Six scores of 9.9 or better were awarded Friday in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
Myia Hambrick received three of them.
Five individual titles were presented.
Hambrick won or shared all of them.
“We’ve really just been talking about being together as a team, being really invested in each other and making sure that we’re confident in what we can do,” Hambrick said, following her best meet as a collegian. “And this was the first meet I really kind of thought about it 100 percent, didn’t let any doubt get in or anything like that.”
Hambrick won the all-around title with a career-best 39.625 in the No. 6 LSU gymnastics team’s 197.425-196.150 win against No. 8 Arkansas, a tightly judged affair that proved to be the Tigers’ most consistent effort since their season-opening defeat of then-No. 1 Oklahoma.
The sophomore from Temple, Georgia, won the bars title outright — the first of her career — to go with a personal-best 39.625 to win the all-around title. She tied for the title on the other three events.
For the first time all season, the Tigers scored a 49.000 or higher in all four rotations, spearheaded by their best beam set in nearly a year — a 49.450 that bested a 49.475 against Centenary on March 6, 2015.
“That kind of beam performance,” coach D-D Breaux said, “that’s a championship performance.”
Hambrick set a career high with a 9.925 before seldom-used senior Michelle Gauthier delivered perhaps the best routine of her career, a 9.875 that shattered her previous career high of 9.70.
Freshman Sarah Finnegan, who fell on her renowned triple wolf turn last week, nailed it to forget a bars fall in the previous rotation, notching a career-high-tying 9.925 to share the beam title with Hambrick.
“It was a really good beam routine,” Gauthier said. “Felt good when I was up there; I was confident. It was just literally me and the beam. I could hear D-D in my head talking, so yeah, it felt really great to really shine and show what I could do.”
Gnat, searching for a third straight perfect 10 on her Yurchenko double full, led a quartet of 9.875s on vault, where LSU — the nation’s top vault team — came in .075 below its season average.
“I wasn’t really feeling any extra pressure. I was just going to go out there and do the same thing I’ve been doing in practice, and that’s exactly what happened,” Gnat said. “It really can’t be a 10 every time. It’s just not fair.”
No Tigers gymnast scored a 9.90 or better — the first time that has happened all season in the team’s best event.
“I thought the judges did a great job distinguishing routines that were good and routines that were truly great,” Breaux said. “When they were the high-9.9 type of scores, we knew where the deductions were and we can go back into the gym on Monday and move forward from here. No holes were dug, no real setback.”
Arkansas, which had a 49.145 vault average entering the meet, finished with a 49.025 and, like LSU, didn’t have a gymnast score a 9.9 or better.
In fact, Hambrick’s career-high 9.925 on the uneven bars was the meet’s first score of 9.9 or above — after 15 routines had been completed. The Tigers’ 49.400 on floor to end the meet featured three of the six high scores — all 9.900s to Gnat, Hambrick and Randii Wyrick, who shared the event title.
“It was complete,” Breaux said. “The demeanor on floor ... there was never a sense of urgency. There was never a ‘We’ve got to press. We’ve got to go. We’ve got to get this going. We’ve got to find our mojo.’ That never happened tonight. This is our house, and they stepped out and protected it.”