You know who is awesome? The LSU gymnastics team, that's who.
I'm running out of superlatives to use to describe this team, but they just keep doing superlative things. LSU has just completed its first undefeated SEC season in program history. As in, ever. It's also not like the SEC is just some conference, it is the most dominant conference in college gymnastics. Think football, and then multiply it.
LSU is ranked 2nd in the nation, but Florida is ranked 3rd, Bama 6th, Auburn 9th, and Georgia 10th. That's three programs favored to make the Super Six and five in the top ten. There's another two squads (Arkansas and Kentucky) in the top 25. The SEC is no joke, y'all.
LSU now has two more tune-ups before entering postseason play, but this team is just about firing on all of its cylinders right now. You want to peak at the right time, and boy, are they peaking.
Alabama had won 49 consecutive home meets, and this weekend's win by LSU stops that streak one shy of 50. Bama's last home loss? February 13, 2009... to LSU. There's nothing better than an Alabama win streak bookended by losses to LSU, no matter what the sport. Well, that's not true. There's actually nothing better than an Alabama losing streak, regardless of the sport. The streak now stands at one.
This wasn't a pretty win. Rheagan Courville was suffering from the flu all week and she gamely went out and competed in the first two rotations before calling it a night. That gave Jessie Jordan the opportunity to remind all of us that she is pretty awesome in her own right.
Jordan won the all-around with a season-best 39.575. She posted her highest floor exercise score of the year, but the real highlight was a clutch 9.900 score on the beam in the final slot of the final rotation.
Going into the final rotation, LSU had a massive 0.325 lead, but still had to contend with our favorite sadistic torture device, the beam. Bama, on the other hand, would have the chance to put up big scores on the floor exercise, buoyed by the home crowd.
Let's give some credit, the Tide rose to the challenge. They didn't just chip away at the lead, they took a sledgehammer to it. After an opening 9.850 by Lora Leigh Frost, three straight Tide gymnasts scored a 9.900. Meanwhile, two of the first three Tigers on the beam posted scores below 9.800.
The story of the comeback can be told just by showing how the lead shrank after each turn in the rotation:
Just look at how quickly that lead turned into a deficit. Just halfway through the rotation, LSU's near insurmountable 0.325 lead was already down to 0.050. The crowd was amped, LSU was pressing and short their star, and it felt like the whole meet was slipping away.
And that's when Jessie Jordan stepped up to the beam. About the only good news going into the anchor slot was that Bama's low score was a 9.850 and LSU's was a 9.750, meaning LSU had a lot more room to improve their score just by throwing out the lowest score.
Jordan flat out crushed the anchor slot. Her 9.900 put LSU up by 0.125 and suddenly, all of the pressure was on Alabama. After this massive comeback, Bama still needed a 9.975 just to tie LSU's score. It was not to be. Lauren Beers closed out a pretty miserable night with a 9.475, and LSU took home the meet.
Pressure does not create greatness, it merely reveals it. Alabama cracked under the intense pressure while LSU, after initially wobbling, came through in the end. This was a huge win for the program
Undefeated. It's just fun to say.