Scott Stricklin

LSU Tigers Upset Florida Gators in Gymnastics

The now 8-1 Florida Gator gymnastics team loses to the LSU Tigers 198.100-197.975 on Friday night in Baton Rouge.  The second ranked Gators traveled to Louisiana for the biggest gymnastics meet of the weekend to take on the number eight Tigers. The Gators and Tigers rivalry has been going on for years now and each meet is filled with tons of action. Last year the Gators beat the Tigers 198.20-196.725. Back in 2021 the Gators just beat the Tigers by .01.

https://twitter.com/GatorsGym/status/1626791002458451969

Rotation 1

Florida started on bars while LSU started on the vault. The first Gator to take the stage was Sloan Blakely who scored a solid  9.750. Trinity Thomas and Leanne Wong took the top scores for bars as Thomas scored 9.975 and Wong scored 9.950. Because the Gators were a little rocky on bars, they ended the first rotation behind the Tigers. The Tigers, on the other hand, had an overall strong showing on the vault. At the end of the first rotation, the Gators were behind the Tigers 49.475-49.425

https://twitter.com/LSUgym/status/1626766106726924293

Rotation 2

As the Gators headed to the vault, the Tigers headed to the bars. The Gators had to switch their line-up last minute due to a possible injury during the vault warm-up. Chloi Clark stepped in and led off for the Gators resulting in her career-high tie of 9.825. The Tigers again had strong performances all around. Junior Elena Arenas hit a career-high, scoring a 9.90, while Haleigh Bryant effortlessly scored a 9.95. After the second rotation, the Gators were still behind the Tigers 98.975-98.775.

https://twitter.com/GatorsGym/status/1626772173762199553

Rotation 3

It was now time for the Gators to take on the floor while the Tigers competed on the beam. The Gator’s lineup for the floor consisted of Victoria Nguyen, Rachel Baumann, Payton Richards, Leanne Wong, Trinity Thomas, and Kayla DiCello. Payton Richards stepped in for Sloan Blakely who was dealing with an illness. Trinity Thomas’s routine, which consisted of pieces from her other past floor routines, scored a 9.950, the highest floor score for the Gators. Baumann tied her season best with a 9.925 while Nguyen scored her second 9.925 of the season.

For LSU, their momentum continued as they moved forward on the beam. Elane Arenas, Haleigh Bryant, Kia Rivers, KJ Johnson, Aleah Finnegan, and Alyona Shchennikova were the Tigers who competed in this rotation. Shchennikova matched her season-high score with a 9.85 while Rivers ended her routine with a 9.90. Finnegan scored her first-ever 10 on the beam. Going into the fourth rotation the Tigers extended their lead on the Gators by 148.525-148.350.

https://twitter.com/GatorsGym/status/1626777290863529990

Final Rotation

Going into the last rotation, the Gators knew they had to have big scores on the beam in order to win the meet. Junior Ellie Lazzari competed for the first time in the night, scoring a 9.900. Freshman Kayle DiCello had a confident beam routine, something she and head coach Jenny Rowland had been working on. The Florida coaches said that they have been working the DiCello on her confidence and she confidently scored a 9.957. Following DiCello, Thomas then scored her third perfect 10 on the beam of the season, making it the 25th 10 of her career.

The LSU Tigers lit up the floor as multiple team members scored above 9.90’s. The Tigers started the floor off with Sierra Ballard who scored a 9.875. The Tigers continued to score big as Haleigh Bryant ended the night with a 9.925. It was a big win for the Tigers over the Gators, especially coming at home and it’s the first time LSU has beaten Florida in three years. The Gators will take on the Tigers again at the SEC Championship which will take place on March 18th in Athens Georgia.

https://twitter.com/GatorsGym/status/1626789284232437761

https://twitter.com/LSUgym/status/1626787971314913282

What’s next for the Gators

Although the Gators weren’t able to come out on top, Trinity Thomas won the overall competition setting the nation’s highest score of 39.85.

https://twitter.com/GatorsGym/status/1626792007447240705

The Gators will be back home next week as they prepare for their Senior Night against the Kentucky Wildcats which will start at 5:45.

About Lain Shahboz

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