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Gymnastics Advances To Fayetteville Regional Final; Wins Second Round With 197.800

Schedule Second Round Results +0
Gymnastics Advances To Fayetteville Regional Final; Wins Second Round With 197.800

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The No. 2 LSU Gymnastics team (22-3, 5-2 SEC) finished first in the second round of the Fayetteville Regional on Thursday night to advance to the regional finals on Saturday, April 6 inside Bud Walton Arena. 

LSU’s score was the highest across both sessions of competition on Thursday in Fayetteville and the second highest at a regional in program history. 

“All in all, it was exactly what we needed to do. It certainly wasn’t perfect, but we didn’t need to be today. It’s about surviving and advancing and that’s what we did,” said head coach Jay Clark.

“We challenged them to finish strong on floor, and they went to that event and knocked it out of the park. They were steady all the way through. We just need to stay the course. They got used to the equipment today and now we should be more comfortable when we go back in there on Saturday.”

KJ Johnson started things off for the Tigers as she leadoff on vault with a 9.850. Aleah Finnegan, Amari Drayton, and Savannah Schoenherr all followed with three scores of 9.850s. Chase Brock had the third highest score on the day with her 9.900. Haleigh Bryant scored a 9.925 in the anchor spot, a team high and the second highest score on Thursday. 

Through rotation one, Minnesota led the evening session with a 49.500 followed by LSU with their 49.375.

Alexis Jeffrey re-entered the bars lineup this week in her usual leadoff position and earned a 9.850. Ashley Cowan followed with a 9.900, placing her amongst the top-five performers on the event for the day. Kiya Johnson posted another 9.850 in the third spot while Konnor McClain followed with a 9.875. Schoenherr added another 9.900 to share the third highest score on the day with her teammate, Cowan. Bryant closed the Tigers out on bars, earning a 9.825. 

LSU finished bars with a 49.375 to give them a 98.750 at the halfway point, taking the lead over Minnesota’s 98.725. BYU followed in third place with their 98.250 and Oregon State in fourth with their 98.075.

The Tigers score on bars matched the sixth best score in program history during regional competition. 

Sierra Ballard led the Tigers off on beam with a 9.850 routine. Schoenherr followed with a season high 9.875 in only her second appearance on beam this year. McClain scored a 9.925 in the third spot, a team high. Her performance placed her second across both sessions on the day. Kiya Johnson earned a 9.800 with their routines while Bryant scored a 9.825 in the fifth spot. Finnegan contributed a 9.875 in the anchor spot to close out the third rotation. 

The LSU beam squad met another program record score at regionals, as their 49.350 on Thursday night matched the sixth highest score. The squad took the lead into the final rotation with their score of 148.075.

McClain continued to shine in her postseason debut, recording a 9.900 in the leadoff to get things going on floor. Fellow freshman, Drayton, followed with another 9.900. KJ Johnson delivered a strong 9.950 in the third spot before Finnegan earned a perfect 10 in the fourth spot, her third on floor this year. Bryant added to the lights out floor rotation with her 9.950 in the fifth spot. Olivia Dunne went in place of Kiya Johnson in the anchor spot and matched her career high with her 9.900. 

The LSU floor squad closed out the meet with a 49.700, a new program best regional score. The previous record was 49.650, set in 2014 at the Baton Rouge Regional.

Finnegan’s perfect score on floor was only the third time an LSU gymnast achieved perfection on the event at a regional. The junior now owns seven perfect scores in her career, the sixth most in LSU history. 

Her performance on floor was enough to secure regional champion honors as she shares the title with Oregon State’s Jade Carey, who also recorded a 10 in the second round competition. 

The Tigers finished first overall in the second session of the NCAA second round in Fayetteville, defeating No. 15 Minnesota, Oregon State and BYU to secure their spot in the regional finals. Minnesota’s second place finish (196.950) at the meet also earned them a spot in Saturday’s final along with LSU. 

No. 2 LSU will face No. 7 Kentucky, No. 10 Arkansas and No. 15 Minnesota in the Fayetteville Regional Final on Saturday at 5:00 p.m. CT on ESPN+. The top two finishers in the meet will advance to the NCAA Championship Semifinals in Fort Worth from April 18-20.

Stay up to date with all things LSU Gymnastics by following the team’s social media channels @LSUgym on  Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

NCAA Gymnastics Regional – Second Round
Fayetteville, Ark.

Session I
1. Arkansas – 197.325
2. Kentucky – 197.100
3. Nebraska – 196.600
4. Arizona – 195.600

Session II
1. LSU – 197.800
2. Minnesota – 196.950
3. BYU – 196.500
4. Oregon St. – 196.450