LSU gymnastics was neck and neck with the Georgia GymDogs during the final rotation of Friday night’s meet.
After the first gymnast of LSU’s beam rotation fell, the Tigers hit the next five routines in the lineup to secure a victory. Freshman Kai Rivers competed in the event for the first time in her LSU career and posted a 9.95, while junior Reagan Campbell scored a meet-high 9.975 for a total beam score of 49.575.
After failing to reach a score of 196 in the season opener against Arizona, the Tigers fought back from a rough start on the uneven bars to defeats Georgia 196.725-196.150 in Stegeman Coliseum.
“We’re developing some depth, learning who are our gamers who can get in there and compete,” LSU coach D-D Breaux said. “It’s not what we want. It’s not what we’re going to be, but I’ll take a win in this league.”
Freshman Kiya Johnson won the all-around in only her second collegiate meet with a score of 39.525 and a 9.925 on vault and floor exercise. Senior Kennedi Edney was tied for second in the all-around with 39.375. Breaux said Edney almost didn’t compete tonight because of a nagging hip injury.
“(Johnson) was amazing tonight,” Breaux said. “She put blinders on. She didn’t try to do more than she’s capable of doing and she just did Kiya Johnson, which is enough to go 10.0 on each event.”
Neither team reached expectations on the uneven bars, with no gymnast scoring above a 9.85 and three total falls between the two teams. LSU junior Sami Durante returned home to Athens to post a meet-high 9.85 on the uneven bars in a third spot of an LSU lineup that scored 48.900.
LSU bounced back after the shaky bars lineup by dominating on vault. The Tigers — who have traditionally succeeded in the event — had four scores of 9.875 from Kai Rivers, Ruby Harrold, Sarah Edwards and Kennedi Edney and a big 9.925 from Johnson.
“A win is a win,” Breaux said. “Any time you can come and beat Georgia in front of their home crowd. The kids learned a lot about their character today. They dug down deep and said we’re going to win this thing.”
LSU struggled again on the floor exercise, but Edney and Johnson stuck their routines in the last two spots of the lineup with a 9.80 and 9.925 respectively to maintain the Tigers’ lead going into to final rotation, where both teams continually one-uped each other with each routine.
Breaux said that because of injuries combined with the amount of freshman on this season’s team, coming up with consistent lineups will be a “work in process.”
“We competed with intensity on our last event,” Breaux said. “I felt like we did pretty good around on the other events, but not nearly what you should do to get a 197. We’ve got to get better. This is a good team. They’re going to be great by the end of the season.”
LSU returns home to the PMAC next Friday, Jan. 17 to face Auburn.
1. #2 LSU 196.725 (Vault — 49.425, Bars — 48.900, Beam — 49.575, Floor — 48.825)
2. Georgia 196.150 (Vault — 49.325, Bars — 48.050, Beam — 49.225, Floor — 49.550)
Individual (includes first place and all LSU competitors)
All-around — 1. Kiya Johnson, LSU, 39.525; T2. Kennedi Edney, LSU, 39.375
Vault — 1. Kiya Johnson, LSU, 9.925; T4. Kai Rivers, Ruby Harrold, Sarah Edwards, Kennedi Edney, LSU, 9.875; 12. Maddie Rau, LSU, 9.775
Bars — 1. Sami Durante, LSU, 9.85; 2. Kiya Johnson, LSU, 9.800; 4. Kennedi Edney, LSU, 9.775; T5. Kai Kivers, LSU, 9.750; 8. Ruby Harrold, LSU, 9.725; 12. Alyona Shchennikova, LSU, 0.000
Beam — 1. Reagan Campbell, LSU, 9.975; 2. Kai Rivers, LSU, 9.95; 3. Kennedi Edney 9.925; T5. Kiya Johnson, LSU, 9.875; 8. Sami Durante, LSU, 9.85; 11. Bridget Dean, LSU, 9.25
Floor — T1. Soraya Hawthorne, Rachel Lukacs Sabrina Vega, UGA, 9.95; 4. Kiya Johnson, LSU, 9.925; 7. Kennedi Edney, LSU, 9.800; 8. Reagan Campbell, LSU, 9.750; T9. Ruby Harrold, LSU, 9.7000; 11. Sarah Edwards, LSU, 9.650; 12. Olivia Gunter, LSU, 9.575