No. 7 LSU gymnastics topples UK

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 6, 2008

BATON ROUGE – An all-around win by junior Ashleigh Clare-Kearney led the seventh-ranked LSU gymnastics team to a, 195.075-191.200, win over Kentucky Friday night at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.

Clare-Kearney’s all-around title marked her fourth in five meets this season. She tallied a 39.225 in claiming the victory.

“Ashleigh continues to give us solid performances,” said LSU head coach D-D Breaux. “Unfortunately, the meet as a whole wasn’t spectacular. I thought we competed tired. We may have overworked in preparation for this meet and I think it showed at the end of the competition.”

Despite the sluggish end, LSU started the meet with two solid events. Beginning on the vault the Tigers posted a 49.000 to UK’s 47.950 on the bars.

Clare-Kearney was the Tigers’ top performer on the event, notching a 9.875 to claim her fifth straight meet title on the event. Other top performances came from sophomore Susan Jackson and freshman Staci Schwitkis who each posted scores of 9.800.

The Tigers’ string of sold performances continued into the second rotation where they notched a season-high 49.175. Kentucky countered with a 47.850 on the vault as the Tigers extended their lead, 98.175-95.800.

A trio or Tigers tied for top honors on the bars as sophomore Summer Hubbard, Schwitkis and Clare-Kearney recorded identical scores of 9.850. The score marked a career high for Schwitkis as well as a season best for Hubbard, who was competing in her first meet of the year.

Moving to the beam in the third rotation, the Tigers stumbled and had to count a fall towards the team score to muster just a 48.375. LSU did get strong individual performances from senior Kristi Esposito and Jackson. Esposito won the event with a 9.850, while Jackson finished second with a 9.825.

LSU capped the meet on the floor with a 48.525. Sophomore Sabrina Franceshelli led all performers with a career-high 9.850. The score was good enough for the meet title on the event, the first of her career. Clare-Kearney finished tied for second with a 9.750.

Up next, the Tigers welcome Auburn and West Virginia to the PMAC on Friday, Feb. 8, for a 7 p.m. tri-meet.