LSU Gymnastics Seeded No. 1 in SEC Championships in New Orleans this weekend

LSU's Haleigh Bryant is expected to announce if she will return to LSU for another season this week. PHOTO By LSU Athletics

The No. 3 LSU gymnastics team wrapped up the regular season on Friday night with a win over UNC and is now heading into the SEC Championships in New Orleans as the No. 1 seed.

“I think we’ve been looking forward to this meet pretty much all year since we’ve known that it was going to be in New Orleans,” Aleah Finnegan said. “Looking back, I think it has been one step at a time, but now that we’re finally here all of our focus is going into this week. This entire year we’ve been preparing. All of this is practice for what we want to do this Saturday.”

The Tigers finished the regular season with the top NQS in the SEC with a score of 198.125. LSU will compete in the second session of the conference championships at 7 p.m. on Saturday. The Tigers will start on vault and rotate to bars, beam and floor from there.

“We’re excited about the opportunity that lays ahead of us,” LSU head coach Jay Clark said. “It’s not the finale or anything like that but it is something that certainly is important to us to go there and represent well. Especially since it’s in New Orleans.”

The evening session is comprised of the top four seeds and LSU will compete against Florida, Kentucky and Alabama. Arkansas, Missouri, Auburn and Georgia will be the bottom four seeds and compete at 2 p.m. on Saturday. All eight teams are in the top 20 in the nation in NQS and four of them are in the top seven. Every team has an NQS over 197.

“The work is done,” Clark said. “The preparation is in the tank, and we just got to make sure that we stay within ourselves. Don’t try to be something more. We need to be our normal or right around there.”

The last time LSU was the top seed in the SEC Championships was in 2019. LSU finished in first place at that meet to win the conference championship for the fourth time in school history. LSU won its first SEC title in 1981 before winning three-straight from 2017 to 2019.

“I’m not one that thinks the SEC championships should be minimized,” Clark said. “I think in our sport, it in many ways is the marquee event of our sport. There’s not another conference that can put that many top 10 teams in their championship meet. It’s extremely competitive, the conference does a great job putting it on, we’re in an NBA arena. It’s a big deal.”

This is the first time the tournament is back in New Orleans since 2019. The SEC Championships will be aired on SEC Network.

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Will Nickel

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