Preview: LSU gymnastics heads to the semifinals of the NCAA Championships

No. 2 LSU gymnastics heads to Fort Worth for the NCAA semifinals. PHOTO by LSU Athletics

LSU gymnastics will be competing in the semifinals of the NCAA Championships for the second straight year, and head coach Jay Clark is hoping to bring home the national title this time around.

Last season, LSU made the NCAA Finals after finishing in first at its regional with a score of 197.475. The Tigers came up short in the finals though and finished in fourth with a 197.525 as Oklahoma repeated as national champions.

No. 2 LSU is one of just eight teams remaining in the 2024 Gymnastics Championships after winning the Fayetteville Regional at the beginning of the month. Oklahoma, Florida, Alabama, California, Arkansas and Stanford are the other eight teams fighting for a spot in the final four.

LSU will compete against California, Arkansas and Stanford in session one on April 18. The top two teams from each session will move on to the NCAA Championship Final on Saturday, April 20. Session two will feature No. 1 Oklahoma, No. 4 Florida, No. 5 Utah and No. 8 Alabama.

LSU won the Fayetteville Regional with a score of 198.250, topping Arkansas’ score of 197.825. California finished first in its regional with a score of 197.800 and Stanford finished second with a score of 197.450.

LSU has the highest NQS rating of all four teams in session one with a 198.215, the highest in school history. Cal is just behind the Tigers with a 198.180, good for third in the nation. Arkansas has an NQS of 197.445 and Stanford has a 197.045.

LSU will start on vault before rotating to bars, beam and floor to close out the semifinal. LSU has the No. 1 floor rotation in the country and Aleah Finnegan took home her fifth-floor title of the season at the Fayetteville Regional.

LSU is led by the record setting Haleigh Bryant. Bryant was recently named the 2024 AAI Award winner. The AAI Award goes to the top senior in the nation and is voted on by NCAA gymnastics head coaches and is often compared to the Heisman Trophy for women’s gymnastics.

Bryant has 31 titles this year with nine on vault, seven on bars, four on floor, two on beam and nine in the all-around. She became the first LSU gymnast to record a gym slam with a perfect 10 on every event this year and has eight perfect scores this season.

She was the No. 1 all-arounder in the country in 10 out of 12 weeks during the regular season and has the highest all-around score in the country and in school history.

LSU has 32 appearances in the NCAA Championships and 13 NCAA Regional Championships. The Tigers have been runner-up at the NCAA Championships four times but have never claimed an NCAA title.

LSU will compete at 4:30 p.m. in session one in Fort Worth on Thursday and the meet will be streamed on ESPN2. If the Tigers advance, they will compete on Saturday, April 20 in the NCAA Championships at 3 p.m. Coverage for the championships will be televised on ABC.

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Will Nickel

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