Jackson Wins All-Around National Championship

by Jake Terry (@LSUjake)
Jackson Wins All-Around National Championship

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – LSU senior gymnast Susan Jackson continued her assault on the school record books as she became the first Tiger in school history to win the all-around national title with a 39.625 performance in the first session of the NCAA Championships Thursday at Florida’s Stephen C. O’Connell Center.

Jackson also broke the school record for all-around titles in a single season with her 11th, and it could not have come on a bigger stage.

“I am so proud of Susan because she has worked so hard over the course of her career, not only in the gym but in all areas of her life,” head coach D-D Breaux said. “She deserved to win the all-around title because she has tremendous talent, and I am so happy that she ended her career as the national champion.”

The ninth-seeded LSU gymnastics team fell short of a third straight Super Six appearance as the Tigers finished sixth with a 196.025 total.

UCLA won the semifinal with a 196.875, followed by Utah in second at 196.625 and Oklahoma in the third spot with a 196.550.

LSU (15-13-1) was in a tight battle with UCLA and Oklahoma entering the final rotation, but the Tigers were unable to maintain momentum as they had to count a fall on beam.

Even though LSU did not qualify for the Super Six, several Tigers performed well in the meet. Summer Hubbard, Ashley Lee and Susan Jackson earned First Team All-America honors and will compete in the individual event finals that will take place Saturday. Samantha Engle also earned Second Team All-America honors on bars.

Hubbard earned her third straight First Team All-America honor on bars, and Lee picked up her first career honor on vault. Jackson earned her ninth, 10th, 11th and 12th honors as a First Team member on vault, bars, beam and all-around. Engle’s All-America honor is her first.

“I can’t fault the seniors because they deserved to be in the Super Six and move on, but a little shuffling of feet and slip of the mind on beam cost us,” Breaux said. “I’m proud of this team and especially the seniors because they competed hard, stayed in the process and did everything we asked them to do throughout their careers.”

LSU began the meet on a bye, and no team put up a high score in the first rotation as Utah tallied a 49.100 on floor and Oklahoma posted a 49.000 on vault.

In the second rotation, LSU opened on floor for the second straight meet, and the Tigers earned a 49.000 to post the team’s highest score in the event since March 19 at Centenary when the team tallied a 49.050.

Kayla Rogers led off floor with a 9.85 to jumpstart LSU, and Ashley Lee followed with a solid 9.75. After Sabrina Franceschelli fell on her final pass to score a 9.225, the pressure was on the rest of the lineup to hit their routines.

Summer Hubbard showed outstanding poise to earn a 9.85, and Samantha Engle avoided a fall to finish with a 9.70. Susan Jackson anchored the event with a 9.85 to tie Rogers and Hubbard with team-high scores.

Through one event LSU sat in a tie for third place, and the Tigers remained in a tie for third after the second event.

LSU followed up floor with a 49.100 on vault, as two Tigers earned a 9.90 or higher. Rogers led off the event with a 9.75, followed by Franceschelli’s 9.70.

Lee turned in the best vault of her career as she stuck her landing for a 9.90, good enough for third place in the meet and First Team All-America honors.

Gloria Johnson and Ericka Garcia followed Lee with 9.75’s, and Jackson recorded a near-perfect vault with a 9.95 to anchor the event.

After the final bye of the meet, LSU excelled on bars with a 49.300, the second-highest team total for LSU on the event all season.

However, the Tigers had to fight through a dramatic turn of events to begin bars. Franceschelli led off, but the grip on her left hand split open, forcing her to quit and jump down from the event.

Franceschelli and assistant coach Philip Ogletree showed the ripped grip to the head judge, and Franceschelli was granted a second chance. However, she had to go at the end of the lineup to give her an opportunity to find a suitable replacement grip.

Because Franceschelli was bumped down to the end of the lineup, everybody moved up one spot.

Freshman Shelby Prunty took the leadoff spot and came through with a 9.775, and LSU carried that momentum through the rest of the lineup.

Garcia posted her third-highest score of the season with a 9.80, and Engle followed with a 9.85 to earn Second Team All-America recognition.

Hubbard earned a 9.90 for her third First Team All-America honor in the event, and Jackson recorded the highest bars score in the meet with a 9.925.

With LSU looking for an outstanding bars score, Franceschelli mounted the bars with a new grip and earned a 9.825 – just .025 off her season high – to give the Tigers a 49.300 total.

“Sabrina overcame a lot of adversity because not many people could have gotten up and done what she did,” Breaux said.

Through three events LSU was in second place with a 147.400, trailing only UCLA’s 147.475, but while the Tigers were putting up a solid bars score, Utah was ending its meet on beam. The Utes posted an outstanding 49.250, the highest beam score of the meet, to finish with a 196.625 total.

Heading into the sixth and final rotation, LSU was in a three-way battle for the final two spots with UCLA and Oklahoma.

Prunty showed great poise to record a season-high 9.825 in the leadoff spot, but the Tigers were unable to hold the momentum.

Johnson finished three-quarters of her routine when she lost balance and fell off the beam to finish with a 9.325.

With the pressure on the rest of the Tigers to hit, Garcia notched a 9.80 to keep LSU in contention, but Hubbard suffered a fall to score a 9.325.

Engle tallied a 9.775 in the fifth spot, and Jackson recorded a 9.90 to cap the meet with her third First Team All-America honor as LSU finished with a 48.625 on beam.

In the last rotation, UCLA earned a spot in the Super Six with a 49.400 on vault while Oklahoma punched a ticket with a 49.250 on floor.

Even though LSU’s season as a team came to an end in the semifinals, three Tigers will compete in the individual event finals Saturday at 5 p.m. CT in the O’Connell Center. Jackson will compete for a national title on vault, bars and beam, while Hubbard will compete on bars and Lee will compete on vault.

Susan Jackson – First Team All-American (VT, UB, BB, AA)
Summer Hubbard – First Team All-American (UB)
Ashley Lee – First Team All-American (VT)
Samantha Engle – Second Team All-American (UB)


1. UCLA 196.875 (VT – 49.400, UB – 49.125, BB – 48.975, FX – 49.375)
2. Utah 196.625 (VT – 49.125, UB – 49.150, BB – 49.250, FX – 49.100)
3. Oklahoma 196.550 (VT – 49.000, UB – 49.150, BB – 49.150, FX – 49.250)
4. Nebraska 196.175 (VT – 49.375, UB – 49.150, BB – 48.525, FX – 49.125)
5. Oregon State 196.050 (VT – 48.950, UB – 48.975, BB – 48.975, FX – 49.150)
6. LSU 196.025 (VT – 49.100, UB – 49.300, BB – 48.625, FX – 49.000)

Individual (Includes first place and all LSU competitors)

All-Around (both semifinal meets)
1. Susan Jackson, LSU, 39.625
2. Casey Jo Magee, Arkansas, 39.550
3. Carly Janiga, Stanford, 39.525
4. Geralen Stack-Eaton, Alabama, 39.500
5. Brandi Personett, Penn State, 39.475
6. Sharaya Musser, Penn State, 39.450
7. Daria Bijak, Utah, 39.425
7. Vanessa Zamarripa, UCLA, 39.425
7. Kylee Botterman, Michigan, 39.425
10. Marissa King, Florida, 39.400
10. Jaime Pisani, Arkansas, 39.400
10. Sarah Curtis, Michigan, 39.400

Vault – 1. Susan Jackson 9.95; t3. Ashley Lee 9.90; t33. Kayla Rogers 9.75; t33. Gloria Johnson 9.75; t33. Ericka Garcia 9.75; t40. Sabrina Franceschelli 9.70

Bars – 1. Susan Jackson 9.925; t2. Summer Hubbard 9.90; t7. Samantha Engle 9.85; t15. Sabrina Franceschelli 9.825; t18. Ericka Garcia 9.80; t31. Shelby Prunty 9.775

Beam – t1. Susan Jackson 9.90; t1. Jamie Deetscreek (Utah) 9.90; t1. Kyndal Robarts (Utah) 9.90; t1. Courtney McCool (Georgia) 9.90; t11. Shelby Prunty 9.825; t15. Ericka Garcia 9.80; t25. Samantha Engle 9.775; t36. Summer Hubbard 9.325; t36. Gloria Johnson 9.325

Floor – 1. Brittani McCullough (UCLA) 9.925; t11. Summer Hubbard 9.85; t11. Susan Jackson 9.85; t11. Kayla Rogers 9.85; t36. Ashley Lee 9.75; 38. Samantha Engle 9.70; t42. Sabrina Franceschelli 9.225