LSU gymnasts took some of the Southeastern Conference’s top honors Wednesday.

Sophomore Kiya Johnson was named SEC co-specialist of the year with Auburn’s Derrian Gobourne, while teammate Haleigh Bryant was named SEC freshman of the year.

They earned All-SEC honors, as did sophomore Alyona Shchennikova and freshman Elena Arenas. Bryant and Arenas were also named to the all-freshman team.

All-SEC performers are the top two gymnasts in each event, while the top freshman in each event makes the all-freshman team.

Johnson’s honor marks the fourth time a Tiger gymnast has been named specialist of the year, following Lloimincia Hall in 2015 and current LSU assistant Ashleigh Gnat in 2016 and 2017. Bryant is just LSU’s third freshman of the year, joining April Burkholder in 2003 and Johnson last year.

“We are so excited for both Haleigh and Kiya to be recognized at this level,” LSU coach Jay Clark said in a university news release. “It is a tremendous accomplishment for our program and a glimpse of what is on the horizon for us all.”

Johnson won the SEC floor exercise title with a perfect 10 in Saturday’s SEC Championship meet in Huntsville, Alabama. Limited much of the season by an Achilles’ tendon injury, it is her third 10 in just four floor appearances this season, and she leads the nation with a floor NQS average of 9.988. Johnson’s 10 was the 10th in SEC Championship history on floor, joining former Tigers Sarah Finnegan in 2019 and Gnat in 2017. Johnson is tied with Florida’s Trinity Thomas and Oklahoma’s Anastasia Webb for the most perfect 10s this season.

Bryant and Arenas shared SEC vault titles with Alabama’s Luisa Blanco, all scoring 9.95s. Bryant is tied for third nationally on vault and tied for fourth on floor (both with 9.956 NQS averages) and ranks ninth as an all-arounder (39.594), all best marks for any SEC freshman. Arenas' mother, Georgia great Kim Arnold Arenas, won the SEC vault title in 1997.

Bryant is the only SEC freshman and just one of two freshmen nationally with a perfect 10 this season, hers coming on vault against Missouri. She has 11 individual titles this season, was named SEC freshman of the week six times and SEC gymnast of the week once.

Blanco, who edged out Johnson for the SEC all-around title, was named gymnast of the year. Jenny Rowland, who coached Florida to the SEC regular-season title and a co-No. 1 national ranking with Oklahoma, was named SEC coach of the year.

The Tigers have this weekend off before heading west as the No. 1 seed in the NCAA’s Salt Lake City regional. LSU, the No. 3 national seed overall, competes at 8 p.m. CDT April 2 on

2021 SEC Gymnastics Awards

Gymnast of the Year: Luisa Blanco, Alabama

Co-Event Specialists of the Year: Kiya Johnson, LSU, Derrian Gobourne, Auburn

Freshman of the Year: Haleigh Bryant, LSU

Coach of the Year: Jenny Rowland, Florida


Elena Arenas, LSU

Haleigh Bryant, LSU

Kiya Johnson, LSU

Alyona Shchennikova, LSU

Shania Adams, Alabama

Luisa Blanco, Alabama

Makarri Doggette, Alabama

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Lexi Graber, Alabama

Shallon Olsen, Alabama

Kaylee Quinn, Alabama

Sophia Carter. Arkansas

Derrian Gobourne, Auburn

Cassie Stevens, Auburn

Drew Watson, Auburn

Alyssa Baumann, Florida

Leah Clapper, Florida

Ellie Lazzari, Florida

Megan Skaggs, Florida

Josie Angeny, Kentucky

Bailey Bunn, Kentucky

Anna Haigis, Kentucky

Arianna Patterson, Kentucky

Raena Worley, Kentucky

Sienna Schreiber, Missouri


Elena Arenas, LSU

Haleigh Bryant, LSU

Shania Adams. Alabama

Ellie Lazzari, Florida

Bailey Bunn, Kentucky

Amaya Marshall, Missouri

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