CORVALLIS, Ore. — Still operating at less than full strength and nearly 2,500 miles from home, the LSU gymnastics team went to Oregon State on Saturday and pulled out a double-dip victory over the host Beavers and Arizona State.
The No. 9-ranked Tigers posted their second-highest score of the season, a 196.800, to edge No. 22 Oregon State (196.700). Arizona State was third with a 195.600.
LSU again only got two events out of senior all-arounder Kennedi Edney. The two-time NCAA vault champion, limited for the second straight meet by an elbow injury, competed only on beam and floor. She posted scores of 9.5 and 9.90, respectively.
The Tigers were also again without Sarah Edwards, a vault and floor specialist who suffered an ankle injury in the latter event Jan. 24 at Florida.
“We should have” had a 197, LSU co-head coach D-D Breaux said. “It was within reach, but we’re still without two of our best vaulters.
“But we hit all 24 of our sets. I felt positive about that. The kids had a lot of energy, a lot of momentum pushing us through the meet.”
Fortunately for LSU (5-2 overall, 2-2 Southeastern Conference), Kiya Johnson was again up to the task.
It was in so many respects a bittersweet night Jan. 31 when LSU hosted Alabama for what is always a huge Southeastern Conference gymnastics meet.
Making the argument that she is the nation’s top freshman gymnast, Johnson won three individual titles: all-around (39.575), vault (9.90) and tied for first on uneven bars (9.90) with fellow freshman Kai Rivers and Arizona State’s Cairo Leonard-Baker.
Johnson, still a couple weeks shy of her 18th birthday, now has 15 individual titles in LSU’s six meets.
“She had a great meet,” Breaux said. “We didn’t let her do her double twist on vault. She did a full and she stuck it.
“It’s just the consistency of what she’s doing week to week. We don’t have to train her really hard. We’ve been able to give her some good rest between meets.”
Breaux said she’s hopeful LSU can get Edney back in all four events by next weekend. The Tigers return home then turn around and leave again for the four-team GymQuarters Invitational on Friday in St. Charles, Missouri. Then they’re back home Sunday for a 2:15 p.m. SEC meet with Kentucky.
LSU freshman Kiya Johnson continues to rack up weekly conference honors.
Without Edney and Edwards, LSU struggled on vault for the second straight meet, posting a 48.900. But LSU was above 49.000 in its other three events, with a 49.375 on bars, a 49.275 on floor and a 49.250 on beam.
A bright spot for LSU on bars came from freshman Alyona Shchennikova. She got a season high 9.85 on her lone event that included a 9.90 from one judge.
Shchennikova initially got only a 9.75 from the other judge. But an LSU appeal — and some arguing from Breaux and co-head coach Jay Clark — got Shchennikova’s score bumped up from a 9.75 to a 9.80.
“I asked for a yellow card in protest but she wouldn’t give it to me,” Breaux said of the bars judge in question. “I had a run at them and then Jay had a run. It was a bad judgment. She did a beautiful bar routine.”
Breaux said she is hopeful Shchennikova, who is still on the rebound from offseason Achilles tendon surgery, will be ready to compete on beam this weekend.
1. #9 LSU 196.800 (Vault — 48.900, Bars — 49.375, Beam — 49.250, Floor — 49.275)
2. #22 Oregon State 196.700 (Vault — 48.850, Bars — 49.025, Beam — 49.375, Floor — 49.450)
3. Arizona State 195.600 (Vault — 49.125, Bars — 49.050, Beam — 48.750, Floor — 48.675)
Individual (includes first place and all LSU competitors)
All-around – 1. Kiya Johnson, LSU, 39.575; 2. Morgan Wilson, Arizona State, 38.925; 3. Juliette Boyer, Arizona State, 38,750; 4. Gracie Reeves, Arizona State, 38.100.
Vault – 1. Kiya Johnson, LSU, 9.90; T8. Maddie Rau, LSU, 9.775; T11. Kai Rivers, Lexie Nibbs, LSU, 9.75; 14. Sami Durante, LSU, 9.675; T15. Ruby Harrold, LSU, 9.675.
Bars – T1. Kiya Johnson, Kai Rivers, LSU, Cairo Leonard-Baker, Arizona State, 9.90; T4. Sami Durante, LSU, 9.875; T6. Alyona Shchennikova, Ruby Harrold, LSU, 9.85; T9. Bridget Dean, LSU, 9.825.
Beam –1. Maela Lazaro, Oregon State, 9.925; T4. Kiya Johnson, LSU, 9.875; T6. Christina Desiderio, Kennedi Edney, Reagan Campbell, LSU, 9.85; 17. Sami Durante, LSU, 9.525.
Floor – T1. Isis Lowery, Kaitlyn Yanish, Oregon State, 9.925; T3. Kiya Johnson, Kennedi Edney, LSU, 9.90; T6. Ruby Harrold, LSU, 9.85; T9. Reagan Campbell, LSU, 9.80; T11. Bridget Dean, LSU, 9.80; 15. Olivia Gunter, LSU, 9.675.
Team SEC Pct. Overall Pct. Average
Florida 3-0 1.000 6-0 1.000 197.650
Kentucky 3-1 .750 6-2 .750 196.479
LSU 2-2 .500 5-2 .714 196.671
Auburn 2-3 .400 3-5 .375 199.095
Georgia 1-2 .333 5-5 .500 196.496
Alabama 2-1 .667 3-3-1 .500 196.865
Arkansas 2-2 .500 2-4 .333 196.233
Missouri 0-5 .000 1-6 .143 195.879
Kentucky 197.275, Auburn 196.250
Arkansas 196.950, Georgia 196.750
Alabama 197.550, Missouri 196.850
Florida 197.875, Denver 197.250, Iowa State 196.800
LSU 196.800, Oregon State 196.700, Arizona State 195.600@
LSU, Missouri, Iowa State, Lindenwood, 6 p.m.#
Arkansas at Alabama, 6 p.m. (SEC Network)
Ball State, Eastern Michigan at Georgia, 6 p.m.
Florida at Auburn, 6:30 p.m. (SEC Network)
Kentucky at LSU, 2:15 p.m. (SEC+)
@-At Corvallis, Oregon
#-GymQuarters Invitational, St. Charles, Missouri
All times Central