That’s 11 seniors, for those of you wondering.
LSU picked up another superstar transfer Thursday when former Florida gymnast Savannah Schoenherr posted that she would be using her final season of eligibility at her former rival. Many people online believed that she would transfer to UCLA for reasons on and off the floor. Nobody had LSU on their radar until Tuesday evening when she appeared on the Alex Box Stadium video board and SECN+ broadcast of LSU’s 14-4 win over Northwestern State. Schoenherr is using the redshirt year she took after she broke her foot the day before the 2023 season opener.
Schoenherr’s freshman season in 2019 was solid. She made every possible bars and vault lineup as well as four floor appearances. She went 9.900+ on bars in most of her appearances, including a season-high 9.925 at Oklahoma, but was less consistent on vault, something she cleaned up by the end of the season. She represented Florida as an individual at nationals when the team failed to qualify thanks to a 9.900 on vault at regionals that tied her season high. She scored a 9.8750 with her Yurchenko 1.5 and earned second-team All-America honors.
Schoenherr remained a stalwart on bars and vault in her Covid-shortened sophomore season. She scored 9.900+ on most of her bars routines again and set a career high with a 9.975 against LSU. She earned regular season second-team All-America honors on bars. Her vault was more consistent, too, though it never surpassed 9.900. She made one appearance on floor in the team’s final meet of the season and scored a career-high 9.925.
Her junior season was her most consistent on vault and her least consistent on bars, events she always competed. She fell twice on bars, the first times she’d done so in her college career, and only scored above 9.900 three times out of 12 routines. Vault was a brighter story. She scored at least 9.900 on half of her vaults and set a career high with a 9.950 at Arkansas she later tied vs Auburn. Her consistency on vault earned her regular season second-team All-America honors. She also made her beam debut at Alabama with a 9.875, an event she competed at the next three meets.
Schoenherr’s senior season was very good on bars but inconsistent on vault. She had an incredible meet vs Arkansas in which she tied both her vault and bars career highs. She scored 9.900+ on most of her bars routines for the third time in her career including the aforementioned career high. Vault was a little off. She went below 9.800 three times, but she set a new career high with a 9.975 on her first senior night. She decided to take her Covid redshirt for 2023, but she broke her foot in a non-gymnastics accident (fell down some stairs according to one source) right before the season opener and had to redshirt that season. She decided her career was going to end on her terms and transferred to her former rival.
Potential impact at LSU
Jillian Hoffman is more of an intriguing question mark that will have an impact somewhere, it’s just not clear. Savannah Schoenherr is an exclamation point to LSU’s roster. Head coach and bars coach Jay Clark admitted that last season’s team lacked depth on bars more than any event. The second spot in the lineup was never as solid as it could’ve been, but Tori Tatum showed her immense value in the third spot when the team needed her. Schoenherr was the 2018 Level 10 bars champion and didn’t miss a meet over four seasons at one of the best bars teams in the country. Her vault is very good, and it’s gotten to a point where LSU has enough people to field two top-10 vault lineups without repeating people not including incoming freshmen. Schoenherr has a few appearances on floor and beam, too, but she’s had the problem of being at one of the top 3 beam teams in the country. LSU had troubles on beam last season, and she has the talent to provide help if needed or even to earn her way in the lineup on her own right.
It’s clear that LSU is making a massive all-in push for the 2024 season. Senior night is going to take forever at this point, but that won’t matter if the gamble pays off. This is LSU’s best chance at the SEC title in years. It’s back at the Smoothie King Center for the first time since 2019 and it’s the final year that the championship won’t include Oklahoma. On top of that, Florida is at their weakest in years and the other biggest threats to LSU are Alabama and Kentucky. LSU made the national title this past season despite all the terrible injury luck thanks to some other luck from other teams. It takes a lot of luck to win a title, but that’s especially true when there’s no defense against a surging opponent. If 2023 was the foundation for the next era of LSU gymnastics, though, that surge might come with a ferocious roar.