LSU gymnastics wins semifinal to advance to NCAA Championship, Haleigh Bryant claims all-around title

LSU gymnastics star Haleigh Bryant added another prestigious trophy to her resume. PHOTO BY: LSU Athletics

The LSU gymnastics team put together an elite performance to claim its spot in the NCAA Championship Finals with a first-place finish in session one.

The Tigers improved on their score in each rotation and held the first-place spot for the majority of the competition. Star gymnast Haleigh Bryant finished in first place in the all-around with a 39.7125.

LSU started on vault with KJ Johnson leading off for the event. Johnson managed a 9.8250 and Chase Brock recorded the same score next for the Tigers. Amari Drayton scored a 9.8125 and had her score dropped.

Savannah Schoenherr and Bryant both added 9.9000’s to LSU’s score and Kiya Johnson pitched in a 9.8750. LSU was in second place with a 49.3250 behind Cal. Cal started off on floor and had a 49.4125. Stanford was close behind in third place with a 49.2500.

Up next, the Tigers rotated to bars. Alexis Jeffery started the event with a 9.8125 and would have her score dropped. Kiya Johnson scored a 9.9000 and Konner McClain scored a 9.9125 for LSU. Haleigh Bryant had the chance to give LSU the lead in the anchor spot and put up a 9.9250 to put the Tigers in first place with a 98.8000.

Cal was right behind at the halfway point with a 98.7750 and Stanford sat in third with a 98.5625. Arkansas was in fourth with a 97.6875.

The Tigers put on a show on beam and really seemed to grow into the competition as they improved on their score in each event. LSU finished the beam with a 49.5875 and every score that counted was 9.9000 or better.

Bryant led the way with a 9.9500 followed by Schoenherr with a 9.9250, McClain with a 9.9125 and Sierra Ballard and Kiya Johnson both pitched in a 9.9000. LSU led the competition with a 148.3875 trailed by Cal with a 148.3000.

Stanford and Arkansas both lagged behind in the race for the top two spots. Stanford had a 147.8500 and Arkansas had a 147.2750.

LSU’s last event was floor and the Tigers showed why they were the top ranked floor squad in the country. Every single score that counted for LSU was 9.9375 or higher. McClain, Bryant and Kiya Johnson all scored 9.9375. KJ Johnson scored a 9.9500 and Aleah Finnegan recorded a 9.625. LSU finished with a 49.7250 on the floor.

LSU finished in first place overall with a 198.1125 and Cal finished in second with a 197.7125 to advance to the NCAA Finals. Stanford finished in third with a 197.0750 and Arkansas had a 196.4750.

LSU has made the final four for the second straight year and will compete for its first ever championship on Saturday. That meet will start at 3 p.m. and will be televised on ABC.

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Will Nickel

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