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FORT WORTH, Texas – Through one of the most improbable journeys, the LSU Gymnastics program has once again punched its ticket to the NCAA Championship after finishing in the top spot at NCAA Semifinal I, Thursday afternoon at Dickies Arena.

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

LSU has now advanced to the NCAA team final nine times in school history. This marks the second time since the Four on the Floor format began in 2019 that LSU has advanced the championship and first time under head coach Jay Clark.

The squad will vie for the program’s first NCAA Championship at 3 p.m. CT Saturday at Dickies Arena. The meet, which will air live on ABC, will feature LSU, Florida and the top two finishes from Semifinal II featuring Oklahoma, Utah, UCLA and Kentucky. The Tigers’ rotation will be determined following the evening semifinal and will be based on the teams’ NQS.

Junior Haleigh Bryant sits in the top spot in the all-around standings after a 39.6875. Her score is the second-highest at NCAA Championships and the best in a semifinal in school history.

Sophomore Aleah Finnegan is also in a favorable spot to take home an NCAA individual championship after a 9.9625 on floor in her NCAA Championships debut. She is tied with Florida’s Leanne Wong in first place. NCAA championships will be determined by the performer with the top score in all four events and the all-around following the second semifinal on Thursday night.

The Tigers started the semifinal competition off on beam and scored a 49.275 to sit in third following the first rotation. Elena Arenas led off with a 9.7375 and Alyona Shchennikova scored a 9.775 in the second spot. Alexis Jeffrey and Sierra Ballard both posted strong scores with a 9.8375 and 9.8125 respectively. Haleigh Bryant scored a 9.9375 and Finnegan anchored with a 9.9125.

LSU climbed its way to second at the halfway point with a 49.475, which tied for the third-highest prelim score on the event in school history. Ballard set the tone for the squad 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 floor lineup, gave the Tigers a crucial performance and scored a 9.875. Finnegan earned her 9.9625 in the fifth spot and Bryant anchored with a 9.95.

In the third rotation, LSU held its own with a 49.250 on vault and stayed in second following both Cal and Denver counting a fall. The Tigers sit just .100 behind Florida whose 49.525 on floor propelled the Gators to a 148.100 team score 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 freshman Bryce Wilson made her debut by scoring a 9.85. Bryant anchored the event with a 9.8625.

LSU needed five hit routines to advance to the national championship and Jay Clark’s bars lineup delivered six-for six hit routines. The 49.475 bars score tied for the second-highest on the event at the NCAA Championships in school history.

Freshman Ashley Cowan and sophomore Tori Tatum made their NCAA debuts and delivered with a 9.875. Finnegan scored a 9.925 and Shchennikova secured the squad’s spot in the championship with a 9.8625. Bryant anchored the bars lineup and the meet for the Tigers with a 9.9375, which pushed the squad to first overall.

(Release via LSU Athletics)

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Filed Under: LSU Sports
18 Comments
user avatar
Zzyzx13 months
When is the championship, is it televised?
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jptiger200913 months
If they can win it all, LSU baseball has to do it too. 3 women's sports trophies, and the years only halfway over.
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Black n Gold13 months
They are 0-8 all-time in championship matches? Did I read that correctly?
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TigerBand200713 months
Yeah, and the women's basketball team was 0-5 in the final four until a couple of weeks ago. You never know what might happen.
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MrWalkingMan13 months
Remember what happened the last time an LSU program had been winless all-time at a final 4? I ‘member
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LSUmudman13 months
Geaux Tigers! Godspeed!
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nol1wph13 months
Geaux girls…
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Champagne13 months
Unbelievable! I am so impressed and proud of this team. The way that they persevered and competed is truly outstanding.
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intellligent13 months
How did Olivia Dunn do?
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Signal Soldier13 months
Kept the bench warm and posted selfies looking like a 12 year old on Instagram
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deuce98513 months
Too busy looking good on insta making it about herself
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jbird713 months
Honest question, does she ever actually compete? I know she was hurt early in the season.
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PsychTiger13 months
Auburn had the Olympic Gold Medalist and couldn’t make it. ??
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idlewatcher13 months
Congrats lady Tigers
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cajunmud13 months
Butt heaven today!
user avatar
HC8713 months
Way to GEAUX!
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