Gymnastics Clinches Spot in NCAA Championship
SALT LAKE CITY– LSU fought from its first routine to its last to score a 197.750 and advance to the NCAA Gymnastics Championships for the 31st time in school history on Saturday night at the Maverik Center.
The Fighting Tigers will compete in NCAA Semifinal II at the Dickies Center in Fort Worth, Texas, on April 16. The second session will feature No.1 Oklahoma, No. 6 Utah and No. 7 Alabama. No.1 Florida, No. 4 Michigan, No. 5 Cal and No. 8 Minnesota also advanced to the NCAA Championships.
“We survived and advanced tonight,” head coach Jay Clark said. “I loved the fight in these kids. This was an incredible regional and it came to the very end. It felt like a national championship tonight. We had such great energy all day and you could feel it for this meet. I am especially proud of this senior class. They really got it done today. They showed up today and never let up”
Utah took the top spot with a 197. 925 on Saturday night. LSU’s score marked the second best in an NCAA Regional in school history and the best away from Baton Rouge. Arizona State and Kentucky finished in third place with a score of 197.600.
Senior Reagan Campbell clinched LSU’s meet with a 9.925 in the anchor spot on beam. The Tigers scored a 49.525 for the best score away from Baton Rouge in an NCAA Regional. Christina Desiderio scored a 9.90 to start the lineup and fellow senior Sami Durante scored a 9.95. Alyona Shchennikova was inserted the lineup at the last minute and scored a 9.825. Senior Bridget Dean also delivered a 9.925 for the Tigers.
LSU opened the meet with a 49.475 on floor and sit in a tie for first after one. Desiderio opened the meet with a 9.875. Shchennikova and Sierra Ballard delivered scores of 9.90. Sarah Edwards delivered with a 9.85 and Kiya Johnson scored a 9.95 in the anchor spot.
The vault lineup hit with a 49.475, led by freshman Haleigh Bryant’s perfect score. She joined Ashleigh-Clare Kearney and Jennifer Wood as the only gymnasts in school history to score a perfect 10 on vault at an NCAA Regional.
Brock led off vault with a 9.825, Shchennikova scored a 9.85 Arenas put up a 9.875 and Edwards scored a 9.85. Johnson put up a 9.90 in the fifth spot and then Bryant stuck her vault for the second perfect score of her career.
The Tigers put themselves in a jam on bars in the third rotation and scored a 49.275 to sit in third place with a 148.225. The Tigers hit five-for-five with Brock, Olivia Dunne and Bryant all earning a 9.85. Shchennikova scored a 9.825 and Durante anchored the bar lineup with a 9.90.