An impressive sweep of two meets over the weekend led to a rare sweep of the Southeastern Conference awards Tuesday by the LSU gymnastics team.
Juniors Sarah Finnegan and Lexie Priessman took SEC gymnast and specialist of the week honors, respectively, while Christina Desiderio was named SEC freshman of the week.
Finnegan posted a combined six scores of 9.90 or better and four wins in last Friday’s Mardi Gras Invitational and LSU’s home meet Sunday against Texas Woman’s University. Friday she won the all-around with a career-best 39.775, the second-highest all-around score in the nation this season.
“It’s her time,” LSU coach D-D Breaux said. “She’s doing a great job. The staff is doing a great job of pacing her and not putting too much on her.”
Priessman won three titles and set three career highs over the weekend, including a 9.975 on bars against TWU. Desiderio recorded three career high scores, including a 9.90 Sunday to win her first beam title.
LSU No. 2, Hambrick still No. 1
With a 198.075 in the Mardi Gras meet and a 198.175 against TWU, LSU bounced back from No. 4 to No. 2 in the national rankings behind two-time defending NCAA champion Oklahoma.
The rankings, based strictly on season average, show the Sooners with a 197.638 average, while LSU is now at 197.481. UCLA is third at 197.357, followed by Utah (197.329) and Florida (197.100).
The scores by LSU (11-1, 5-0 SEC) this weekend marked the first back-to-back 198s in program history. LSU’s 198.175 is the highest score in the nation this season. There have been only six scores of 198-plus in 2018, three by Oklahoma and one by Florida.
Finnegan said it is important for the Tigers to focus on their gymnastics, not the scores.
“It’s never the goal because scores can be subjective,” she said. “You could do the same routine over and over again but not get the same score. Our main focus is to keep doing the gymnastics we’re capable of, making those fine tuning improvements and continuing to build the confidence we need for the postseason.”
Senior Myia Hambrick remains No. 1 nationally on floor with a 9.964 average after recording her fourth straight 9.975 on Friday (she did not compete on floor Sunday). Hambrick is also seventh in the all-around with a 39.521 average.
Finnegan is now No. 3 nationally in the all-around with a 39.579 average and fifth on uneven bars (9.919) and balance beam (9.894). Priessman is tied for 10th on floor at 9.912.
Going for a title
LSU goes to No. 15 Georgia on Friday (6 p.m. CST, SEC Network) needing a win to capture at least a share of a second straight SEC regular-season title. The Tigers can wrap up sole possession of the title by beating Georgia and winning at home March 4 against Auburn.
“It is one of our goals to be undefeated in the SEC going to the SEC Championships knowing we’ve beaten all those teams,” Finnegan said. “It is important to us.”
Team SEC Pct. Overall Pct. High
LSU 5-0 1.000 11-1 .917 198.175
Florida 4-1 .800 6-1 .857 198.150
Alabama 4-2 .667 4-3 .571 197.075
Georgia 3-3 .500 3-4 .429 197.000
Kentucky 2-4 .333 5-4 .556 196.950
Arkansas 2-4 .333 2-7 .222 197.175
Auburn 1-4 .200 6-6 .500 197.000
Missouri 1-4 .200 3-5 .375 196.375
@-Mardi Gras Invitational: LSU 198.075, Missouri 196.025, Washington 195.650, Arkansas 195.575
Florida 196.950, Georgia 196.125
Auburn 196.575, Rutgers 194.225
Alabama 196.925, Kentucky 196.375
@-at St. Charles, Missouri
LSU 198.175, TWU 194.200
LSU at Georgia (6 p.m., SEC Network)
Arkansas at Florida, 5:45 p.m.
Missouri at Kentucky, 6 p.m.
Alabama at Auburn, 7:30 p.m. (SEC Network)