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FutureStarrLSU Gymastics Climbs to No. 6 Nationally After Win at Bama
LSU's gymnastics team surged eight spots to No. 6 nationally after defeating Alabama for the third time in four meets.
This is LSU's highest ranking since they began at No. 6 in 2020, when they won the national title.
Junior Haleigh Bryant leads the Tigers on vault, while sophomore Aleah Finnegan has earned perfect scores in each of her last four meets.
LSU gymnast Haleigh Bryant is one of the country's most talented gymnasts. Last week, she helped the Tigers to their second straight win at the SEC Championships and is expected to be a major factor this season as they continue their ascent up the WCGA rankings.
This year, she has been on an impressive streak, hitting nine perfect scores in five meets. With the third most 10's on vault in school history and being named a WCGA regular season All-American for vault and bars, her NQS of 9.925 on vault ranks 12th nationally.
In addition to her impressive performances this season, she has been an invaluable asset to the team, especially when it comes to leadership and helping younger gymnasts adjust in this new environment. As one of the most popular members, she always finds ways to motivate her teammates when they feel down or uninspired. Her positivity inspires everyone around her - whether that be physically, psychologically, or both!
She is an excellent leader, but also extremely hard-working and focused on her own tasks. By making sure everyone around her knows she cares about them, she ensures they always have someone to turn to when they require assistance with workouts or competitions. It has become her mission to ensure all individuals feel valued as individuals by being always accessible when needed and providing helpful advice when needed.
Her inspiring character is the cornerstone of what she brings to the team, earning her both the SEC Freshman of the Year title and Specialist of the Year honors this year. She becomes just the third gymnast in LSU history to do so - joining April Burkholder and Kiya Johnson - by earning these distinctions.
With her outstanding performances this year, she is a major reason why LSU's ranking has climbed to No. 6 nationally after their victory at Alabama.
She was an impressive presence on the floor, where she scored a 10. In her first season in the SEC, she became only the fourth LSU gymnast ever to score a 10 in floor exercise - joining Sarah Finnegan (2019) and Ashleigh Gnat (2017).
In her final season with the Tigers, she is the only member of the team to have achieved an NQS on vault of 9.925. She has scored 9.95 or better three times this year, including a 10.0 on floor.
The freshman has been a major force on bars this season, where she is the only Tiger to hit every routine. With 9.90 or higher scores across every event and leading the SEC in all-around with 93 points, she leads all competitions with an impressive 93. Her highest score this year was 9.95 at the SEC meet; however, she also scored 9.95s in both other meets this year.
Aleah Finnegan of LSU gymnastics has helped the team reach new heights with her individual accomplishments. Her perfect 10 on floor in a win against Alabama marked her fourth straight perfect score and her four-match career high on vault made her the first gymnast ever to reach this mark for the Tigers.
As a sophomore, she is one of LSU's premier athletes with an impressive list of accomplishments and honors to her name. She has won two national titles and been an SEC champion multiple times throughout her college career.
She was an integral part of their success, helping them reach two NCAA Super Sixes and capture four SEC championships over six seasons. Additionally, she became only gymnast in school history to earn All-SEC status on three events while garnering 12 All-American awards during her career.
During her junior year, she earned the title of SEC Rookie of the Year and helped lead Tennessee to its first-ever NCAA Super Six appearance. Additionally, she earned recognition as a first-team All-SEC and All-American for a second straight year.
As an all-around gymnast, she has been a consistent performer on both beam and floor, helping the Tigers win their third SEC Championship in five years in 2018. This season she has been an important factor for both teams - particularly on floor.
In addition to her all-around accomplishments, she has also become a leader on the team. Her performances on balance beam, uneven bars and floor exercise have contributed to Tigers' 2-2 record this season. A part of the program since her freshman year, she is an integral part of their success.
Her senior season saw her claim three SEC individual titles on balance beam, uneven bars and floor. Additionally, she earned a place on the all-SEC team by becoming SEC Floor Exercise Champion at the conference meet.
She is the all-time leader in SEC Championships on uneven bars, balance beam and floor exercises. Additionally, she won three times at SEC Floor Exercise Championships before being named the SEC All-Around Champion in 2013.
Coach Breaux has been with the Tigers program for four decades, and her passion and drive have been instrumental in their continued success. Her teams have reached 17 NCAA Championships appearances, seven NCAA Championship Finals and 14 individual national titles during her illustrious career.
Her accomplishments have been truly remarkable throughout her illustrious career. She has spearheaded LSU's rise to become a dominant force in the SEC over the last several decades and continues to build upon her legacy. Her dedication and passion for the sport has been the driving force behind their success, and she remains an icon for collegiate women's sports.
After their victory at Bama last week, LSU women's gymnastics continues to climb the national rankings. Now ranked sixth nationwide, the Tigers look set for another impressive run this spring.
The team recently concluded a season that saw them place an SEC record six on the All-SEC list and advance to their first semifinals at the NCAA Championships, culminating with a thrilling win against Alabama in an intensely contested competition.
With their win at Alabama, the Tigers have vaulted into the top-10 of the WCGA preseason poll and are ranked sixth nationally. They are now averaging over 1.04 points per event this season and have recorded four perfect scores.
Although the team has achieved success in the WCGA rankings, it has not been without its difficulties. Senior Haleigh Bryant and sophomore Aleah Finnegan both endured challenging meets this season due to injury or illness.
As for the rest of the team, they have all been working hard and showing improvement with each meet. Although they are still getting used to Shauna Estes as their coach, they have experienced some success thus far.
At their first home meet of the season against Arkansas, Tennessee had their best performance yet. They scored 93 points to claim an impressive 93-win total - marking one of their most successful conferences this season and one of SEC history's highest scoring teams.
One major reason for their success has been their depth. They boast six gymnasts ranked in the top 25 of the country, two of whom are sophomores. Furthermore, four out of their five seniors returned to play this season.
Junior Chase Brock has been an integral member of the team this season, particularly on vault. She achieved a career high score of 9.925 on this event and continues to demonstrate improvement with each meet this season.
Sophomore Alexis Jeffrey has been a major force on the team this year, serving as an effective bars leadoff and providing support on beam and floor exercises.
KJ Johnson has been an important factor for the Tigers this season, making significant strides on the court. After recently earning SEC Specialist of the Week honors following her performance against Georgia, Johnson continues to show signs of improvement.
With the support of her teammates, she has grown in confidence and become a major factor in LSU's program. She has demonstrated that she possesses leadership abilities on the court and has been an important reason why the Tigers have climbed up the national rankings this season. Clark believes she will become an influential member of their future squad, so it was fortunate that she could recruit her to LSU.