The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference
The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference

LSU, Florida advance to Super Six team finals

157 days ago

ST. LOUIS -- The Southeastern Conference sends two to the NCAA Super Six, with LSU and Florida advancing. It is the seventh consecutive year two or more league teams advance to Super Six action, with four wins in that span - 2012 (Alabama), 2013, 2014, 2015 (Florida).

SEC champion LSU posted a 197.475 to place second in the first semifinal and earn a spot in Saturday's finals. This will be LSU's seventh Super Six appearance in school history. Florida earned a score of 197.5875 to advance to its 16th NCAA Super Six final in school history. The Gators are the only team to appear in each of the last seven NCAA Super Six team finals.

In the first semifinal, Georgia finished in fourth with a 196.688, Alabama came in fifth with a 196.625 and Arkansas scored a 196.425 to finish sixth. Kentucky scored a 196.0625 in the second semifinal.

The Tigers and Gators will face UCLA, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Utah in the Super Six. The team finals take place Saturday at 7 p.m. ET, live on ESPNU.

Semifinal I

LSU

For the fifth time in six seasons and the seventh time in school history, LSU gymnastics advanced to the NCAA Super Six after the Tigers posted a team score of 197.475 Friday afternoon in Chaifetz Arena.

The Tigers advanced to 31-2 on the season and have now recorded their 38th-straight meet with a score of 197.475. The team score marked the second highest at an NCAA semifinal in school history.

Since the Tigers finished second in the prelims, their rotation for the Super Six will be bye, bars, beam, bye, floor, vault.

Myia Hambrick, Kennedi Edney and Sarah Finnegan turned in outstanding all-around performances to finish second, third and fourth respectively. Hambrick scored a 39.538, Edney totaled a 39.525 and Finnegan put up a 39.500.

"The environment today was fabulous, and I am proud of the performance today," LSU Gymnastics head coach D-D Breaux said. "Reagan Campbell's performance was the pivotal point today to go in on beam and not blink. Then after each bye they brought a little more for each event. We just have to go in tomorrow and do our gymnastics.

The Tigers opened with a strong showing on the beam for a 49.225. Senior Erin Macadaeg led off the event with a solid 9.813, and Hambrick competed second with a 9.863 of her own. Edney added a 9.80 in the third spot, and after a fall, freshman Reagan Campbell showed no fear with a 9.85 before Finnegan anchored the event with a huge routine, 9.90.

LSU moved to the floor and post the highest score in an afternoon preliminary session for the Tigers with a 49.400. Ashlyn Kirby opened with a 9.80, and freshman Christina Desiderio rebounded from the first rotation to post a career-high 9.888. Edney recorded a 9.90 in the fourth spot, and Finnegan stepped in with a 9.863. To cap off the second rotation, Hambrick performed a near-flawless routine and scored a 9.95.

Freshman Sarah Edwards notched a 9.85 in the leadoff spot on the vault in the fourth rotation. The Tigers used a 9.875 from Hambrick and 9.888 s from Julianna Cannamela and Edney. After the lights flickered during her vault, Finnegan was allowed to compete again in the anchor spot. The junior recorded a 9.85 to close out the fourth rotation before the bye and finalized the LSU score on vault at 49.350.

The Tigers left no doubts on the bars and scored a 49.500 for the highest score at an NCAA Championships in school history in the final rotation. To lead off, freshman Sami Durante recorded a solid routine to earn a 9.8625. Ruby Harrold found her landing in the third spot for a 9.90, and Edney posted the No. 2 score of the afternoon with a beautiful routine for a score of 9.9375. Priessman followed with the No. 3 score of 9.9125 with her big routine. To cap the final rotation and put the Tigers into the Super Six, Finnegan scored a 9.8875.

Georgia

Four GymDogs earned NCAA All-America honors as the Georgia gymnastics team closed out its season with a fourth place finish in the first semifinal session.

After finishing in the top four of their respective event, junior Sydney Snead (vault), freshman Marissa Oakley (bars), sophomore Rachel Dickson (bars), and Sabrina Vega (floor) claimed NCAA All-America honors.

"This was a win for this team," first-year head coach Courtney Kupets Carter said. "We did this with half a team (after having to compete five gymnasts on vault and bars). They should be very proud. They gave it everything they had and they've been pushing. I don't know if there has ever been another team who has had five athletes competing on several events throughout the season and making it as far as we did. They did a fantastic job and we are very proud of them."

Georgia started competition on floor, scoring a 49.0125. Sabrina Vega led the GymDogs in the rotation by claiming a 9.9 in the anchor position. Sydney Snead, who performed immediately before Vega, also displayed an impressive routine with a 9.850.

Snead stole the show in the second rotation, posting the best score of the first semifinal with a 9.9 on vault. Her score led the GymDogs to a team mark of 49.1250.

"Everyone stuck it in front of me and was going crazy," Snead said. "I knew I had to stick it too. The feeling of sticking it is the best feeling ever."

After a bye, Georgia competed on bars and received a 49.3125 as a team. A stuck landing by freshman Marissa Oakley was matched by sophomore Rachel Dickson as the pair led the GymDogs for the event with scores of 9.9125. Snead and freshman Emily Schild both contributed scores of 9.850.

The GymDogs finished competition on beam in the fifth rotation with a 49.2375 to take the lead with a total score of 196.6875, but ultimately waited their fate during the sixth rotation with LSU, UCLA, Nebraska, and Arkansas still competing. Snead led Georgia with a 9.8875, while Dickson and Vega both contributed scores of 9.875 on beam.

Alabama

The Alabama gymnastics team finished fifth in the first semifinal after scoring a 196.6250.

"We were good, we needed to be great," UA head coach Dana Duckworth said. "We knew the competition in this session was going to be intense and everyone wanted to advance to tomorrow night."

The Crimson Tide, at its 36th-consecutive NCAA championship, missed the Super Six Team Finals for just the third time in the 27-year history of the format.

"It hurts to not advance," Duckworth said. "Right now though, we have to decide what we're going to learn from this as coaches and as gymnasts - especially those coming back - and how we move forward."

"This team and these women are not defined by the outcome of this meet," Duckworth said. "They love this amazing university and having the chance to represent Alabama. Unfortunately heartbreak like this is sometimes part of their journey, but we'll use it to make us better."

The Crimson Tide started with a 49.1625 on the uneven bars, fueled by 9.85s from freshman Lexi Graber and sophomore Shea Mahoney. On the balance beam, Alabama totaled a 49.075, paced by senior Kiana Winston's 9.8500.

On the floor exercise, the Tide posted a 49.2500 led by junior Abby Armbrecht's 9.8625 in the leadoff spot. The Tide finished the day with a 49.1375 on the vault, pushed by 9.8375s from Mahoney and senior Nickie Guerrero.

The Tide started the postseason with a second place finish at the Southeastern Conference Championships and on its NCAA-best 32nd regional title two weeks ago.

Arkansas

Arkansas finished sixth in the first session with a score of 196.425. The Razorbacks finished 10th overall at the Championships, securing their first top-10 finish since 2013.

The Razorbacks, who finished last season 27th in the country and saw its 2017 campaign end at the NCAA Fayetteville Regional, rebounded this season despite 17 of 24 competed routines coming from underclassmen. The team was making its first appearance at the NCAA Championships since 2013, and eighth overall.

After starting the meet on a bye, the Razorbacks began the meet on the floor. Senior Amanda Wellick recorded a 9.825 in what would be her final floor routine of her career. After a 9.7875 from sophomore Jessica Yamzon, sophomore Michaela Burton and freshman Sophia Carter posted 9.8625's each to lead the Razorbacks to a 49.125 on the event.

On the vault, Yamzon began the rotation with a 9.725. The Razorbacks, who stuck 23 of 24 routines, had its only mishap in the two position as sophomore Hailey Garner fell and was scored a 8.8875. The Razorbacks recovered and had three straight scores over 9.800, including a 9.875 from senior Braie Speed. Speed has been one of the more consistent vaulters in program history and will finish her career scoring a 9.8 or higher in 36 of 40 vault routines. Burton, who had vaulted just once in her career before today, was forced into the anchor spot on vault due to injuries and tallied a 9.5125 on a 9.7 start value.

The Razorbacks ended the meet strong, posting a 49.2875 on bars, its highest score on the event in its eight appearances at the NCAA Championships. All six in Arkansas' rotation scored over a 9.8. The lowest counted score was from freshman Sydney Laird who tallied a 9.8375, while Speed and Garner recorded a 9.850 each. Wellick and freshman Sarah Shaffer posted scores of 9.8875 and 9.8625, respectively, to lead the Hogs on that event.

Beam proved once again to be one of Arkansas' better events, as they posted four scores over 9.8, including a 9.8875 from Garner. Wellick was just behind Garner with a 9.875 in the two spot while Burton and Yamzon each posted 9.850's.

Amanda Wellick put up a 39.400 in the all-around in the final meet of her career. Wellick was making her first appearance at the NCAA Championship with the team, as she qualified as an individual all-arounder in 2014 and 2016. She was the first Arkansas freshman all-arounder to make the NCAA Championships in 2014.

The Razorbacks picked up four Second Team All-American honors at the NCAA Championships bringing its program total to 46. Speed became Arkansas' 11th All-American Vaulter and first since Katherine Grable in 2014, while Wellick took two honors on the uneven bars and in the All-Around. Garner took the seventh All-American award on beam in program history with a 9.8875. Wellick is now a three-time All-American, after picking up second team honors as an individual in 2016.

Auburn

Auburn gymnasts Drew Watson, Abby Milliet, and Samantha Cerio concluded the 2018 season at the NCAA Championships. The trio represented Auburn as individuals.

"This was a great meet," head coach Jeff Graba said. "We went 6-for-6 and everyone did a great job. I couldn't be more proud of them. All three are coming back next year and bringing a fire to the gym."

Freshman Drew Watson competed in the all-around after advancing out of the NCAA Salt Lake City Regional. Rotating with Alabama, Watson finished 10th in the afternoon session with a 39.2875. The Tyler, Texas, product opened with a 9.85 on bars and followed with a 9.75 on beam. After a bye, Watson moved on to floor and scored a 9.8375. The 2018 NCAA SLC Regional Vault Champion closed out her full day on the apparatus and finished in a tie for 10th with a 9.85.

"Drew absolutely nailed all four of her events today," Graba said. "She finished with her second-highest overall score of the season and we're so proud of her efforts today."

Milliet, a redshirt junior from Denton, Texas, represented Auburn on beam. She finished in a tie for 15th with a 9.85.

"Abby fought through some foot soreness and hit a great beam set," Graba said. "I'm very pleased with her performance on a difficult apparatus."

Junior Samantha Cerio donned the orange and blue on bars and finished with a 9.825. The Huntersville, N.C., native reached the national meet after coming in a tie for first at the regional.

"Samantha has one of the hardest bar routines in the country," Graba said. "She did a great job and we're proud of the way she represented the team today."

Semifinal II

Florida

The Gator gymnastics team is advancing to Saturday's NCAA Super Six team final after taking second in Friday's second NCAA semifinal.

The Gators' runner-up finish Friday in the second semifinal sends UF to Saturday's NCAA Super Six team final. The Gators will look for their fourth NCAA Championship in Saturday's Super Six.

Florida was second in its NCAA session at 197.5875, the fifth-highest team total ever for the Gators in NCAA semifinal competition.

As the runner-up team in Semifinal II, Florida has the Olympic rotation (starting on vault) for Saturday's NCAA Super Six team final.

Florida opened the meet with a 49.475 on uneven bars, equaling UF's third-highest total in NCAA Gymnastics semifinal action. Three Gators turned in marks of 9.90 or better - Amelia Hundley (9.90), Rachel Gowey (9.90) and Alex McMurtry (9.95). This is the eighth time a Gator posted the program's NCAA Semifinal high bars mark of 9.95, with McMurtry also earning the mark in 2017.

A six-for-six balance beam set gave UF a 49.3125 - its sixth-highest for the event in NCAA semifinal action. Gowey led UF on the event with a 9.9125.

A few extra bounces held back the full scoring potential on Florida's floor set, but the Gators still posted a 49.3125. Freshman Alyssa Baumann equaled Florida's best floor mark in NCAA Semifinal competition of 9.95. That mark sets her collegiate high and equals the Gators all-time high on the event in NCAA Semifinal action (other 9.95s - McMurtry/2017; Kytra Hunter/2012, 2015).

Florida finished with the day's high vault total of 49.4875. McMurtry's 9.9375 shared the vault title with Utah's MyKayla Skinner and Oklahoma's Brenna Dowell. Alicia Boren shared fourth overall at 9.925 and Rachel Slocum tied for sixth at 9.90.

McMurtry led UF in the all-around, taking fifth at 39.5875.

Kentucky

The last vault of the night won sophomore Mollie Korth All-America as the Kentucky gymnastics team posted a 196.0625 at its first NCAA Championship appearance. Korth finished tied for fourth on the vault with a 9.925, earning her first-team status.

"The way I'm seeing this, it's just the beginning of our climb," head coach Tim Garrison said. Sometimes you have to lose, and unfortunately we did that today. With that said, I'm incredibly impressed with how our team responded. At a meet like this where little mistakes make big differences and we made big mistakes on the first event. To have the team go and do what they did on the next three events was impressive to me and it told me a lot about their mettle."

Korth, an all-around competitor for Kentucky, was a 2018 Regular Season All-America winner and also took home All-America at last year's NCAA Championships, where she competed as an individual. Korth finished in fifth in the all-around with a 39.5. That score earned her second-team All-America.

'All I told myself is "you got this," Korth said about her All-America vault. "I had to be aggressive and confident and go out there and do it. I'm looking to keep it going next year with consistency in the gym. I know my team is always behind me."

"Individually Mollie performed really well today," Garrison added. "You look at every event and she did about as well as she was going to do at this point. I think she'll be stronger next year. Where we are right now, she had an amazing day for herself and really helped her team as best she could."

Kentucky's team score of 196.0625 put UK in sixth in the night session. Oklahoma won the semifinal with a 198.050, and Florida and Utah advanced to the Super Six from UK's session. UCLA, LSU and Nebraska advanced to the Super Six earlier in the day from the first session.

Senior Katie Carlisle, freshman Ella Warren and junior Katie Stuart started the Cats out with three-straight 9.8s. Sophomore Mollie Korth had the highest score for the Wildcats as the anchor at 9.875. Unfortunately, the Wildcats had to count a fall as Katrina Coca scored a 9.325 and junior Alex Hyland scored a 9.2625. The Wildcats scored a 48.6 on their first event.

Korth had the Wildcats highest score once again as UK posted a 48.9875. Korth scored a 9.8375. Sophomore Hailey Poland put up a 9.8125, while Stuart scored her second 9.8 of the meet. Junior Sidney Dukes put up a 9.775, while senior Cori Rechenmacher rounded out the scoring with a 9.7625.

UK had its second best event of the day on the floor with a 49.225. Korth and Warren each went 9.8625. Hyland followed with a 9.85, and Rechenmacher and Dukes rounded out the scoring with a 9.825s. Poland's score was dropped after a 9.8125.

The Wildcats finished on a high note with a 49.250. Capped by Korth's All-America vault of 9.925, junior Danaea Davis followed with a 9.8625 while Alaina Kwan had a 9.85. Dukes posted a 9.8125 while junior Aubree Rosa finished the scoring with a 9.8.