LIVE BLOG: No. 35 West Virginia at No. 6 LSU

It’s senior night in the PMAC! This LSU team is the definition of resilience after multiple injuries, some season-ending, have forced the Tigers to dig deep. At the P&G Podium Challenge, they narrowly came away with the victory over California after losing Aleah Finnegan to illness and Kai Rivers to an Achilles injury. Alyona Shchennikova returned to the all-around and Haleigh Bryant continued to impress, so look for the Tigers mentality to remain steadfast as they aim to get a big score before SECs.

For the Mountaineers, they want a big road score to improve its NQS and increase its likelihood of making the postseason. West Virginia set the third-highest score all time and the first 197 score of the Jason Butts era with a 197.325 on their senior night. Kianna Yancey has been a big contributor in the all-around, with fellow seniors Emily Holmes-Hackerd and Abbie Pierson leading the way with multiple scores above a 9.900. 

Checking in from the Maravich Center! We’re all set for a fun one tonight! Should be starting introductions in about 10 minutes, then we’re ready for first vault!

Lineup notes: Cowan makes her PMAC debut on bars, several exhibitions slated for all four events!

Rotation 1: LSU vault, WVU bars

Arenas: Yurchenko full, good amplitude in the air with a stick. Good start! 9.875

Yancey: mount on high bar, Pak salto, slight leg separation, Van Leeuwen, little more leg separation, short on the last handstand. Double layout, no movement of feet. 9.850.

Shchennikova: Yurchenko 1.5, lots of distance, hop forward on the landing. 9.850.

Combs: mount on low bar, Maloney to Pak salto, caught the bar really close on the Pak salto, short on the last handstand, giant full to double tuck dismount with a hop back. 9.775.

Brock: Yurchenko 1.5, good distance. Not a lot of form issues in the air actually! 9.750….these judges are going to be fun tonight.

Leigh: mount on high bar, straddled Jaeger with good height, Pak salto to low bar, short on the final handstand, double layout with the smallest foot movement at the end. 9.800.

Finnegan: Omelianchik, soft knees in the air, step back on the landing. 9.800.

M. Smith: mount on high bar, short on the handstands, beautiful Bail to handstand, double layout dismount, knee bend and a step forward. 9.700.

Wilson: Yurchenko full, some feet form throughout, step back on the landing. 9.775.

Alban: mount on high bar, Geinger caught close and with bent arms, short on the last handstand, double layout, slide back on the landing. 9.750.

Bryant: FHS pike half, the smallest foot movement at the end, maybe some flexed feet? But it’s a 10.000 for the PMAC faithful!

Holmes-Hackerd: mount on high bar, giant full to piked Jaeger to immediate overshoot, double tuck dismount. She mounted while the PMAC crowd was chanting LSU so props to her! 9.850.

Tatum (exh): Yurchenko 1.5, soft knees in the air and feet form, hop forward on the landing. 9.775.

Pierson (exh): mount on high bar, short on the first handstand, Ezhova to low bar, better on the handstand, toe on pike half dismount with a step back. 9.675.

After 1: LSU 49.300, WVU 49.025

Well, that was a fun start! Bryant scoring a 10 was the highlight of the rotation for the Tigers, who couldn’t find a ton of landings (besides Arenas). WVU was clean on bars and will want to find the landings it had last weekend at home to push ahead.

Rotation 2: WVU vault, LSU bars

Yancey: Yurchenko full, good amplitude off the table, slight pike of the hips at the end. 9.850.

Jeffrey: mount on low bar, Maloney to Pak salto, no leg separation, beautiful final handstand, half in half out dismount, deep bend with a step back. Looked like she could have sat it down but didn’t. 9.775.

Irwin: Yurchenko half, a TON of distance, but a huge hop forward. 9.525.

Arenas: mount on high bar, Tkatchev and can’t get her grip back on the bar and falls. It was beautiful in the air too! Double layout with a deep knee bend and a hop forward. Pressure sets the rest of the way for the Tigers. 8.975

Lewis: Yurchenko full, not a ton of distance, but beautiful position in the air with a stick. 9.850.

Tatum: mount on high bar, Tkatchev to immediate Pak salto, some foot form in the air, half in half out with a slight slide back. 9.900.

Alban: Yurchenko full, good height with a hop back. 9.825.

Finnegan: Beautiful first handstand to a Deltchev, bail to handstand was beautiful, double front dismount with a step back. Won’t be the gym slam, but still a good routine! 9.925.

Pierson: Yurchenko full, some leg separation in the air, hop back on the landing. 9.800.

Cowan: mount on high bar, Ray (beautiful toe point!) to immediate overshoot, double layout with a step back. Good first home routine for the freshman! 9.900.

Wehry: FHS pike half, some leg separation in pre-flight, hop back on the landing. 9.750.

Bryant: Need a hit to drop Arenas’ fall here. Mount on high bar, straddled Jaeger with good height in the air, double front half with a STICK. Will definitely drop a fall here. And it’s ANOTHER 10!

Nelson (exh): Yurchenko full, low chest on landing, but good landing! WVU is definitely adapting to this envrionment well. 9.700.

Ryan (exh): mount on high bar, Jaeger to immediate overshoot (she missed that mulitple times at Gym 101, so glad to see her hit it. Double layout with a step forward. 9.825.

Dunne (exh): mount on high bar, Tkatchev to Pak salto was beautiful, slide back on the dismount. 9.850.

After 2: LSU 98.800, WVU 98.100

The PMAC is getting a show from Haleigh Bryant tonight with two 10’s on her first two routines. WVU had a better rotation with landings and is on pace for a good road score heading into its best event!

Rotation 3: LSU beam, WVU floor

Arenas: leap series could’ve used more split. BHS LOSO small, barely noticeable lean, front toss has a deep bend. Switch half, lacked split again. RO 1.5 dismount with a small foot movement forward. 9.850.

Lewis: Fun choreography to start! Rudi to LOSO, floaty in the air. Beautiful position in the air on those leaps. Double tuck final pass, controlled with a lunge back. Great opening routine for the Mountaineers! 9.900.

Shchennikova: wobble on the full turn. Front aerial to BHS BHS series, small lean at the end of the second BHS. Switch leap to split jump, lacked some split on the second leap. BHS gainer full with a stick. 9.875.

Yancey: Beautiful double pike first pass! Switch ring had beautiful position in the air. Second pass is a back 1.5 to front full to stag jump, clean. This floor team is really playing to the crowd! Double tuck final pass is clean. 9.875.

Jeffrey: Wolf turn to open, cat leap to switch side (with a ton of height!) BHS LOSO is right in the center of the beam. Standing front tuck, little low on the landing. RO 1.5 dismount, stick! The fact that hasn’t been in the beam lineup until now is honestly sad because she is such a beautiful beam worker. 9.900.

Collins: First pass is a Rudi to LOSO with zero feet movement. Lacked a little foot form in the leap series. Final pass is a double tuck (barely stayed in bounds) but another hit for WVU! 9.850.

Ballard: BHS LOSO with a small lean to the side. Sissone to switch half, didn’t quite get all the rotation. Front toss is landed with a high chest, RO 1.5 with a step back. 9.825.

Pierson: First pass is a double layout, small slide back on the landing. Split positions are BEAUTIFUL in the air. Weird hesitation before her last pass, front layout to front full, but a clean routine. 9.825.

Bryant: Front aerial to BHS is centered on the beam. Switch leap to straddle quarter, beautiful height on the straddle. Standing front tuck, wobble and foot came off the beam, so shouldn’t be a 10. Low chest on the dismount. 9.875.

Combs: First pass is front tuck through to double pike, slide back of the front foot. Beautiful height in the leap series. Final pass is double tuck, better control on the landing. 9.825.

Finnegan: Looking to drop a 9.825. BHS LOSO LOSO, the smallest wobble after the last layout. Switch leap to split jump, good split positions. Front aerial is beautiful. Gainer full with a stick. 9.975 what.

Holmes-Hackerd: Also looking to drop a 9.825. First pass is her usual, ending with a beautiful straddle jump. Beautiful toe point throughout. Final pass is a double pike with a beautiful landing. Great floor rotation for West Virginia! 9.900.

Brock (exh): BHS LOSO, some feet form with a wobble. Cat leap to front aerial, another small wobble. Beautiful position on the leap series. RO 1.5 with a step back. Good depth routine for the Tigers!

Freehling (exh): First pass is a double tuck, switch of the feet on the landing. Lacked a slight amount of split on the leap series. Front layout to front full second pass is clean with a step forward. Final pass is a double pike, I thiiiiink she went out of bounds but I didn’t see a flag so who knows?

After 3: LSU 148.275, WVU 147.450

West Virginia excelled on its best event, tallying no scores below a 9.800.  LSU did the same on beam and ended with a 9.975 from Finnegan. WVU on pace for a high 196 if it can hit on beam, while LSU could be headed towards another 198 if it can hit floor.

Rotation 4: WVU beam, LSU floor

Holmes-Hackerd: Beautiful mount to start, cat leap to front aerial to back tuck, well controlled on the back tuck. Cat leap to switch leap to another back tuck, little wobbles throughout, but she’s fighting through it. Gainer full with a stick. 9.825

Ballard: double layout first pass with good chest position on the landing. Second pass was clean as well. Switch ring to switch half to one knee, fun little leap series. Double pike final pass with another solid landing. Good leadoff! 9.925.

Pierson: Front tuck to BHS series, small wobbles. Good position on the leap series, even with PMAC crowds roaring. Small step on the dismount.  9.775.

Shchennikova: Front double twist first pass, cleanest that landing has been. Back 1.5 to front layout, floaty on that front layout. Lacked a little split on the second leap. Rudi to LOSO to straddle jump final pass. Most control she has ever had on that final pass. 9.975 for the senior.

Yancey: BHS LOSO LOSO, bend at the waist after the second layout. Split leap to straddle quarter. How Yancey is keeping it together with this crowd is insane. RO 1.5 with a small step. 9.700.

Brock: Double pike first pass, lacked a little height in the air, but clean landing. Landed the double tuck on her toes. Beautiful split and toe point in the leaps. Back 1.5 to front full to a step out of bounds. Tough way to end that routine, but that third pass was the cleanest it’s been so props to her! 9.700.

Combs: WVU needing a big score here. cat leap to front aerial to back tuck series is clean. Piked jump was beautiful! Running punch front full to a stick! Loving the fight from this Mountaineer team! 9.850.

Arenas: First pass is front double full with a slight slide of the feet on the landing. Beautiful toe point on the leap series! Front layout to front full, leg separation on the front layout, but a clean final pass for Arenas!

Leigh: Front aerial to BHS series is clean. Her leap series was beautiful with great positions in the air. Cat leap to switch half series, needed a little more split, but clean otherwise. BHS gainer full off the side with a step.

Finnegan: Double arabian, no stag jump, with a lunge back. 2.5 twist to front tuck clean, beautiful leap series. Cut the third pass she normally does, but still a solid routine for Finnegan.

Wehry: Switch leap to BHS LOSO, foot comes off the beam after the layout. Beautiful extension on the straddle quarter. She has fun skills on this routine! Small wobble on the full turn. Tucked 1.5 off the end of the beam. A freshman anchoring two events is a good sign of promise for her ahead. 9.675.

Bryant: Beautiful landing on the first tumbling pass. Her landings have been spot on all night and floor is no exception. Final tumbling pass is a front double twist with a controlled landing and the roof just blew off this place. No joke, I think I ‘ve lost my hearing. 10.000.

Nelson (exh): BHS LOSO with a wobble with the PMAC crowd roaring in the background. Switch side, lacked a little split. Cat leap to side aerial, clean. BHS gainer full off the side to a stick. Honestly, if I mistyped a skill, I’m sorry, I had a rough view lol.

Wilson (exh): Fun way to end senior night! STUCK that first pass. And the second pass. Clean landings all the way throughout and Jay Clark was HYPE about that ending. WOW. 9.950.

FINAL: LSU 198.075, WVU 196.450

Senior night brings another 198 to LSU and WVU gets a 196 to kick off its double meet weekend. Haleigh Bryant is the first LSU gymnast to score three perfect 10’s in a meet, tied the school all-around record, and is now the school’s perfect 10 leader with 10 perfect 10’s in her career. What a way to end the home season for LSU!

VT: Haleigh Bryant (LSU) – 10.000
UB: Haleigh Bryant (LSU) – 10.000
BB: Aleah Finnegan (LSU) – 9.975
FX: Haleigh Bryant (LSU) – 10.000
AA: Haleigh Bryant (LSU) – 39.875

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Live blog by Savanna Whitten

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