LSU The Favorite At GymQuarters Invitational

Kiya Johnson LSU

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Valentine’s Day this year is all about love for gymnastics, because the 2020 GymQuarters College Invitational is on Feb. 14, and you won’t want to miss it! This explosive meet features seven competitive NCAA teams in St. Charles, Missouri, in two separate sessions, and both are streamed live on FloGymnastics

The evening session hosts four exciting teams: No. 9 LSU, No. 18 Iowa State, No. 21 Missouri, and No. 48 Lindenwood. Open stretch kicks off at 4:15 p.m. CT, then these four teams will compete for podium spots.

LSU will be the team to watch on Friday, even with a slow start to its season compared to previous years. This is largely due to early season injuries of some of the Tigers’ biggest stars. All-around competitors Kennedi Edney (senior) and Sarah Edwards (junior) are currently out or not competing in all four events due to injuries, which can have a serious impact on the team score. With LSU not at the top of its game, another team could have a chance to overtake them.

This is not to say the team has not had any strong points this season, because the freshmen are coming in hot. Kiya Johnson, coming off of a first-place win at club nationals during her senior season, is currently ranked No. 2 in the nation on vault and floor, as well as No. 5 all-around, and was twice named SEC Freshman of the Week in just five weeks. LSU has also consistently improved on all events this season besides beam — and beam has been inconsistent for many NCAA teams in 2020. LSU is ranked No. 2 in the nation on vault, an event that will certainly help the team score at this meet.

The competition will be tight between Iowa State and Missouri as well, as they are not only three rankings apart, but also have very close average and high season scores. Iowa State's Average team score is only 0.175 above Missouris, with a 195.860 over Mizzou’s 195.685. Considering Missouri also has a higher team score (196.650) than Iowa State’s high team score of the season (196.625), the podium spot belongs to whoever has a good meet on Friday. 

Iowa State has performed especially well on bars so far this season, letting that event’s high scores carry its team score, while Missouri outranks the Hawkeyes on vault, beam, and floor. While Iowa State relies more on event specialists, the Tigers have a few all-arounders that they count on to deliver. Morgan Porter and Sienna Schreiber are likely to be seen competing all four events for Missouri at this competition. Porter has been a standout individual this year, with an all-around high of 39.4250, and three scores over a 9.9 this season so far, all on floor.

Lindenwood is the underdog in this competition, although the team is improving steadily this season, posting its season high on Feb. 2. What holds the Lions back the most is its bars scores, as they ran 44th in the nation on vault and beam, 47th on floor, and 58th on bars.

The matinee session features No. 61 Seattle Pacific, No. 63 Southeastern Missouri State University (SEMO), and No. 71 Centenary. Starting at noon CT, these three teams will compete to see who takes home the gold.

Seattle Pacific and SEMO will be neck and neck, with just a mere 0.052 difference in their average team scores. Seattle Pacific has an average score of 191.244 and a high of 193.575, while SEMO has an average of 191.192 and a high of 192.775. Centenary will likely come in third place, but in the sport of gymnastics, anything can happen on any given day. 

Tune in to FloGymnastics on Valentine’s Day to see all the action and to see who will be No. 1 at this year’s GymQuarters College Invitational!

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