Gymnastics: Haleigh Bryant-led LSU ready for SEC Championships

Gymnastics: Haleigh Bryant-led LSU ready for SEC Championships

Haleigh Bryant ended LSU’s regular season with a punch — of equal parts grace, skill and force.

Judges awarded Bryant’s floor exercise, the final routine of Friday’s meet against West Virginia, with a perfect 10, the third she earned that night. Her mark on floor vaulted LSU’s meet score over the 198 threshold, cementing the Tigers’ status as the No. 2 seed in Saturday’s SEC Championships in Duluth, Georgia, at 7 p.m. on the SEC Network.

With the score, Bryant increased her all-around score to 39.875, a tally that tied a 20-year-old school record. This postseason, she likely won’t exceed that mark in the all-around. And LSU won’t need her to.

But they will need, at a minimum, more strong scores from their junior all-around star, with perhaps another emphatic punch or two. Bryant, like she has all season, seems poised to deliver.

“I said Friday night about Haleigh that I’d be hard-pressed to say I’ve ever been prouder of a student-athlete that I’ve coached,” coach Jay Clark said. “I would say that about this team too.”

Only one other LSU gymnast has ever scored that high in the all-around. April Burkholder hit the mark nearly 20 years ago to the day of Bryant’s career night. On March 20, 2003, she scored a 39.875 — with 9.95s on vault and bars, a 9.975 on the balance beam and a 10 on floor exercise.

That night, Burkholder dazzled a much smaller crowd, over 200 miles north of Baton Rouge. The meet — between LSU, Texas Woman’s and Centenary — was held in Shreveport’s Gold Dome, which has a capacity of only 3,000.

“I think Haleigh’s amazing,” Burkholder said, “and I’ve enjoyed watching her the last few years. That does not come without a lot of hard work in our sport.”

“While I do believe that every record is meant to be broken,” she said, “I also think it’s a huge feat and a great accomplishment to tie a record that was set 20 years ago. Like everything else in gymnastics, that definitely doesn’t come easy.”


About Marc Lemoine 3297 Articles
Marc is an Economist and a well experienced weightlifter who has won many championships. He intends to build a bright career in the media industry as well. He is a sports freak who loves to cover the latest news on sports, finance and economy.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.