DENVER, Colo. – The sixth-ranked LSU gymnastics team will compete for the program’s 14th regional title at the Denver Regional Championship on Sunday, April 2, at 6 p.m. CT in Magness Arena.
The Tigers will fight for the program’s 32nd appearance at the NCAA Championships on Sunday.
“We should be more comfortable tomorrow and be able to make the adjustments needed. I expect us to compete aggressively,” said head coach Jay Clark. “We were a little bit timid in spots on Friday and tomorrow we just have to go for it. We need to go out there and try to take what we want.”
LSU will face off against No. 3 Michigan, No. 11 Oregon State and No. 14 Denver on Sunday. The top two teams from the regional final will advance to the NCAA Semifinals in Fort Worth, Texas, on April 13
All sessions of the Denver Regional will be streamed on ESPN Plus with Steve Schlanger and Ashley Miles Greig on the call. The Tigers will begin the competition on vault
Streaming and live stats of the meet will be available on lsusports.net.
NCAA Championships History
The NCAA regional berth marked the squad’s 38th straight appearance in the NCAA postseason and 40th overall appearance for the Tigers. LSU owns 31 NCAA Championships appearances and 13 NCAA Regional championships.
Since the first year the NCAA sanctioned gymnastics in 1982, LSU has advanced to the NCAA Regional 40 out of 41 years. The 1984 season was the only year LSU did not qualify for regional competition.
The following is the place LSU has finished in each of its 39 previous regional appearances and how many times the Tigers have finished in that spot:
- First Place – 13 times (1986*, 2002*, 2004*, 2005, 2008*, 2009, 2013, 2014*, 2015,
2016, 2017, 2018, 2019) – *Hosted 6 out of 12 times.
- Second Place – 15 times (1985, ‘87, ‘88, ‘89, ‘90, ‘93, ‘94, ‘99, 2000, ‘03, ‘06, ‘07, ‘10, ‘12,’21)
- Third Place – 10 times (1982, ‘83, ‘91, ‘95, ‘96, ‘97, ‘98, 2001, ‘11, ‘22)
- Seventh Place – 1 time (1992)
Last Time On The Floor
The Tigers posted a score of 197.375 in the first session of second round competition on Friday afternoon to advance to the Denver regional final. LSU finished tied at the top with No. 11 Oregon State with their final score on the day and defeated Georgia and Nebraska to advance to the round of 16.
Elena Arenas led things off on beam for the Tigers in Magness Arena with her score of 9.825. Alyona Shchennikova followed with a 9.800 in the second spot. Alexis Jeffrey posted a 9.900 and Sierra Ballard added a 9.850. Haleigh Bryant tied for third highest beam score at a regional with her 9.950 routine to elevate the beam squad to the tie for the program’s sixth highest score on the event with a 49.325.
In the second rotation, Ballard led off with a 9.875 to start things off on floor. Shchennikova followed with another 9.875 and Chase Brock matched her career high on floor with her 9.925. Arenas posted a strong 9.900 routine and Bryant closed with a team-high 9.950 as the floor squad tied for second highest score at regionals with a 49.525.
The Tigers led at the halfway point in Magness Arena with a score of 98.850 followed by Oregon State’s 98.800, Georgia’s 98.600 and Nebraska’s 97.625.
On vault, Arenas led off with a 9.850 followed by Shchennikova, who also posted a 9.850. Brock scored a 9.800 in the third spot and Aleah Finnegan came back strong and tallied the third 9.850 of the rotation. Wilson added a 9.825 before Bryant posted a 9.875 to close the third rotation with a vault score of 49.250.
The Tigers wrapped up the meet on bars, where Jeffrey led off with a 9.900. Finnegan and Shchennikova both added scores of 9.850 before Bryant anchored with a 9.925. The bars squad finished with a 49.275 to clinch the top spot and advance to the next round.
Bryant finished as the top performer in the meet with her all-around score of 39.700, which ties for the third highest score at a regional in program history.
The junior now owns 10 all-around titles on the year and 18 in her career.
LSU ranks in the top-10 nationally on all four events. The Tigers are ranked third on vault, third on floor, ninth on bars and 10th on beam.
The week 11 Road to National rankings marked the ninth-straight week that the squad placed amongst the top-10 teams in the country.
The Tigers own an NQS of 49.500 on vault, 49.420 on bars, 49.415 on beam and 49.595 on floor.
Bryant continues to be one of the top gymnasts in the nation as she ranks No. 4 in the country and No. 1 on vault with her NQS of 9.980. She also ranks in the top-20 on bars and floor.
Finnegan ranks fourth on floor, sixth on beam and 12th in the all-around
Bryant, Finnegan Two Of Nation’s Top Gymnast
Bryant and Finnegan earned WCGA Regular Season All-American honors in 2023. Bryant tallied All-America honors on vault, bars, floor and the all-around while Finnegan tallied honors on beam, floor and all-around.
The honors marked Bryant’s third career All-America honors on vault and second on bars, floor and in the all-around. It was the first in Finnegan’s career.
A native of Cornelius, N.C., Bryant is one of the top gymnasts in the country as she finished the regular season ranked at the No. 4 in the all-around. The junior competed in the all-around in every regular season competition for the Tigers and recorded five meets with scores of 9.900+ on all four events.
Her front handspring-front pike half is considered to be one of the best vaults in all NCAA gymnastics as she finished ranked at the top in the event with her NQS of 9.980.
She owns scores of 9.900 or higher on vault in every meet this season and recorded three 10’s in 2023 against Missouri, Alabama and West Virginia. She owns eight perfect scores on the event in her career.
Bryant also finished No. 6 in the nation on floor and No. 14 on bars. She had eight combined meets with scores over 9.900 and recorded her first career 10’s on the events in the same night against West Virginia to move her career total to 10 and place her at the top for most career perfect scores in program history.
Bryant has tallied 26 titles this season; nine on all-around, nine on vault, three on beam, three on bars and two on floor. She now owns 17 all-around titles to place at sixth for career-best in LSU history and her 56 career titles rank tenth in program history for most individual titles.
Finnegan, a native of Lee’s Summit, Missouri, finished ranked No. 4 on floor, No. 6 on beam and No. 12 in the all-around.
The sophomore owns an NQS of 9.965 on floor and recorded nine meets of 9.900+ performances on the event. She recorded her first career perfect score on floor this season against Georgia and posted another at Alabama.
On beam, Finnegan had nine meets with scores of 9.900 or better and recorded her first perfect score on the event against Florida.
She owns 14 titles this season; six on beam, five on floor, one on vault and two all-around.
Bryant and Finnegan are expected to be mainstays in the all-around as the team prepares for the regional championship in Denver. Shchennikova competed in the all-around in the second round competition on Friday and could appear on all four events for the Tigers on Sunday, as well as Arenas.
Bryant’s front handspring-front pike half is considered to be one of the best vaults in all of NCAA gymnastics as she ranks the No. 1 vaulter in the nation. She owns season highs of 9.950 on beam and perfect 10’s on vault, bars and floor. Her career high 39.875 in the all-around came in the squad’s regular season competition against West Virginia.
Sophomore Aleah Finnegan owns a career high score of 39.800 in the all-around, which she recorded at Auburn. After recording four perfect 10’s in four straight meets, the sophomore now owns perfect scores on floor, vault, and beam and a career high of 9.925 on bars.
Arenas has been a consistent contender in the vault, bars and beam lineups. The junior from Athens, Georgia, won the SEC vault title in 2021 and owns a season-high score of 9.925 on the event. She also recorded a career high of 9.925 on beam at Kentucky and 9.900 on bars against Florida. She made her first appearance on floor this season against Florida and earned a career high score of 9.875 at the Podium Challenge.
Shchennikova competed in the all-around for the first time this season against Missouri and matched her career high 39.525 against Auburn. The senior owns season highs of 9.925 on vault, 9.875 on bars, 9.800 on beam and 9.975 on floor.
Junior Chase Brock made her vault and floor debuts against Oklahoma and has been continually making her mark in the lineups. After her career night against Alabama, she now owns highs of 9.975 on vault and 9.925 on floor
Sierra Ballard continues to bring the energy to the floor leadoff spot and owns a season high of 9.925 on the event. The Louisiana native debuted on beam against Oklahoma and now owns a career high of 9.925 after her performance at Alabama.
Junior Olivia Dunne made her first appearance on bars this season at Alabama and recorded a season high score of 9.850 at the SEC Championships.
Tori Tatum, a sophomore from Chanhassen, Minnesota, made her debut on bars against Oklahoma after suffering from an injury last year. She now owns a career high 9.900 after her performance against Missouri and matched her career high against Florida, Alabama and West Virginia.
A consistent bars leadoff, Alexis Jeffrey owns a career high of 9.925 on bars and made her beam and floor debuts in Tuscaloosa. The sophomore now owns highs of 9.900 on beam and 9.750 on floor.
A native of Dallas, Texas, KJ Johnson owns season high scores of 9.950 on floor and vault and also recorded a career high 9.875 in only her third beam appearance against Florida.
Freshmen Ashley Cowan and Bryce Wilson have stepped up in only their first season with their Tigers. Cowan made her collegiate debut on bars at Auburn and now owns a career high 9.900 after her routine against West Virginia. Wilson made her debut on beam against Utah and her vault debut at Alabama. She now owns career highs of 9.850 on beam and 9.925 on vault.
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