Judge’s Inquiry: Breaking Down LSU’s Entire Bar Lineup From the Oklahoma Dual

LSU’s home meet against Oklahoma was an exciting display of beautiful gymnastics and had many fans wondering how LSU would fare following the loss of all-around gymnast Kiya Johnson to injury. To the delight of LSU fans everywhere, the Tigers outscored Oklahoma on bars 49.450 to 49.400. Last year, the reigning national champion Sooners finished the season ranked No. 1 on bars. Although they lost a strong routine from graduating senior Karrie Thomas, they had no trouble replacing her routine with Faith Torrez, a former elite capable of huge scores on every event. LSU’s bar lineup looks strong this year, anchored by all-around stars Aleah Finnegan and Haleigh Bryant. However, with only one stuck landing and some obvious execution errors, fans are wondering how LSU’s lineup outscored the reigning national champions. 

Below I’ll break down LSU’s bar line up and the deductions I saw while rewatching the ESPN broadcast. To try and simulate the judging panel’s perspective, I did not take any leg separation deductions on skills where you could not see the separation from the side view (paK salto). However, note that my perspective is still slightly different than that of the panel.

Let’s take a look, shall we? You can watch all the full routines from the competition here

Alexis Jeffrey

Arm bend on Pak salto (-0.050)

Arm bend on cast handstand (-0.050)

Leg separation on cast (-0.050)

It looks like she started a straddle cast and then changed her mind and did one with a straight body. I’m not sure if judges could see it.

Flexed feet on dismount (-0.050)

Hop back on landing (-0.100)

My Score 9.700 to 9.800

Panel’s Score: 9.800

Elena Arenas

Flexed feet and/or loose knees (-0.050)

It’s very minor, and I doubt the judges took both knees and feet, as it’s objectively a beautiful release.

Body position (pike) on release (-0.050)

Moderate leg separation, easily seen from the side view. (-0.100)

Small hop on landing (-0.050)

My score: 9.750 to 9.800

Panel Score: 9.875

Tori Tatum

Arm bend, high bar cast handstand (-0.050)

Flexed Feet (-0.050)

Arm bend, high bar cast handstand (-0.050)

Short cast (-0.050)

It’s hard to be sure from the camera angle.

Small step back on landing (-0.05)

As a reminder, to be considered a stick you can land with your feet slightly apart and slide your heels together to finish. Her left foot lifts up and joins the right foot behind her, which is considered a step.

My score: 9.750 to 9.800

Panel Score: 9.875

Aleah Finnegan

Arm bend, cast handstand (-0.050)

Arm bend, pike circle to handstand (-0.050)

Arch, overshoot to handstand (-0.050) 

Step on landing (-0.100)

Her arms are pulling up and toes are digging in, clearly trying to keep from stepping forward and not showing a controlled landing, which is why this is not actually a stick. 

My score: 9.750

Panel Score: 9.925

Alyona Shchennikova

Short cast (-0.050)

Again, it’s hard to tell from this angle.

Arm bend on catch (-0.050)

Flexed Feet (-0.050)

Failure to maintain a straight body (-0.150)

Her pike was over 90 degrees, and it’s an up-to-two-tenth deduction.

Step forward on landing (-0.100) 

My score: 9.65

Panel Score: 9.875

Haleigh Bryant

Haleigh Bryant cast screenshot

Arch (-0.100)

If this happened in elite or level 10, the judges could also consider taking a rhythm deduction, but I doubt this would happen in college.

My score: 9.9

Panel Score: 9.9

Was I a little harsh? Maybe for NCAA standards. Did I have the benefit of instant replay, as well as judging within the comforts of my own home? Absolutely. Was LSU still overscored on bars? In my opinion, yes, by about five tenths. 

LSU Team Score: 49.450

My Team Score: 48.950

READ THIS NEXT: Judge’s Inquiry: Breaking Down Denver’s Jessica Hutchinson’s 9.850 Vault

Article by Rhiannon Franck

Rhiannon Franck is a former national-rated NAWGJ women’s gymnastics judge with over 15 years of USAG judging experience and nine seasons judging NCAA gymnastics. Outside of gymnastics, Franck works at a university as a nursing professor and loves to travel. You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter.

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  1. Can we get the same play by play on OU’s floor score for this meet? Equally generous in my opinion —> see R. smith’s landings

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