FAYETTEVILLE, ARK. – The eighth-ranked gymnastics team hits the road to face No. 23 Arkansas on Friday, January 27, at 8 p.m. CT in Barnhill Arena.
The meet between the Tigers and the Razorbacks will be aired on SEC Network with Sam Gore on the play-by-play and Sam Peszek as the analyst.
“We’re starting to get back into a normal rhythm after having three meets in seven days. We went through a lot in that time and now we can focus on moving forward,” said head coach Jay Clark. “I believe in this group and I’m proud of the kids that have gotten the opportunity to step in. They’ve taken advantage and have overall done a good job.”
Introductions for the top-25 ranked competition in Fayetteville are set for 7:45 p.m. inside the arena with the first vault leading off at 8:05 p.m. CT.
Live stats and streaming of the meet can be found on lsusports.net.
The Series RecordLSU owns a winning record over Arkansas with an overall record of 43-5-1. The Tigers are 8-1-1 on the road against the Razorbacks and will look to advance that winning record.
The last time the two teams met was in 2022, when LSU traveled to Columbia for a tri-meet with Missouri and Arkansas and defeated No. 16 Arkansas 197.200-196.800 in Hearnes Center.
Last Time On The Floor
The Tigers recorded their first victory of the season in their last meet in front of a crowd of 11,966. LSU defeated No. 12 Missouri on Friday, January 20, with a score of 197.150-196.525 inside the PMAC.
LSU started off hot on vault, scoring a season high 49.475 on the event highlighted by a perfect score from junior Haleigh Bryant in the anchor spot. Junior Elena Arenas led off with a strong 9.825 followed by senior Alyona Shchennikova who earned a 9.875. Junior Chase Brock and sophomore KJ Johnson both earned season high’s with their scores of 9.850 and 9.900. Sophomore Aleah Finnegan added another 9.850 before Bryant anchored with a 10 to take the title.
The perfect 10 marked Bryant’s first of the season and sixth in her career. Her six career perfect scores moves her to the sixth all-time in program history.
In the second rotation, sophomore Alexis Jeffrey led off with a career-high 9.925 to set the tone and earn her first title on the event. Arenas followed with a 9.850 in the second spot. Sophomore Tori Tatum also had a career night in her second ever routine, earning a 9.900. Finnegan added another 9.850 in the fourth spot and Bryant anchored with a 9.900.
LSU finished the second rotation with a 49.425 and held on to the lead as the squad transitioned to beam.
The home Tigers were able to bounce back after a rough start on beam as Bryant stayed composed and added a strong routine in the fifth spot with her 9.900. Finnegan anchored with a career-high 9.950 to earn her first title on beam.
LSU led Missouri 147.850-147.575 going into the final rotation in the PMAC.
Junior Sierra Ballard brought the energy with her 9.850 performance as the floor leadoff. Shchennikova followed with a strong 9.875 routine while KJ Johnson recorded a season high 9.925. Bryant recorded a season-high 9.950 in the anchor spot to finish off the night in fashion.
Bryant earned her fourth-straight all-around title in four meets against Missouri, as she matched her career high with a 39.750. The junior also took the titles on vault and floor, moving her individual title total to 11 this season.
Shchennikova earned a season-high 39.225 in her first appearance in the all-around this season.
Shchennikova, Bryant and Finnegan are expected to be mainstays in the all-around as the team prepares to take on Arkansas. Arenas also has the potential to appear in the all-around as well.
An eight-time All-American, Bryant’s front handspring-front pike half is considered to be one of the best vault’s in collegiate gymnastics. She finished the 2022 regular season as the No. 3 vaulter in all of NCAA Gymnastics and owns six career perfect 10’s on the event.
A native of Cornelius, N.C., Bryant has embraced a larger role this season and has earned 11 titles in the Tiger’s four meets thus far. She has recorded season high’s of 9.950 on bars, beam and floor, and matched her career high 10 on vault against Missouri. Also against Missouri, she matched her career high all-around score of 39.750. The junior is ranked nationally as fourth on vault, fifth on beam, eighth on beam and sixth in the all-around.
Arenas has been a consistent contender in the vault, bars and beam lineups. The junior from Athens, Georgia, won the SEC vault title in 2021 and owns a season-high score of 9.850 on the event. She also recorded a career high of 9.925 on beam at Kentucky and owns a season-high of 9.875 on bars.
Senior Kai Rivers provides experience and leadership within the team. After a battle with injury throughout her career, the senior is a staple in the beam lineup as the leadoff and has a season-high of 9.850.
Junior Chase Brock is expected to compete in the vault and floor lineups after making her debut against Oklahoma. Brock has a season-high of 9.850 on vault and 9.700 on floor.
Ballard has brought the energy to the floor leadoff spot and owns a season high of 9.900 on the event. The Louisiana native debuted on beam against Oklahoma, where she recorded her career high of 9.825.
Sophomores KJ Johnson and Finnegan have made immediate impacts this year after impressive freshman seasons in 2022. KJ Johnson has been a main-stay in the vault, floor and beam lineups, and owns season highs of 9.900, 9.925 and 9.725 on those events.
A native of Lee’s Summit, Missouri, Finnegan recorded a career high on floor in the team’s season opener against Utah, earning a 9.950. She matched that score against the top-ranked Sooners in the PMAC, where she earned a season high all-around score of 39.500. The sophomore has also recorded career highs of 9.850, 9.925 and 9.950 on vault, bars and beam this season.
Tori Tatum, a sophomore from Chanhassen, Minnesota, made her debut on bars against Oklahoma after suffering from an injury last year. Tatum scored a 9.875 in her first ever collegiate routine and recorded a career high 9.900 against Missouri.
Freshman Ashley Cowan, a native of Hillsborough, North Carolina, has been training the uneven bars and has the potential to make an appearance in the lineup. Bryce Wilson, a native of Lake Charles, Louisiana, made her collegiate debut on beam in the season opener against Utah.
Fans can follow the Tigers on the team’s social media channels @LSUgym on Instagram and Twitter and www.Facebook.com/lsugym.
Road To National Rankings
The Tigers climbed up to the No. 8 spot in the week three Road To National rankings.
The squad defeated No. 12 Missouri on Friday night with a score of 197.150-196.525 to earn their first victory of the season and boost the team’s average.
LSU has an average of 196.988 after four meets with a season high score of 197.450 against top-ranked Oklahoma.
The Tigers rank eighth overall and fifth on vault, seventh on bars, eighteenth on beam and sixteenth on floor.
(Press release provided by LSU Athletics)