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LSU’s rise continues with trip to NCAA championship

LSU’s rise continues with trip to NCAA championship

less than a minute ago
LSU Athletics

Photo: LSU Athletics

FORT WORTH, TX- Through one of the most unlikely courses, the LSU Gymnastics program once again clinched its ticket to the NCAA Championship after finishing in first place in NCAA Semifinal I on Thursday afternoon at the Dickies. arena.

The Tigers, who topped the afternoon semifinal with a team score of 197.475, advance to Saturday’s championship alongside Southeastern Conference counterpart Florida (197.400). . California was third at 196.9125 and Denver was fourth at 196.500 in the preliminaries.

LSU has now reached the NCAA Team Finals nine times in school history. This is the second time since the start of the Four on the Floor format in 2019 that LSU has advanced the championship and the first time under head coach Jay Clark.

The team will challenge for the program’s first NCAA championship at 3:00 p.m. Saturday at Dickies Arena. The matchup, which will air live on ABC, will feature LSU, Florida and the top two results from Semifinal II with Oklahoma, Utah, UCLA and Kentucky. The Tigers’ rotation will be determined after the evening semi-final and will be based on the teams’ NQS.

Junior Haleigh Bryant sits in first place overall after a 39.6875. His score is the second highest at the NCAA championships and the best in the semifinals in school history.

Sophomore Aleah Finnegan is also in a strong position to win an NCAA Individual Championship after rushing 9.9625 in his NCAA Championship debut. She is tied with Leanne Wong of Florida for first place. The NCAA championships will be determined by the performer with the highest score in all four events and the all-around after the second semifinal on Thursday night.

The Tigers started the competition in the beam semifinals and scored a 49.275 to take third place after the first rotation. Elena Arenas started with a 9.7375 and Alyona Shchennikova scored a 9.775 for second place. Alexis Jeffrey and Sierra Ballard both posted strong scores with 9.8375 and 9.8125 respectively. Haleigh Bryant scored a 9.9375 and Finnegan anchored with a 9.9125.

LSU climbed to second at the halfway mark with a 49.475, which is tied for the third-highest preliminary event score in school history. Ballard set the tone for the team with a 9.80 and Shchennikova scored a 9.8875 in the second routine. Sophomore KJ Johnson, who was a last-minute confirmation for the ground formation, gave the Tigers a crucial performance and scored a 9.875. Finnegan scored 9.9625 for fifth and Bryant anchored with a 9.95.

In the third rotation, LSU held on with a 49.250 on vault and remained second to Cal and Denver in counting a fall. The Tigers are just .100 behind Florida whose 49.525 on the ground propelled the Gators to a team score of 148.100 going into the final rotation.

Arenas opened the event with a 9.825 and Shchennikova scored a 9.8375 on her Yurcehnko ½. Finnegan scored a 9.85 and rookie Bryce Wilson made his debut scoring a 9.85. Bryant anchored the event with a 9.8625.

LSU needed five hit routines to qualify for the national championship and Jay Clark’s bar lineup delivered six-for-six routines. The 49.475 bar score is tied for second in the event at the NCAA championships in school history.

Freshman Ashley Cowan and sophomore Tori Tatum made their NCAA debuts and scored a 9.875. Finnegan scored a 9.925 and Shchennikova secured the team’s place in the championship with a 9.8625. Bryant anchored the Tigers’ bar composition and encounter with a 9.9375, which propelled the team to first place.

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