ATHENS, Ga. – Behind a solid effort from all 11 gymnasts who competed, the third-ranked LSU gymnastics team captured its fourth-straight NCAA Regional title by posting a 197.300 to win the Athens Regional Saturday afternoon in Stegeman Coliseum.
LSU improved to 23-4 overall and punched its ticket to the NCAA Championships after scoring a 49.300 on bars, 49.150 on beam, 49.450 on floor and 49.400 on vault to finish with a 197.300.
No. 10 national seed Georgia (12-13) also earned a spot at the championships with a 196.850 and second-place finish.
No. 15 seed Oregon State (20-7-1) placed third with a 196.000, while Arizona (9-13) earned fourth place at 195.900, George Washington (27-10) came in fifth at 195.550 and Michigan State (10-15) finished last with a 195.350.
Three Tigers captured individual titles at the regional. Myia Hambrick won her sixth all-around title of the season with a 39.550, and she also tied for the beam title with a 9.90 and the floor title with a career-high 9.95.
Ashleigh Gnat earned a share of the floor title with a 9.95 as she tied the LSU single-season record with her 10th floor title. Lloimincia Hall (2013), Ashleigh Clare-Kearney (2009) and Sandra Smith (1980) each tallied 10 in a season.
Sydney Ewing stuck her vault cold for a career-high tying 9.975 to win the vault title, the third vault title of the year for the regular-season vault All-American.
“It was a total team effort with great performances from everybody tonight,” LSU head coach D-D Breaux said. “It was a fabulous competition with some great teams, and we are happy to win and carry this momentum back to Baton Rouge.
“I am proud of the effort and tenacity of everyone tonight, and I know we are looking forward to the progress we can make between now and nationals.”
After sitting out the first rotation on a bye LSU opened with a 49.300 on bars in the second rotation. Lexie Priessman and Sarah Finnegan led the squad with 9.90s, while Myia Hambrick was right behind with a 9.875. Jessica Savona opened with a solid 9.85, and Randii Wyrick scored a 9.775.
Between the second and third rotations the LSU softball team joined the crowd after their 5-1 victory over Georgia, and the softball team brought a high level of enthusiasm, excitement and support that boosted the gymnastics team’s efforts the rest of the way.
“We could really feel their energy in the arena tonight,” Breaux said. “The softball team turned right around and supported us after many of our gymnasts went out to the ballpark Friday night to cheer them on. There’s nothing like Tiger pride among our teams.”
The Tigers held steady in the third rotation with a 49.150 on beam, highlighted by a 9.9 from Hambrick and a 9.875 from Erin Macadaeg in the leadoff spot. Sydney Ewing and Finnegan added 9.825s, and Ashleigh Gnat anchored with a 9.725 to round out the scoring.
After sitting out another bye in the fourth rotation LSU produced a 49.450 on floor in the fifth rotation. Hambrick and Gnat led the way with 9.95s, followed by 9.90s from McKenna Kelley and Savona. The Tigers also counted a 9.75 by Ewing.
LSU closed out the meet with a strong performance on vault, including a 9.975 from Ewing, a 9.925 from Gnat and a career-high 9.90 from Julianna Cannamela on a stuck vault in the leadoff spot. Hambrick added a 9.825, and Finnegan collected a 9.775 to round out the scoring.
With the five wins in the regional, Breaux is closing in on 700 career victories as she is now at 698.
LSU has 15 regional titles in its history and four straight after winning the 2013 Columbus (Ohio) Regional, 2014 Baton Rouge Regional, 2015 Ames (Iowa) Regional and the Athens Regional.
Next up for the Tigers is Semifinal I at the NCAA Championships on April 15 at 1 p.m. CT inside the Fort Worth Convention Center in Fort Worth, Texas.