LSU gymnasts No. 1

The LSU gymnastics team has been rewarded for its consistency through the first seven weeks of the season with a No. 1 national ranking, according to the first regional qualifying score rankings released Monday.

LSU, which dropped a 198.125-197.625 decision at Florida on Friday night, sits atop the GymInfo national rankings with a 197.470 qualifying score with three regular-season meets remaining. The last time the Tigers were No. 1 in the nation was March 14, 2005.

The 197.470 is the highest qualifying score in school history, surpassing the previous best of 197.400 in the final rankings of the 2004 season.

Until now, the rankings had been determined by a team’s season average. But the rankings for the rest of the season will be based on qualifying score, which is derived from a team’s top six scores — of which three must be from road meets or neutral sites — minus the highest score. The remaining five scores are averaged to determine the qualifying score.

That means LSU’s season-high and school-record 197.875 score at the Metroplex Challenge in Fort Worth, Texas, on Feb. 15 wasn’t counted, leaving the Tigers with scores of 197.650 (at Oklahoma), 197.650 (Alabama), 197.625 (at Florida), 197.225 (at Arkansas) and 197.200 (Centenary).

Three of their five scores that count have come on the road, and coach D-D Breaux’s team has topped the 197.000 mark seven times in eight competitions.

Led by a trio of gymnasts who lead the nation in individual events, the Tigers have posted the second-, third- and fourth-highest scores away from home in the nation this season: at the Metroplex Challenge (197.875), at Oklahoma (197.650) and at Florida (197.625).

Oklahoma, which was beaten by LSU in Norman, Okla., on Feb. 9 before topping the Tigers six days later at the Metroplex, ranks second with a 197.405 qualifying score. Florida is third at 197.365.

Oklahoma and Florida were 1-2 in last week’s rankings, when they were determined by seasonal average. Florida is the reigning NCAA champion.

“We’ve been No. 1 before, but not with the same perception that we’re a really, really good team,” said Breaux, whose team was ranked No. 3 last week based on its average score for the season. “We’ve beaten some good teams. And what has gotten us this ranking is our regional qualifying score, which shows a lot of consistency.”

“We were so excited. ... We had a group message (going), and we were was going crazy because we were all so excited,” said Rheagan Courville, who leads the nation in the all-around. “We were really excited to get back in the gym (for practice on Monday) to work toward what we want, because it’s really happening. When we saw it online, we were all just going back and forth in our messaging. ... We were really excited.”

In team event rankings, LSU (7-3, 3-2 Southeastern Conference) leads the nation on vault with a qualifying score of 49.500 and on floor with a score of 49.460. The Tigers are third on beam (49.240) and fifth on bars (49.290).

Individually, Courville has a 39.595 qualifying score to lead the all-around, while Sarie Morrison is No. 1 on bars with a 9.935 qualifying score, and Jessie Jordan tops the beam with a 9.915 qualifying score.

Lloimincia Hall is ranked second nationally on floor with a 9.945 qualifying score, while Courville is right behind Jordan at No. 2 on beam with a 9.90. Jordan ranks sixth in the all-around with a 39.465.

After being on the road for four weeks, LSU will host Missouri in an SEC matchup at 7 p.m. Friday.

It’ll be the first of three consecutive home meets to conclude the regular season. The Tigers will take on North Carolina State on March 7 and Kentucky on March 14 before the SEC Championships on March 22.

GymInfo Top 25

(Regional Qualifying Score in parentheses)

1. LSU, 197.470; 2. Oklahoma, 197.405; 3. Florida, 197.365; 4. Alabama, 197.140; 5. Utah, 197.015; 6. Georgia, 196.975; 7. Nebraska, 196.630; 8. Michigan, 196.595; 9. UCLA, 196.530; 10. Stanford, 196.465; 11. Auburn, 196.335; 12. Minnesota, 196.155; 13. Arkansas, 196.130; 14. Oregon State, 196.075; 15. Illinois, 196.065; 16. Central Michigan, 196.030; 17. Boise State, 195.865; 18. Penn State, 195.795; 19. California, 195.650; 20. Arizona, 195.615; 21. Denver, 195.465; 22. Ohio State, 195.355; 23. Kent State, 195.160; 24. Kentucky, 195.130; 25. Southern Utah, 195.105.

LSU GYMNASTS IN NATIONAL RANKINGS

Rheagan Courville — all-around (1), balance beam (2), vault (5), floor exercise (7), uneven bars (10)

Ashleigh Gnat — vault (20)

Lloimincia Hall — floor exercise (2)

Jessie Jordan — balance beam (1), all-around (6), vault (16)

Sarie Morrison — uneven bars (1), vault (6)

Britney Ranzy — uneven bars (18)

Jessica Savona — floor exercise (14)