SALT LAKE CITY – The LSU gymnastics team, the No. 3 overall seed, begins NCAA postseason competition in the second round of the Salt Lake City Regional at 8 p.m. CT Friday at the Maverik Center.
The Tigers will face off against No. 14 Kentucky, No. 22 Utah State and No. 34 Arizona in session II. If the squad finishes in the top two on Friday it will advance to the regional final and compete against the top two finishers of session I, which features No. 6 Utah, No. 11 Arizona State, No. 17 Boise State and No. 21 Utah State. The top two teams in the regional final will advance to NCAA Championships in Fort Worth, Texas, April 16-17.
“This is obviously a really important weekend for the team,” head coach Jay Clark said. “We want to finish top two and advance because our stated final goal is still in front of us. We have had some of our best intrasquads and practices over the last two weeks. I know they are locked in and ready to show their full potential”
Every session of the meet will be streamed on ESPN3 through WatchESPN.com and the app. Olympians Bart Conner and Kathy Johnson Clarke will have the call of the regional. Live results will also be available at LSUstats.com.
LSU’s History at the NCAA Regional
Since the first year the NCAA sanctioned gymnastics in 1982, LSU has advanced to the NCAA Regional 38 out of 39 years. This season marks the 36th-straight year LSU will compete in a regional. The following is how many times the Tigers have finished in the previous 37 NCAA Regional appearances: First Place -13 times; Second Place – 14 times; Third Place- nine times; Seventh Place – one time.
Prior to NCAA regionals, LSU advanced to AIAW Regionals every year from the program’s inception in 1975 to the final year in 1981. The Tigers won six AIAW Regional championships during the seven-year span.
Bryant and Johnson Take SEC’s Top Honors
Haleigh Bryant was named the SEC Freshman of the Year and Johnson was tabbed as the SEC Specialist of the Year. Bryant became the third gymnast in LSU history to be named the top freshman in the league. It was the fourth specialist honor for an LSU gymnast.
Bryant earned a share of the vault title at the 2021 SEC Gymnastics Championships with a 9.95, the seventh LSU freshman to win an SEC title. Johnson captured the floor exercise title at the 2021 SEC Gymnastics Championships with a perfect 10.0 in her postseason debut. She became the 10th gymnast in conference history to score a 10.0 on the floor exercise at the SEC Championships.
Gymnasts Combine for Seven WCGA Regular Season All-America Honors
Bryant (VT, FX, AA), Sami Durante (UB), Johnson (VT, FX) and Alyona Shchennikova (VT) combined to earn seven Women’s College Gymnastics Association (WCGA) Regular Season All-America honors. Overall, LSU gymnasts have combined to earn 79 All-America honors in the regular season since the association begin this honor in 2013. LSU has now combined to earn 274 regular season and meet honors in program history.
Last Time Out at SEC Championships
Johnson won the Southeastern Conference floor championship and Bryant and Elena Arenas captured the vault title to lead the Fighting Tigers to a 197.775 team score and second-place finish. LSU finished just .100 behind Alabama, who took the title with a 197.875. The score marked the third highest for the program at SEC Championships. The squad put up a feverous comeback on floor and vault with scores of 49.500 and 49.625.
Johnson scored her third career 10 on floor and fifth overall.. Arenas and Bryant scored a 9.95 to take the 13th and 14th vault titles in school history. Arenas earned a perfect score on her 9.95 valued Yurchenko full. Bryant anchored the event with a 9.95 as well.
(Press Release Provided by LSU Athletics)