Florida won the title with a 197.775, and No. 4 Alabama was a close second at 197.750. Following LSU was Auburn in fourth at 196.950, Georgia in fifth at 196.850, Arkansas in sixth at 196.500, Kentucky in seventh at 196.250 and Missouri in eighth at 195.750.
LSU (18-4) tallied a 49.200 on bars, 49.375 on beam, 49.550 on floor and 49.375 on vault to finish with a 197.500.
Gnat’s 10 was the highest score of the meet, and it marked her fourth perfect 10 on floor and nation-leading sixth overall.
Gnat became LSU’s 18th SEC champion and the fifth to win floor. She also earned her first All-SEC honor by winning the floor title.
Joining Gnat as 2016 All-SEC performers were Myia Hambrick on bars with a 9.925 and Sarah Finnegan with a 9.925 on beam. Finnegan also became the seventh LSU gymnast to earn SEC All-Freshman Team recognition for her performance on beam.
But for LSU head coach D-D Breaux and the Tigers, the team title was the goal at the SEC Championship, and the squad came up a little short.
“We never got any traction or momentum going throughout the meet,” Breaux said. “This team is resilient, and I know they are disappointed about tonight. Overall it was a good score, but we are capable of much more. We are going to get back in the gym and prepare for a great NCAA postseason.”
LSU opened the meet with a 49.200 on bars, highlighted by Myia Hambrick’s 9.925. Shae Zamardi added a 9.85 in the anchor spot, and the Tigers also counted a 9.825 from Jessica Savona and 9.80s from Randii Wyrick and Lexie Priessman.
In the second rotation LSU picked up some momentum with a 49.375 on beam. Sarah Finnegan led the team with a 9.925, followed closely by a 9.90 from Ashleigh Gnat in the anchor spot. Erin Macadaeg, Sydney Ewing and Hambrick tallied 9.85s to close out the Tigers’ scoring.
LSU posted a meet-best 49.550 on floor in the third rotation. Gnat punctuated the lineup with a 10. McKenna Kelley equaled her career high with a 9.925, and Savona also posted a 9.925. Wyrick finished right behind with a 9.90, and Hambrick secured a 9.80 to round out the scoring.
In the final rotation LSU recorded a 49.375. Gnat earned a 9.90, followed by 9.875s from Julianna Cannamela, Ewing and Hambrick. Finnegan and Savona scored 9.85s.
LSU will find out its next destination at 3 p.m. CT Monday during the NCAA regional selection show. The Tigers are expected to be a No. 1 seed at one of six host sites – Michigan, Georgia, Iowa, Minnesota, Utah or Alabama.