It’s not often I find myself at a loss for words, but... what is there to say? That was simply amazing.
The LSU gymnastics team capped off a near perfect day for LSU sports* by rallying from behind on the final rotation to win its third consecutive title. Sarah Finnegan took to the mat needing a 9.925 to win the title outright, but decided to leave no doubt whatsoever, throwing down a flawless routine and a perfect ten to win the title before McKenna Kelly even had to perform.
*Basketball went to the Sweet 16. Beach volleyball won. Softball won, taking the series. Damn you, baseball.
It was an unlikely finish to a meet that was an unlikely finish to this season. A month ago, LSU sat at 1-3 in the SEC and had just scored below a 197 in what seemed like an eternity. The season seemed like it was stalling out. Since then, LSU has been a team on a mission and tonight, that mission is complete. SEC Champions.
LSU came out firing in the first two rotations, scoring a 49.375 on vault and 49.475 on bars. Normally, a 98.850 would put you comfortably in the lead, but Florida was having no ordinary meet. The Gators started with a 49.425 on bars and a remarkable 49.625 on beam. Three Gator gymnasts scored a 9.95 on the rotation.
Florida was on pace for a 198 at the halfway point, but showed its first sign of weakness on the floor routines. Megan Skaggs opened with a 9.525 and Ny Reed stepped out for a 9.75. It looked like the wheels were starting to come off. But Florida righted the ship with three straight scores over 9.90, capped off with a 9.95 by human cheat code Trinity Thomas. The Gators somehow managed a 49.425 on a rotation that at first seemed to be a budding disaster.
LSU may have been underscored on the beam, as six strong routines yielded just a 49.450. LSU’s solid consistency on the beam barely beat out Florida’s white knuckle rideon the floor. Entering the final rotation, LSU was down, 148.300-148.475. The good news was that vault is Florida’s weakest rotation.
The Gators couldn’t quite keep up the pace on the vault despite Trinity Thomas anchoring the rotation with a 9.95. A 49.275 left the door open. Not a lot, mind you, but it was still open. Florida closed out with a 197.750.
Ruby Harrold set the tone with a 9.875 to start things off and Lexie Priessman threatened to blow the roof off with a 9.90. Kennedi Edney upped the the ante with a 9.925, giving Finnegan a chance to win the meet on her performance. Sarah Finnegan picked up the gauntlet and laid it down. Her resounding perfect ten won SEC the team title while also securing the individual all-around title for her. Her 39.800 crushed Trinity Thomas’ 39.575, who had a pretty great meet in her own right. It also beat out Alabama’s Lexi Graber, who scored a 39.650 in the afternoon session.
SEC Champs. Sarah Finnegan took home the all-around title as well. It was a huge performance, maybe the biggest by anyone wearing an LSU uniform all day. And that’s really saying something.
I’ll never doubt again.