LIVE BLOG: SEC Championship Session Two

The 2021 SEC season concludes tonight in the second session of the conference championship! Make sure you check out Jenna’s live blog of the first session so you can catch up with all the details heading into tonight.

All eyes tonight will be on Florida. The Gators enter this meet tied with Oklahoma atop the country in NQS, but an injury to superstar Trinity Thomas two weeks ago raises a lot of questions. Will Thomas compete? How many events will Thomas compete? Can Florida win without her? LSU took the Gators to the wire in their dual meet, Arkansas has been posting program records this season and Alabama quietly pulled enough upsets to finish second in the conference regular season standings. If Thomas is healthy enough to compete the all around the Gators get the edge, but without her it’s anyones for the taking.

The all around competition will also be a great race with or without Thomas as the SEC boasts some of the nations best. Alabama’s Luisa Blanco and Arkansas’ Kennedy Hambrick have both had better than expected years and go for 9.9s across the board consistently while LSU’s Haleigh Bryant has lived up to the lofty preseason expectations everyone had for the freshman. Megan Skaggs has also emerged this year as a great compliment to Thomas for Florida.

Follow along with tonight’s meet with scores and video: SECN, Vault, Bars, Beam, Floor, Quad Box. SECN is what I will be following for the live blog.

Thomas will only be competing bars tonight per Bart Connor on the commentating team.

Rotation 1: Florida Vault, LSU Bars, Arkansas Beam, Alabama Floor

Foberg (UF): Yfull. Hop in place. 9.850

Johnson (LSU): Maloney to bail, nice handstand, hops up to high bar, sticks the double layout dismount. 9.875

Gianfagna (Ark): Front toss, beat jump to split half, RO 1.5 dismount, small hop forward. 9.825

Lazzari (UF): Comes in a little under-rotated, hops forward. 9.825

Brock (LSU): Giant half to tkatchev, flexed feet, bail a little crooked, jumps to high bar, dismounts with FTDT, hop forward. 9.825

Skaggs (UF): Giant Yfull. Slide back. 9.875

Lovett: Full turn, switch leap to split jump, front aerial LOSO, big check and bend at the hips off to the side, side aerial to full dismount, way off to the side and a hop. 9.775

Schoenherr (UF): Y1.5, near stick but takes a hop. 9.900

Dunne (LSU): Tkatchev to pak, great, half pirouette, jumps to high bar, dismounts with a double layout, gets the stick. 9.900

Reed (UF): Y1.5. Great distance per usual, goes for the stick but takes just a tiny hop forward. 9.900

Bryant (LSU): Giant half to sky high jager, bail, a little loose in her back, hops to high bar, giant half to double front, big step forward. 9.800

Richards (UF): Y1.5. Comes in way short and falls back. 9.300

Shchennikova (LSU): Mounts on the high bar, Tkatchev to pak, decent form, great pirouette, hops to the high bar, dismounts double layout, pikey but gets the stick. 9.850

We haven’t seen Alabama on floor yet but its all 9.8+ over there.

Shaffer (Ark): Switch leap to split quarter, BHS LOSO, solid, front aerial, huge break, bends over to the side, full turn, cat leap to side aerial to stuck layout full. 9.700

Durante (LSU): Giant half to jager, great handstand, pak, a little wonky, FTDT dismount, sticks it. 9.900

Blanco (Bama): Opens with a double pike, perfect form, bounces easily through her leaps, double tuck, great landing, front full front layout, easy. 9.950

Carter (Ark): Gets going with BHS LOSO, nice and clean, beat jump to double stag, confident, great toe point, front aerial to sissone, full turn, side aerial to layout full, steps into the salute. 9.850

Graber (Bama): Mounts with a nice full-in, switch side through to wolf jump 1.5, RO 1.5 front tuck through to double pike, looked like it was going to be a bit short but controls it well. 9.950

Hambrick (Ark): BHS LOSO to start, falls, switch leap to switch half, done nicely, beat jump to straddle 3/4, small check on the full turn, cartwheel to gainer full, small slide. 9.375

After 1: Alabama 49.450, Florida 49.350, LSU 49.350, Arkansas 48.875

An exciting start to the meet! Alabama made the most of its opportunity to start on floor and surged to the lead. Florida and LSU both also got off to nice starts but gave up a few tenths on landings and are thus slightly behind the Crimson Tide. The Richards fall on vault was a missed opportunity for Florida, but not a bad score missing Thomas’ one and a half. Arkansas caught a case of the wobbles and now has a hole to climb out of. Luckily, the Razorbacks are finished with beam and are moving onto their best event, making it a good opportunity to get back on track.

Rotation 2: Alabama Vault, Florida Bars, LSU Beam, Arkansas Floor

Adams (Bama): Yfull. Good in the air, hop back. 9.825

Richards hit a bars routine for Florida. 9.825

Desiderio (LSU): Beat jump, BHS LOSO, check to the side, full turn, front aerial, gainer full, small slide. 9.800

Olsen (Bama): Ydouble. Just a small hop, best vault I’ve seen from her this season. 9.925

Lazzari (UF): Tkatchev, toe on to pak, a little close, all good handstands, hops to high bar to dismount, FTDT, small hop back. 9.800

A hit for Durante on beam.

Blanco (Bama): Y1.5. Sticks it! Not a ton of height. 9.950

Skaggs (UF): Tkatchev to pak, great, hops to high bar, good handstands, dismounts double layout, stuck. 9.925

Graber (Bama): Big Y1.5, step forward. 9.900

Carter (Ark): RO 1.5 front full, great, easy and clean leaps, double pike, controls the lunge. 9.950

Quinn (Bama): Y1.5, good form, hop forward. 9.925

Schoenherr (UF): Giant half to jager, awesome, goes over on handstand and has some empty swings, hops back to high bar, giant half to double front dismount. 9.275

Dean (LSU): Full turn, side aerial BHS, lifts the foot in a wobble, switch leap to split jump, easy, front aerial to beat jump, side aerial to layout full, stuck. 9.875

Baumann (UF): Giant half to jager, great form, can’t control the swing and can’t cast to handstand, casts and goes into her bail, nice, dismounts with a double layout, chest down and a big hop. 9.325

Johnson (LSU): Full turn, BHS LOSO, easy, switch leap to switch half, good height, small arm check, front toss, dismounts RO double full, small hop back. 9.900

A hit for Lovett on floor for the Razorbacks, some big lunges. 9.900

Thomas (UF): This is who you want in a must-hit situation like Florida is in. Maloney to clear hip to pak, tiny bit close, toe on to shaposh half, nice handstand, dismounts double layout, a little out and steps forward. 9.850

Campbell (LSU): BHS LOSO, solid, full turn, small check, front aerial to sissone, switch leap to switch half, a little under-rotated, RO double full, hop back. 9.850

Hambrick (Ark): Big double tuck, nice Rudi to layout to straight jump, easy leaps, dismounts with a double pike, a little under to steps forward. 9.875

Rotation 2: Alabama 49.550, Florida 48.725, LSU 49.300, Arkansas 49.425

After 2: Alabama 99.000, LSU 98.650, Arkansas 98.300, Florida 98.075

Well that was a dramatic rotation! Alabama has surged out to a lead after being nearly flawless through its first two events. The Crimson Tide really took advantage of Olsen hitting her huge vault in the second spot. Florida made the least of its opportunity with Thomas in the bars lineup with the misses before her, and now may be out of the running if other teams don’t mess up. Arkansas got back on track on floor as expected, and the Tigers have kept themselves in contention with a solid outing on beam. Blanco is also leading the all around with arguably her best two events to come, so make sure to watch her in these next two rotations!

Rotation 3: Arkansas Vault, Alabama Bars, Florida Beam, LSU Floor

Waligora (Bama): Giant half to jager to overshoot, easy, hops to high bar, dismounts double layout full twist, small step. 9.800

Richards with a fall on beam for Florida. 9.025

Desiderio (LSU): Big double layout to open, RO 1.5 to front layout, saves a really short landing, switch ring to switch half, dismounts with a double tuck, slightly low but good lunge. 9.850

Graber (Bama): Gienger, toe on to bail, nice handstand, hops to high bar, short on last handstand, FTDT dismount, chest down and a hop. 9.775

Skaggs (UF): Opens with switch leap to split jump, BHS LOSO, solid, front aerial, small arm check, cat leap to switch side, dismounts side aerial to stuck layout full. 9.900

Shchennikova (LSU): Front double full, big step, RO 1.5 front full, decent leaps, Rudi to finish. 9.925

A hit for Gaskins on bars for Alabama. Some form errors throughout. 9.750

Lazzari (UF): BHS LOSO LOSO, awesome, switch leap to split jump, dismounts side aerial to stuck layout full. 9.950

Elswick (Ark): Yfull. Clean, shuffle back. 9.825

Ballard (LSU): Double layout, pretty short and close to OOB, stayed in it appears, RO 1.5 front layout, a bit whipped, good leaps, double pike to close. 9.800

Hambrick (Ark): Y1.5. Big air, step forward. 9.875

9.950 for Adams on bars for Alabama. Followed by a hit by Doggette. Another 9.950

Baumann (UF): BHS LOSO, great, switch leap to split jump, front aerial, confident, full turn, switch half, nice, dismounts with a stuck RO 1.5! 9.950

Edwards (LSU): Front double full, RO 1.5 front full, big step OOB, bouncy leap series, ends with a RO double tuck, sticks just chest a little down. 9.700

Another great routine from Blanco on bars. 9.950 again!

Clapper (UF): Starts with BHS LOSO LOSO, slow but no checks, full turn, smooth, switch leap to split jump, side aerial to layout full, gets the stick! 9.925

Bryant (LSU): Front handspring front double tuck to open, phenomenal, front handspring front layout Rudi done great, switch 3/4 straddle 3/4 nice and high, finishes with front double full, great. 9.925

Schoenherr (UF): Only her second counting routine on beam, front aerial, BHS LOSO, no problems, split jump to straddle 3/4, lean forward, RO 1.5 dismount, stuck. 9.800

Johnson (LSU): Huge full-in to start, great control, RO 1.5 front layout, great control again, easy leaps, ends with a double pike, no problems at all. 10.000!

Rotation 3: Arkansas 49.125, Alabama 49.425, Florida 49.525, LSU 49.500

After 3: Alabama 148.425, LSU 148.150, Florida 147.600, Arkansas 147.425

As expected, it’s going to come down to the final rotation! Alabama continued to shock everyone with a fantastic bars rotation that helped it maintain its lead despite another perfect showing from Johnson on floor for LSU. That was a big grab for the Tigers who had given up plenty of tenths on landings earlier in the lineup. Arkansas gave up ground due to low difficulty on vault which allowed Florida to surpass them behind the strength of its stellar beam lineup. This is going to be a great final rotation, with the title already in the hands of the Crimson Tide. The question is, can they hang on?

Rotation 4: LSU Vault, Arkansas Bars, Alabama Beam, Florida Floor

Durante (LSU): Yfull. Chest a little down but gets the stick! 9.900

Klopfer (Bama): Opens with a nice wolf turn, front aerial, small check, repeats the aerial into a BHS, beat jump to split half, cat leap to side aerial, RO 1.5 dismount, sticks it! 9.850

Shchennikova (LSU): Y1.5. Good in the air, near stick but steps forward. 9.925

Gianfagna (Ark): Mounts to the high bar, Ray and misses everything, and they cut away. 9.225

Waligora (Bama): Full turn, smooth, BHS LOSO, a little bent knees, side aerial, tiny adjustment, split jump to tuck full, takes a step back to control but nothing major, RO 1.5 dismount, step forward. 9.850

Skaggs on floor for Florida, almost a hit but tucks around a front layout. 9.800

Everything 9.9+ for LSU on vault, making a late push if Alabama falters any on beam.

Johnson (LSU): Ydouble. Comes in a little short, step forward. 9.850

Adams (Bama): Split leap to front aerial, didn’t put leg down but there was a long pause, BHS LOSO, wolf double, fluid throughout, switch leap split jump, BHS 1.5 dismount, step back. 9.850

Bryant (LSU): Huge front pike half, tiny slide back. 9.950

LSU goes 49.625 on vault. 197.775 is score to beat.

Graber (Bama): Former SEC beam champ needs to come up with a big one. Full turn, BHS back pike, small break, switch leap to straddle 3/4, no problems, cat leap to front toss to one foot to gainer full, stuck! 9.950

Richards (UF): Double layout, a little short, step forward, RO 1.5 front layout, easy, a little weird step out of a leap, closes with a double tuck, way short and puts her hands down. 8.850

Doggette (Bama): A 9.875 clinches the meet! BHS LOSO, solid, beat jump to switch half to beat jump, a little short of half but covers well, side aerial to layout full, off to the side and short and takes a step forward. Going to be close. 9.825

It’s going to come down to Blanco on beam!

Blanco (Bama): Needs a 9.875 still, front aerial, tiniest check, full turn, BHS LOSO LOSO, switch leap to beat jump, RO double full dismount, stuck! 9.950!

Rotation 4: LSU 49.625, Arkansas 48.175, Alabama 49.450, Florida 49.375

Final: Alabama 197.875, LSU 197.775, Florida 196.975, Kentucky 196.825, Auburn, 196.275, Missouri 196.125, Arkansas 195.600

What a thrilling meet to cap off the SEC season! Alabama was consistent and clean from start to finish to pull off one of the bigger upsets of the season and crown itself SEC Champions. Luisa Blanco was the star of the night going 9.950 across the board to lead the Crimson Tide. LSU rallied late on vault, but wasn’t able to overcome little mistakes and ultimately was edged out in the end. Florida undoubtedly missed Thomas tonight, but was off from the start and couldn’t recover with two other great teams hitting tonight. Arkansas suffered from a rough final rotation tonight on bars to slip to last place amongst all the teams. Overall, a wonderful meet and night of gymnastics!

Event Winners:

All Around: Blanco (Alabama), 39.800

Vault: Arenas (LSU), Blanco, Bryant (LSU), 9.950

Bars: Adams (Alabama), Blanco, Doggette (Alabama), 9.950

Beam: Baumann (Florida), Blanco, Graber (Alabama), Lazzari (Florida), 9.950

Floor: Johnson (LSU), 10.000

Live blog by Brandis Heffner

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