Seven Stacked Teams Head To NCAA GymQuarters Mardi Gras Invitational


The 2018 GymQuarters NCAA Mardi Gras Invitational takes place in two sessions with a total of seven teams competing Friday in St. Charles, Missouri. Both sessions are streaming LIVE on FloGymnastics. It is the second time this season that No. 4 LSU will face SEC foes Arkansas and Missouri.

EVENING SESSION (6:15 PM CST): LSU, Arkansas, Missouri, GWU

No. 4 LSU

Key Event: Balance beam — The Tigers have been good on beam in 2018, particularly in the leadoff spots in the lineup with seniors Erin Macadaeg and Myia Hambrick and in the anchor spot with Sarah Finnegan. But it’s been the middle of the lineup that has had some issues. Christina Desiderio has been a solid beam worker, typically scoring in the 9.800 range. Kennedi Edney, who scored a 9.850 or better in 6 of 10 routines last season, hasn’t looked as solid as she did last season. The final spot in the lineup has bounced between Julianna Cannamela and Reagan Campbell. Both have struggled with staying on the beam. When Campbell hits, she’s capable of a solid score. 

Gymnast to Watch: Sarah Finnegan — Finnegan has been a force for the Tigers all season, especially on uneven bars, where she has gone 9.900 or better four times. Finnegan has competed in the all-around in all six meets so far and has scored a 39.350 or better in all six meets.

No. 8 Arkansas

Key Event: Uneven bars — Arkansas finds itself as the fourth-ranked SEC team right now, just ahead of Kentucky and much of that has come from the Razorbacks being strong on uneven bars and balance beam. Arkansas was stellar on uneven bars against Auburn last week with a season-high 49.450. That lineup included 9.900s from four athletes: Hailey Garner, Sarah Schaffer, Braie Speed, and Amanda Wellick. 

Gymnast to Watch: Sarah Schaffer — After a rough start to her sophomore campaign, Schaffer posted all-around totals of 39.225 or better in four consecutive meets. She is incredibly reliable for the Razorbacks on floor exercise, where she has scored a 9.800 or better in five of six meets, including 9.900s the past three weeks.

No. 20 Missouri

Key Event: Floor exercise — Floor exercise has been the weakest event for the Tigers this season, as Missouri has been forced to count a score below a 9.700 twice, including a rough outing at Alabama in the third meet of the year. But Missouri rebounded nicely, especially last week against LSU. Missouri posted a season-best 49.350 on floor with five scores of 9.800 or better: Shauna Miller (9.800), Michaelee Turner (9.825), Aspen Tucker (9.850), Allison Bower (9.925), and Kennedi Harris (9.950).

Gymnast to Watch: Kennedi Harris — Harris is a powerful gymnast and has been particularly strong on floor this season. She has not scored below a 9.825 on floor and posted a season-best 9.950 last weekend against LSU. She has a powerful vault as well but sometimes is unable to control the power on her landing.

No. 21 George Washington

Key Event: Vault — The Colonials are ranked in the top 10 on vault and have posted a 49.0 event total four times this season. George Washington’s best performance on vault came on Feb. 4 in a tri-meet against Williams & Mary and UW-Oshkosh in which the team was paced by seniors Cami Drouin-Allaire and Jillian Winstanley’s matching 9.900s. Expect George Washington to contend with Missouri and Arkansas on vault in particular.

Gymnast to Watch: Cami Drouin-Allaire — The senior picked up EAGL Gymnast of the Week honors for the second straight week. Drouin-Allaire finished with a 39.400 all-around total in the Colonials’ tri-meet against Denver and West Virginia. She has been super consistent on vault, scoring a 9.875 or better in each of her last five meets. The senior has been great on floor for George Washington, posting five scores of 9.850 or better this season.

MATINEE SESSION (2 PM CST): Minnesota, N. Illinois, Lindenwood

No. 18 Minnesota

Key Event: Balance beam

Gymnast to Watch: Lexy Ramler — Ramler has had a strong start to her freshman season, particularly on balance beam, where she has yet to score below a 9.900. She has twice posted a season-high 9.950 and is a solid contributor in the all-around as well. Ramler has posted a 39.450 or better in each of her last four meets in the all-around and has been a big contributor on uneven bars as well, with a 9.850 or better in each meet this season.

No. 43 Northern Illinois

Key Event: Floor Exercise

Gymnast to Watch: Ashley Potts — Potts picked up MAC Gymnast of the Week honors for her performance in Northern Illinois’ double meet weekend. The senior has been a stellar performer on vault, where she has not scored below a 9.750 all season. She tied her season high with a 9.850 against Illinois-Chicago.

No. 53 (No. 2 DII) Lindenwood

Key Event: Balance beam

Gymnast to Watch: Ryan Henry — Henry has competed on bars, beam, and floor in every meet this season for Lindenwood. She has been a great contributor for the Lions on floor exercise, where she has gone 9.700 or better in five straight meets. Henry competed in the all-around for the first time this season on Feb. 4 against Illinois State and Winona State.

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