The awards for LSU freshman Kiya Johnson's uncommon gymnastics are starting to become commonplace.

Seven days after she was named Southeastern Conference gymnast of the week, Johnson was named Tuesday as SEC freshman of the week for the first time.

Johnson recorded an exceptional all-around score of 39.725 Friday in LSU’s 198.375-197.775 loss at Florida, including a perfect 10 on balance beam.

It was the first 10 for an LSU freshman since 2004 and just the third by a Tigers freshman ever. She is one of just six gymnasts nationally with a 10 this season and the only freshman to hit that mark.

“It was fabulous,” senior Ruby Harrold said of Johnson’s performance. “She’s just the most level-headed kid. You guys have three more years of this. It’s going to be great to see how she flourishes in and out of the gym.”

In addition to winning on beam, Johnson tied for first on floor exercise with a career-high 9.975. In LSU’s four meets in 2020 she already has nine first-place finishes, including two all-around titles.

Edwards out several weeks

Junior Sarah Edwards could be out of action for three weeks after suffering a sprained left ankle during her floor routine at Florida, LSU co-head coach D-D Breaux said.

Edwards had to be carried off the floor after being unable to continue her routine.

“She was at least walking on it (Monday) and moving around,” Breaux said. “It just depends on how quick this sprain will heal and what kind of magic our training room can do to get the swelling out and get her back on her feet.

“It could be as much as three weeks. Hopefully not, but that’s what we’re preparing ourselves for.”

Breaux said freshman walk-on Lexie Nibbs will take Edwards spot on vault, an event Edwards won Jan. 19 against Auburn with a 9.95. Junior Bridget Dean will likely fill Edwards’ spot on floor though Breaux said she’s also hoping to get fellow junior Christina Desiderio (hip) back soon.

“They’ll compete for the floor spot,” Breaux said.

Breaux has worried all season about LSU’s depth on vault. She said Nibbs, who had a 9.70 on vault in LSU’s Jan. 3 opener against Arizona, is “not ready to compete at this level, but at this point it’s all we have.”

LSU improves to No. 6

Finishing second in gymnastics does not mean you can’t move closer to the top in the national rankings.

On the strength of their season-best score, the Tigers’ first plus-197 mark of the season, LSU moved up from No. 8 to No. 6 in this week’s national rankings with a season average of 196.700. Florida (197.525 average) remained No. 2 behind Oklahoma (197.795).

UCLA, Utah and Denver round out the top five with Alabama, which visits LSU for a meet Friday, at No. 7 (196.667). Minnesota, Michigan and California complete the top 10.

Individually, Johnson ranks No. 2 nationally on floor and No. 3 on vault. Senior Kennedi Edney is ranked eighth as an all-arounder while Johnson is 10th.

The LSU-Alabama meet is set for 7:15 p.m. in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center and will be televised on the SEC Network.


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