Tampa Bay Sports Day

SEC: LSU Wins Gymnastics Title in Jacksonville

Photo by LSU

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Top-seeded LSU posted the third-highest team score in SEC Championship history, a 198.075, to capture the 2017 SEC Championship at Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena.

This is the Tigers’ second SEC Championship and first since 1981. LSU also won the 2017 SEC regular-season title.

In the anchor spot of the opening rotation LSU’s Ashleigh Gnat earned her third perfect score of the season on vault. It was the senior’s ninth perfect 10 of her career, which is tied for most in school history. The Tigers earned a 49.575 in the first event, the program’s highest vault score in SEC Championship action.

LSU continued to shine, scoring 49.450 on bars, another program-best in SEC Championships. In the second rotation the Tigers were led by sophomore Lexie Priessman, who tied her career-high on bars with a 9.950.

The Tigers also earned their best beam score at an SEC Championship with a 49.500. LSU maintained a lead after each rotation, but with Florida close behind in the standings, sophomore McKenna Kelley clinched the championship for LSU with a 9.950 on floor and Gnat closed out the meet by also earning 9.950.

No. 2 seed and 2016 champion Florida finished just behind the Tigers with a 197.825. No. 3 seed Alabama scored 197.400 to finish third and No. 4 seed Georgia landed in fourth place with a score of 196.700.

Florida’s Alex McMurtry won the 2017 All-Around title with a collegiate-best 39.700 and teammate Kennedy Baker finished second with a collegiate-best 39.650. McMurtry and Baker also finished in the top two spots in 2016, but with Baker claiming last year’s title.

Gnat’s perfect score earned her the individual title on vault and she claimed shares of the beam and floor titles, with 9.950s on both events. Alabama’s Kiana Winston and Kentucky’s Alex Hyland also took top honors on the balance beam. McMurtry, Baker and Kelley joined Gnat in a four-way tie for first in the final floor standings. The uneven bars title was won by Alabama senior Katie Bailey and LSU’s Priessman, who both tied their career-best score of 9.950.

In the afternoon session No. 5 seed Kentucky edged out No. 7 seed Auburn 196.625-196.550. The score was a program-high for Kentucky in SEC Championship action. Kentucky’s Mollie Korth needed a 9.800 on floor to seal the Wildcats’ session win and the freshman delivered, posting a 9.850. The Wildcats finished fifth overall and Auburn came in sixth.

Korth had the highest vault score of the session, a 9.900. Her teammate Alex Hyland scored a 9.950 on balance beam, tying her career high and securing a share of the event title.

The Wildcats led after each of the four rotations, but Auburn kept it close, earning a season-best team score. Auburn sophomores Samantha Cerio and Emma Engler both tied their career best with 9.900 on bars. Tigers senior MJ Rott led all Session I gymnasts with a 9.875 on floor.

No. 6 seed Missouri earned a 195.825 to come in seventh while No. 8 seed Arkansas finished in eighth with 194.900.