LINCOLN, Neb. - The second-ranked LSU gymnastics team totaled a 197.450 to finish first in the NCAA Lincoln Regional and secure its spot in the 2017 NCAA Championship Saturday afternoon at the Bob Devaney Sports Complex.
The Tigers used a complete performance to post the highest team score at a Regional held away from Baton Rouge in school history. The title marked the 16th for the program and the fifth straight.
LSU moved to 25-1 on the season with the top finish. Nebraska finished in second and also advanced with a score of 196.625. Boise State finished in third with a 196.150. Minnesota, Arizona and Iowa State rounded out the teams with scores of 195.575, 195.500 and 195.250 respectively.
LSU gymnasts captured four of five titles on the night. Sarah Finnegan totaled a 39.475 in the all-around and won bars with a 9.95. Freshman Kennedi Edney posted a 9.925 on vault for the outright title. Senior Ashleigh Gnat also scored a 9.95 on floor for the victory. With the win on floor, Gnat totaled the 11 win on the event for the season to set a new school record for most in a s ingle season.
Breaux on the Regional Title
"We always talking about starting strong and we did that on bars today," head coach D-D Breaux said. "We started with a big statement, which was important. We struggled a bit on beam, but I was proud of the way we rebounded on vault and floor to close out the meet."
Finnegan Leads Bars for Strong Start
LSU got out of the gates with a strong start for a 49.400 on bars. Finnegan led the way with a 9.925 in the fifth spot. After a 9.850 in the leadoff spot from senior Shae Zamardi, Hambrick, Ruby Harrold and Kennedi Edney followed with 9.875s. Lexie Priessman closed out the first rotation with a 9.85. The total bars score was the second-highest at an NCAA Regional in school history.
Beam Holds Steady Going into Bye
The squad once again started strong on beam but totaled a 49.175 on the event. Erin Macadaeg led off with an outstanding 9.90 and Hambrick followed with a 9.85. After a fall in the third spot, LSU was forced to count Kennedi Edney's 9.65. Finnegan and Gnat closed out the event with a 9.85 and 9.925 respectively.
Gnat Anchors Floor with a 9.95
Following the bye, the Tigers started out strong with the top half of the lineup hitting. Senior Sydney Ewing led off with a 9.90 and Zamardi followed with a 9.875. Hambrick earned a 9.90 in the third spot and Finnegan added a 9.875. Gnat closed out the event with a 9.95 to tie her season high and push the Tigers to a 49.500. The score was tied for the highest in a road Regional in school history.
Vault Closes out Regional Title
The squad clinched the regional title with a 49.375 in the fifth rotation. Finnegan and Hambrick posted 9.825s in the first and second spot. Ewing stuck her vault for a 9.90 in the third spot. After a 9.775 by Julianna Cannamela, Edney posted a 9.925 and Gnat anchored with a 9.90.
The Tigers will return to competition for Semifinal II in St. Louis, Missouri at the Chaifetz Arena. The second semifinal will feature Nebraska, Michigan, Alabama, Florida and Georgia. The meet will be streamed live on ESPNU and is set to begin at 7 p.m. Fans wishing to attend the meet are encouraged to contact the LSU Ticket Office to purchase tickets in the Tigers' section. The deadline to purchase through is Monday, April 4.