Regionals: LSU Springs To Second Central Title
April 4, 2009
Courtesy of LSU
COLUMBUS, Ohio – After a scare in the final rotation on beam, the fifth-ranked LSU gymnastics team held on to capture their second straight NCAA Central Regional crown as the Tigers posted a 196.875 in Ohio State’s St. John Arena Saturday evening.
No. 8 Oregon State, the meet’s second seed, finished second overall with a 196.800 and will also advance with the Tigers to the NCAA Championships.
“This puts us in an elite group of teams that make that repeat trip to the NCAA Championships,” LSU head coach D-D Breaux said. “I am really proud to be a part of that, but most of all I’m proud of the girls that they have been able to maintain this level of excellence throughout the year. The kids have worked hard, and I have to give them credit.”
After LSU (21-5) sat out the first rotation with a bye, the Tigers posted a 49.225 on floor in the second rotation. Junior Kayla Rogers led the Tigers off with a strong 9.825 while freshman Gloria Johnson and junior Sabrina Franceschelli contributed back-to-back 9.80’s. Junior Summer Hubbard slipped a little and finished with a 9.775, and Susan Jackson and Ashleigh Clare-Kearney turned out consecutive 9.90’s to give LSU a strong start.
The Tigers continued their torrid pace in the third rotation when they tied a team season high with a 49.425 on vault to take the lead after two events. Competing in her second event of the night, Rogers delivered again as she led the Tigers off with a 9.85. It marked her second straight 9.85 on vault as she posted the score at the SEC Championships. Franceschelli scored a 9.80, and then Johnson and sophomore Staci Schwitkis delivered consecutive 9.85’s to set the stage for Jackson and Clare-Kearney. Jackson posted a 9.925, and Clare-Kearney capped LSU’s spectacular performance in the event with a 9.95.
LSU led Oregon State 98.650-98.200 entering the fourth rotation. Ohio State was third after two events with a 98.025.
After LSU sat out the fourth rotation with the final bye of the night, the Tigers kept the momentum rolling as they scored a 49.375 on bars in the fifth rotation. Schwitkis and Franceschelli posted back-to-back 9.85’s to get LSU started. Following a 9.80 by sophomore Samantha Engle, Hubbard tallied a season-high 9.925. Jackson scored a 9.85, and Clare-Kearney capped the Tigers off with a 9.90.
Oregon State wrapped up its night in the fifth rotation by scoring a 49.325 on vault, meaning LSU had to score a 48.80 or higher to defend its Central Regional title, and the Tigers pulled it off by scoring a 48.850 to beat the Beavers by 0.075.
Johnson led off on beam with a 9.70, and Franceschelli followed her with a 9.75. Engle provided the Tigers with a much needed 9.825, and Hubbard kept herself on the beam and finished with a 9.650. After Clare-Kearney scored a 9.325 because of a fall, Jackson clinched the LSU victory and the second straight regional title with a 9.925.
Jackson was spectacular on the night as she captured the fifth all-around title of her career with a 39.600, nearly three-tenths higher than Oregon State’s Mandi Rodriguez who tallied a 39.350. Jackson also won the beam title with her 9.925.
Hubbard, a 2008 All-American on uneven bars, captured the bars title with a 9.925, and Clare-Kearney earned her 111th career individual title with a 9.95 on vault.
With the regional title LSU will advance to the NCAA Championships in Lincoln, Neb., for the eighth straight season as the championships will be held April 16-18 in Nebraska’s Bob Devaney Sports Center.
CENTRAL REGIONAL AWARDS
Gymnast of the Year – Ashleigh Clare-Kearney, LSU
Assistant Coach of the Year – Bob Moore, LSU
Head Coach of the Year – Carey Fagan, Ohio State
Administrator of the Year – Brittan Roth, Ohio State
1. LSU 196.875 (VT – 49.425, UB – 49.375, BB – 48.850, FX – 49.225)
2. Oregon State 196.800 (VT – 49.325, UB – 49.150, BB – 49.050, FX – 49.275)
3. Ohio State 195.950 (VT – 49.100, UB – 48.875, BB – 49.050, FX – 48.925)
4. Michigan State 194.825 (VT – 49.075, UB – 48.500, BB – 48.200, FX – 49.050)
5. Kent State 194.650 (VT – 48.900, UB – 47.900, BB – 48.825, FX – 49.025)
6. Kentucky 193.700 (VT – 49.250, UB – 48.625, BB – 46.800, FX – 49.025)
Individual (Includes first place and all LSU competitors)
All-Around – 1. Susan Jackson 39.600; 5. Sabrina Franceschelli 39.200; 8. Ashleigh Clare-Kearney 39.075
Vault – t1. Ashleigh Clare-Kearney 9.95; t1. Mandi Rodriguez (Oregon State) 9.95; 3. Susan Jackson 9.925; t8. Gloria Johnson 9.850; t8. Kayla Rogers 9.850; t8. Staci Schwitkis 9.850; t22. Sabrina Franceschelli 9.800
Bars – 1. Summer Hubbard 9.925; t2. Ashleigh Clare-Kearney 9.90; t5. Susan Jackson 9.85; t5. Sabrina Franceschelli 9.85; t5. Staci Schwitkis 9.85; t11. Samantha Engle 9.80
Beam – 1. Susan Jackson 9.925; t6. Samantha Engle 9.825; t18. Sabrina Franceschelli 9.750; t24. Gloria Johnson 9.70; 29. Summer Hubbard 9.650; 33. Ashleigh Clare-Kearney 9.325
Floor – 1. Mandi Rodriguez (Oregon State) 9.925; t2. Susan Jackson 9.90; t2. Ashleigh Clare-Kearney 9.90; t14. Kayla Rogers 9.825; t17. Sabrina Franceschelli 9.80; t17. Gloria Johnson 9.80; t24. Summer Hubbard 9.775