And now for the LSU gymnastics team, the Missouri waltz.
If the Tigers (6-1, 4-0 Southeastern Conference) make it all the way to the NCAA Championships, they will compete four of their last 10 meets in the state of Missouri, starting with Friday’s meet in Columbia (7:30 p.m., SEC Network).
Next week the Tigers go to St. Charles, Missouri, just outside St. Louis for the Mardi Gras Invitational against Arkansas, George Washington and Missouri. Unlike this week’s dual meet in Columbia, the results of the Mardi Gras Invitational will not count in the SEC standings.
The SEC Championship meet will be March 24 in St. Louis. The NCAA semifinals and Super Six will be back in St. Louis one month later.
This will be the first time any of LSU’s gymnasts have competed at the University of Missouri’s Hearnes Center. The last time the Tigers went there was 2013, where they posted a comfortable 197.275-194.575 win. Two years ago, LSU took on Missouri, along with Oklahoma and Stanford, in the Metroplex Challenge in Fort Worth, Texas.
Senior Myia Hambrick said she gets an extra boost from competing in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center, which LSU has sold out the last two meets, but the Tigers try to use going on the road to their advantage as well.
“It feels like us against the world,” Hambrick said. “We talk about staying in our ‘purple zone,’ our bubble, and cheer each other on. As long as you do that it’s not too overwhelming.”
LSU now No. 3, Hambrick still No. 1
The Tigers slipped to No. 3 in this weeks’ national rankings after winning the Kentucky meet 197.225-196.700. LSU’s season average dipped slightly to 197.290 behind Oklahoma (197.813) and Utah (197.335). UCLA is No. 4 at (197.265), followed by No. 5 Florida (196.980).
Hambrick, who narrowly missed a perfect 10 Friday with her second straight 9.975, remains No. 1 nationally on floor with an average of 9.960. Hambrick is also seventh in all-around average.
Junior Sarah Finnegan is fourth on uneven bars and sixth in the all-around.
Missouri’s highest-ranked gymnast is junior Allison Bower, who ranks 12th on vault. The Tigers are ranked No. 24 overall.
The Kentucky meet marked LSU’s 28th straight score of 197 or higher, despite several miscues and having to count a 9.400 from Kennedi Edney after she over rotated on uneven bars. The Tigers set or tied a total of six season or career highs against the Wildcats, but LSU coach D-D Breaux said the team has to eliminate its mistakes.
“It says we’re deep and strong and can fight through every situation we find ourselves in,” Breaux said.
USA Gymnastics coming to LSU
USA Gymnastics has announced it will hold a verification event Feb. 25 at LSU’s practice facility to select women’s gymnasts for three upcoming international events.
Athletes will be selected for World Cup competitions in Stuttgart, Germany, Birmingham, England, and Tokyo, as well as the alternate for the 2018 American Cup.
“We want to thank LSU’s women’s gymnastics program for the opportunity to use their facility,” said Rhonda Faehn, senior vice-president for women’s gymnastics. “Their incredible facility allows us to hold an alternative for team verification that uses a format that is familiar to the athletes and coaches.”
The event will not be open to spectators.
Team SEC Pct. Overall Pct. High
LSU 4-0 1.000 6-1 .857 197.450
Alabama 3-1 .750 3-2 .600 196.725
Florida 2-1 .667 4-1 .800 198.150
Kentucky 2-2 .500 5-2 .714 196.950
Georgia 2-2 .500 2-3 .400 197.000
Auburn 1-3 .250 2-5 .400 197.000
Missouri 1-3 .250 1-3 .250 196.325
Arkansas 1-4 .200 1-4 .200 197.175
LSU 197.225, Kentucky 196.700
Florida 197.400, Auburn 197.000
Alabama 197.000, Arkansas 196.350
Georgia 197.000, Missouri 195.850
LSU at Missouri, 7:30 p.m. (SEC Network)
Alabama at Florida, 6 p.m. (SEC Network)
Georgia at Kentucky, 6 p.m.
Auburn at Arkansas, 7 p.m.
Auburn, N.C. State, Pittsburgh at Texas Woman’s University, 2 p.m.