BATON ROUGE – The Southeastern Conference and the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation announced Thursday at the SEC Gymnastics Championships will return to the Smoothie King Center and the city of New Orleans in 2021.
“I am so honored and thrilled that the coaches and Commissioner Greg Sankey chose to bring the SEC Championships back to New Orleans,” co-head coach D-D Breaux said. “The city of New Orleans put on a premier event for the student-athletes and our fans provided the best environment the championships have ever seen. We are thrilled to continue partnering with the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation to bring championship-level gymnastics back to the city and the state of Louisiana.”
LSU, the back-to-back-to-back SEC Champions, captured its fourth league title on March 23 in front of a meet-record crowd of 10,505. Sarah Finnegan won four SEC titles and was selected as the SEC Gymnast of the Year. Breaux was selected as the SEC Coach of the Year after leading the squad to the program’s third-straight championship.
LSU played host to the inaugural SEC Championships in 1981 in Baton Rouge and once again in 1992 and 1998. This will mark the second time the meet will take place in the state of Louisiana since moving to neutral sites in 2001. Previous host sites include: Birmingham, Ala. (2001, 2002, 2003, 2006, 2011 and 2014); Duluth, Ga. (2004, 2005, 2008, 2012, 2015 and 2020); North Little Rock, Ark. (2007, 2013 and 2016); Nashville, Tenn. (2009), Jacksonville, Fla. (2010 and 2017); and St. Louis, Mo. (2018).
“New Orleans proved to be a successful location for the SEC Gymnastics Championship in 2019, and we are pleased we will return to the Smoothie King Center in 2021,” said SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey. “This event continues a long tradition of outstanding SEC competition in the City of New Orleans, which is widely known for hosting high-caliber championship events in all sports.”
The Smoothie King Center is a state-of-the-art venue adjacent to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and situated on the 55-acre campus of the Louisiana Stadium and Exposition District. It is home to the New Orleans Pelicans, and has previously hosted regionals for the NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournaments and the Women’s Final Four.
“We are thrilled the Southeastern Conference has chosen to bring the SEC Gymnastics Championship back to New Orleans and the Smoothie King Center in 2021. The 2019 event was not only exhilarating but set attendance records as well. South Louisiana has demonstrated its appreciation for elite gymnastics, and the SEC has rewarded this support with a quick return to New Orleans,” said SMG and Smoothie King Center General Manager Alan Freeman.
(Press Release Provided by LSU Athletics)