Myia Hambrick was in tears.
Not because of her performance on floor, the one that would give her the perfect 10 that long eluded her this season, but because of the ones that came before it from her LSU gymnastics teammates, Sarah Finnegan and Kennedi Edney.
“I was just so proud of her,” Hambrick said of Finnegan, who beat her to the 10 on floor by a few minutes. “And Kennedi went before her and did one of the best routines I’ve ever seen her do. The whole thing was just really great. I was like, ‘I don’t know if I can even go right now,’ and Bugs (former LSU gymnast and student assistant Ashleigh Gnat) was like, ‘You have to pull it together.’ ”
Hambrick pulled it together all right. And she and Finnegan, coming right behind Edney’s 9.975, pulled off an unprecedented feat for LSU gymnastics: the first back-to-back 10s on floor.
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“You can’t do better than a 10,” LSU coach D-D Breaux said. “That’s a sacred number in our sport.”
It was an emphatic punctuation mark on a day filled with them, from the Southeastern Conference regular-season championship trophy they clinched even before they took the floor to the purple and gold streamers that swirled through the Pete Maravich Assembly Center as soon as it was done.
And, oh yes, No. 3-ranked LSU handily won the meet against No. 15 Auburn, 198.100-195.625. It is LSU’s third 198-plus score in its last four meets, and a strong indicator the Tigers are peaking with posteason competition just a few weeks away.
“We didn’t have any expectations of ourselves other than to just do what we’ve been doing and be as good as we are,” Hambrick said. “That doesn’t require a 10. That doesn’t require a 198. That just requires that you do your best.
“It just so happens our best is those things.”
No one in the SEC has been better than LSU recently.
LSU (13-1, 7-0 SEC) already had wrapped up its second straight outright regular-season title even before Sunday’s meet when Florida lost Friday at Missouri to finish in a second-place tie with Alabama at 5-2. But LSU still wanted a perfect SEC regular-season mark, its second straight and third in the last four seasons.
LSU has now won 16 straight SEC regular-season meets dating back to 2016 and 29 of its last 30 overall since midway through the 2014 campaign. The Tigers have also defeated 33 straight opponents in the PMAC and posted 33 straight scores of 197 or better, the nation’s best such streak.
What LSU has done isn’t as easy as it looks, Finnegan said.
“The SEC is the greatest conference in the nation,” she said. “Knowing we’ve gone up against all those teams and having beaten them is amazing. We don’t always get the home advantage we see in the PMAC.”
LSU started tentatively with a few wobbly landings on vault, finishing with a 49.325, then soared through the final three rotations. LSU posted a 49.550 on uneven bars (the Tigers are No. 1 in the nation on that event and on floor), a 49.525 to tie its season-high on beam and then a 49.700 on floor. The latter tied for the second-highest score in program history in that event.
Edney scored a 9.975 in the fourth spot on floor, paving the way for the 10s from Finnegan and Hambrick, the first of either of their careers.
“My job is to do my routines to the best of my ability,” Finnegan said. ‘I felt pretty good at the end. Seeing that 10 up was awesome. It was almost unreal.”
Hambrick, the nation’s No. 1-ranked gymnast on floor, was dogged for weeks by questions about getting a 10 after posting four straight 9.975s earlier this season.
“Personally, I don’t think that routine was much different from some of the other ones I’ve done,” she said. “I didn’t train any different. I wasn’t like, ‘I’ve gotta get the 10.’
“This one felt pretty good. With the warmup I had I fell short on one of my passes so I was really concentrating on making that.”
The all-around title actually belonged to Edney, who also posted a 9.975 to win on uneven bars, with a career high of 39.775. She edged out Hambrick (39.725) and Finnegan (39.600).
“Last year I didn’t even know what was going on when we won it,” Edney said of the team title. “I didn’t understand it. But now I understand it and I appreciate it more.”
LSU travels to North Carolina State for a meet at 6 p.m. CST Friday and wraps up the regular season in the PMAC at 4 p.m. March 17 against Arizona.
1. #3 LSU 198.100 (Vault — 49.325, Bars — 49.550, Beam — 49.525, Floor — 49.700)
2. #15 Auburn 195.625 (Vault — 49.175, Bars — 48.975, Beam — 48.350, Floor — 49.125)
Individual (includes first place and all LSU competitors)
All-Around — 1. Kennedi Edney, LSU, 39.775; 2. Myia Hambrick, LSU, 39.725; 3. Sarah Finnegan, LSU, 39.600.
Vault — T1. Kennedi Edney, Myia Hambrick, LSU, 9.90; 3. Ruby Harrold, LSU, 9.875; T6. Sarah Finnegan, Julianna Cannamela, LSU, 9.825; 12. Sarah Edwards, LSU, 9.30.
Bars — 1. Kennedi Edney, LSU, 9.975; 2. Myia Hambrick, LSU, 9.95; 3. Sarah Finnegan, LSU, 9.925; T5. Sami Durante, Lexie Priessman, LSU, 9.85; 7. Ruby Harrold, LSU, 9.80.
Beam — 1.Erin Macadaeg, LSU, 9.95; T2. Kennedi Edney, Christina Desiderio, LSU, 9.925; 4. Myia Hambrick, LSU, 9.875; T5. Sarah Finnegan, LSU, 9.85; 7. Reagan Campbell, 9.825.
Floor — T1. Sarah Finnegan, Myia Hambrick, LSU, 10.0; 3. Kennedi Edney, LSU, 9.975; T4. Christina Desiderio, LSU, 9.875; T6. Julianna Cannamela, LSU, 9.85; T8. Ashlyn Kirby, LSU, 9.825.
Team SEC Pct. Overall Pct. RQS*
#LSU 7-0 1.000 13-1 .929 197.545
Florida 5-2 .714 7-2 .778 197.250
Alabama 5-2 .714 6-3 .667 196.850
Kentucky 3-4 .429 7-4 .636 196.560
Georgia 3-4 .429 3-8 .273 196.050
Missouri 2-5 .286 6-6 .500 195.940
Arkansas 2-5 .286 3-8 .273 196.530
Auburn 1-6 .143 6-8 .429 196.190
#-Clinched regular-season title; *-From Feb. 26
Kentucky 196.850, Ohio State 195.725
Nebraska 196.700, Stanford 195.925, Illinois 195.900, Georgia 195.825
Arkansas 197.275, Arizona 196.125
Missouri 196.925, Florida 196.700
Alabama 197.525, North Carolina 194.975
LSU 198.100, Auburn 195.625