#3 LSU Gymnastics finishes sixth at NCAA Championships

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LSU’s Haleigh Bryant competes on the balance beam during the NCAA women’s gymnastics championships in Fort Worth, Texas, Friday, April 16, 2021. (AP Photo/Matt Strasen)

FORT WORTH, Texas – The LSU gymnastics team scored a 197.5625 in NCAA Championships Semifinal II to close the 2021 season and finish sixth nationally Friday evening at Dickies Arena.

Oklahoma advanced to the NCAA Championship Final after finishing in first with a 198.0875. Utah scored a 197.600 to advance as well, just outlasting Alabama with a 197.575 in third.

“That was a hard one to take,” head coach Jay Clark said. “It is obviously really disappointing and the girls are hurting. We are all hurting. It will sting for a long time, but the future of this program is so bright and we will use it as fuel to get better. This was a great team that did some special things. I would not want to be with anyone else on that floor tonight.”

Haleigh Bryant became the second freshman in school history to win an NCAA title when she drilled her front handspring-front pike half in the anchor spot to score a 9.975. Bryant’s NCAA vault title marked the seventh in LSU history, all coming under assistant coach Bob Moore.

Bryant led the squad in the all-around with a 39.625 and Kiya Johnson followed with a 39.600.

LSU opened the evening with a lights out 49.500 on floor. Christian Desiderio scored a 9.90 to start. Alyona Shchennikova followed with a 9.8875 and Sierra Ballard and Sarah Edwards went 9.90. Johnson ended the opening rotation with a 9.9125 to give the Tigers a lead after one.

Bryant captured the vault title and led LSU to a 49.5125. Sami Durante started with a 9.875 and Alyona Shchennikova and Elena Arenas followed with scores of 9.8375 and 9.8125. Edwards posted a 9.875 in the fourth spot and Johnson stuck her double-twisting Yurchenko for a 9.95.

The LSU freshmen led the bars lineup to a 49.375. Johnson opened with a 9.85 and Chase Brock scored a 9.875. They were followed by a 9.90 from Olivia Dunne and 9.85 from Bryant. Shchennikova scored a 9.90 for the squad in the fifth spot.

The beam lineup was unable to fight off a firing Utah team. Desiderio scored a 9.725 to start. Bryant was inserted into the lineup at the last minute and scored a 9.925. Senior Bridget Dean scored a 9.8625 followed by a 9.8875 from Johnson and 9.775 from Campbell.

(Release via LSU Athletics)

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