LSU gymnastics heads to second straight NCAA Finals hoping to claim its first National Championship

Haleigh Bryant and Aleah Finnegan both won individual titles to help send LSU to its second straight Four on the Floor. PHOTO BY: LSU Athletics

LSU gymnastics has reached the Four on the Floor for the second year in a row, but this time it enters as favorites to win it all.

“We’re obviously thrilled to be back in the finals again for the second year in a row.  It never gets old to advance to this point. I’m proud of how this team has done all year long,” LSU head coach Jay Clark said.

No. 2 LSU will compete with No. 3 Cal, No. 4 Florida and No. 5 Utah for the national title. Notably missing is No. 1 Oklahoma.

The Sooners were the heavy favorites to win this year’s title after winning back-to-back titles over the last two seasons, but they put in one of their worst performances of the season with five falls and finished third in the semifinal to miss the championship cut.

LSU had the highest score of any team in the semifinals with a 198.1125 followed by Utah with a 197.9375, Florida with a 197.8750 and Cal with a 197.7125. LSU’s score was its second highest ever for the Tigers at the NCAA Championships.

LSU senior Haleigh Bryant claimed the all-around title with a score of 39.7125 and Aleah Finnegan took home the floor title with a 9.9626.

“They took the lessons learned and the attributes needed from last year and used them this year to be consistently successful,” Clark said.” A lot of that has to do with just doing it for each other and staying focused on the bigger picture. There’s so many great stories and so many individuals on this team that have contributed in ways that aren’t seen.”

LSU has already met all three teams in the finals earlier this season. The Tigers faced Utah back in January and won the meet by a score of 197.150-196.975. They’ve faced Florida twice this season, once in the regular season and once in the SEC Championship.

Florida took the regular season matchup 198.150-197.950, but LSU took the silverware and was crowned SEC champion with a 198.075. Florida put up a 197.300 in the meet.

The Tigers of course faced Cal in the semifinals and triumphed over them by a score of 198.1125-197.7125.

LSU will be aiming for its first ever national championship this Saturday. The meet will start at 3 p.m. and will be televised on ABC.

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Will Nickel

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