LSU gymnastics advances to NCAA Championship

LSU gymnastics advances to NCAA Championship
(Source: Josh Auzenne/WAFB-TV)

SALT LAKE CITY (WAFB) - No. 3 LSU gymnastics is advancing to the 2021 NCAA Championships for the 31st time in school history. LSU’s score marked a197.750 was the second best in an NCAA Regional in school history and the best away from Baton Rouge.

The Tigers beat out Kentucky and Arizona State in the Regional Finals on Saturday, April 3 in the Maverik Center to finish second behind Utah. The top two seeds would advance to the NCAA Championship from each Regional. LSU needed a strong performance heading into their final routine on beams.

Heading into the final routine it was Utah in first at 148.700, Kentucky in second at 148.250 and LSU in third at 148.225.

The Tigers would answer with a strong performance on beam from Christina Desiderio who opened with a 9.90, Sami Durante would follow with a 9.95. Alyona Shchennikova replaced Haleigh Bryant and scored a 9.825.

The senior Bridget Dean got a 9.925 and it looked like the Tigers would advance to the finals, but Kiya Johnson fell on beam and scored a 9.15. So, it would come down to the anchor Reagan Campbell who hit a 9.925 to help send LSU to the NCAA Championship.

“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”

LSU overcame two falls from their best gymnast in Johnson and Bryant to score a 197.750 to advance with Utah to Forth Worth, Texas on April 16-17.

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.

Chase 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.

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