Gymnastics Moves on to Sweet Stixteen
BATON ROUGE- The third ranked LSU Fighting Tigers (21-3) used a strong night from its veteran leaders to push past Auburn, Arizona State and George Washington and advance to the Sweet Stixteen of the NCAA Gymnastics Championships Friday night inside the Maravich Center.
The Tigers scored a 197.200 to finish first in the second session of the second round of the NCAA Baton Rouge Regional. No. 13 Auburn also advanced out of the evening session with a team score of 197.075.
No. 6 Utah (196.800) and No. 11 Minnesota (196.300) also advanced to the regional final, which will be held at 7 p.m. Saturday in the PMAC. The top two teams from the final will advance to the NCAA Gymnastics Championships April 19-20 in Fort Worth, Texas.
Senior Sarah Finnegan highlighted the event as the regional champion on beam. The score of 9.925 extend her all-time record mark of individual titles in the event to 26. The beam title also pushed her wins this season to 43, which moved her closer to the all-time record set by Sandra Smith and Susan Jackson with 45.
Harrold Tees off Tigers with Strong Start on Vault
Remaining in her comfortable second spot in the lineup, England native Ruby Harrold tallied a 9.90 to headline the first event. Three Tigers, Finnegan, Kelley and Edney each finished with solid scores of 9.85. Closing out the rotation and marking her first appearance since the March 1st meet against Georgia was Julianna Cannamela, who had a 9.80 to give the Tigers a team score of 49.250 heading to the second rotation.
LSU Continues Consistent Showing on Bars
Finnegan and Edney continue to flourish in key spots as both gymnasts recorded a 9.90 on the uneven bars. Beginning her evening with a 9.85 was sophomore Sami Durante in the first spot. Equaling Durante with a 9.85 of own was freshman Bailey Ferrer. Rounding out the uneven bars portion for the purple and gold was Bridget Dean who scored a 9.825. The score of 49.325 pushed the Tigers’ total to 98.575 to just stay ahead of Auburn.
Finnegan Takes Title on Beam
Finnegan anchored the squad’s 49.325 on beam with a 9.925 to earn the title. Following close behind as per usual with a 9.90 was Edney. In her first event of the regional Reagan Campbell scored a 9.875. Durante scored a 9.85 in the third spot and Christina Desiderio and Dean opened with 9.775s.
Kelley Caps Night with Floor Win
Kelley sent the Tiger faithful home happy, tallying a 9.925 to anchor LSU to a victory. The title for Kelley on the floor gives her five for her career. The trio of Harrold, Campbell and Sarah Edwards each had scores of 9.85 to pace the team. Closing out the rotation was Edney as she ended her evening with a 9.825.
LSU will fight for its 19th regional title in school history on Saturday night in the PMAC. The meet will be streamed live on WatchESPN.com
NCAA Regional 1st Round
George Washington def. Lindenwood,195.200-194.750
Fri., April 5
NCAA Regional 2nd Round
2 p.m. – Session I
1. Utah – 196.800
2. Minnesota – 196.300
3. Arkansas – 196.175
4. BYU – 195.550
7 p.m. CT – Session II
1. LSU – 197.200
2. Auburn – 197.075
3. Arizona St. – 195.425
4. George Washington – 194.675
Sat., April 6
NCAA Regional Final
7 p.m. CT – Four Teams Advancing from 2nd Round Sessions (Top 2 from each session)