Tiger Gymnasts Beat Lady Backs

Friday, February 27, 2009 - 10:42pm

The sixth-ranked LSU gymnastics squad pulled out its fourth straight victory against ninth-ranked Arkansas Friday night in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center. The final count was 196.150-195.800.

The Tigers used strong performances through the first three rotations to pull ahead of the Razorbacks, and LSU held on in the fourth rotation to take the victory.

“It was a hard meet, and if we would have let down anymore then a very good Arkansas team would have beaten us,” LSU head coach D-D Breaux said. “The fact of the matter is they didn’t, and we had great performances from people throughout the night but not one person had great events throughout.”

LSU (11-2, 4-2 SEC) built a lead after one rotation when the Tigers posted a 49.275 on vault, the ninth time in nine meets LSU has eclipsed 49.0 on the event. Arkansas (6-4, 3-3) tallied a 48.975 on bars, led by junior Casey Jo Magee’s 9.875.

The Tigers built upon the lead in the second rotation by scoring a 49.225 on bars compared to Arkansas’ 49.075 on vault. Through two rotations LSU led the Razorbacks, 98.500-98.050.

LSU tallied a 49.150 on beam in the third rotation, and Arkansas kept pace by scoring a 49.125 on floor.

However, it was the fourth rotation that created cause for concern for the Tigers. LSU had to count a fall on floor as the Tigers scored a 48.500. With a chance to pull the upset, Arkansas could only manage a 48.625 on beam, and LSU remained undefeated against the Razorbacks. LSU’s all-time record against Arkansas now stands at a perfect 16-0.

Individually, Arkansas swept the all-around as Magee scored a 39.400 to take the title, but LSU won at least a share of all four event titles, including senior Ashleigh Clare-Kearney capturing three events.

Clare-Kearney tied her season-highs on floor and vault with a 9.975 and a 9.950, respectively, to win both events. She also captured bars by tying two others with a 9.875. Clare-Kearney improved her total of career individual titles to 107.

Sophomore Staci Schwitkis tied Clare-Kearney on bars with a 9.875 to win her first individual title of the season, and junior Summer Hubbard picked up her third beam title of the season by tying Arkansas’ Magee with a 9.90 in the event.

Hubbard ended the night by tying two career highs with her 9.90 on beam and a 9.875 on floor, and junior Kayla Rogers broke her season high and tied her career high with a 9.90 on vault.

“I told Summer Hubbard tonight if she would have vaulted she would have won the all-around because she was great,” Breaux said. “Kayla Rogers did an incredible job for us by leading off on two events and giving us 100 percent of what she is capable of doing. That is the kind of performances we are going to need at SEC’s and regionals down the road. You want to have those kinds of meets tonight so that we go back in the gym and train harder to be a little sharper next week.”

With SEC regular-season competition complete, LSU will turn its sights to next week’s Second Annual Etta James Memorial Meet against North Carolina State March 7 at 6 p.m. CT in the PMAC.