NO. 9 LSU gymnastics rallies to advance to NCAA championships

The ninth-ranked LSU gymnastics team used a gutsy 49.100 on beam in the final rotation to clinch a berth IN the NCAA Championships with a second-place 196.075 at the NCAA Seattle Regional Saturday in Alaska Airlines Arena.

Alabama won the meet with a 197.025, and host Washington finished third with a 195.825. Arizona placed fourth with a 195.150, Iowa finished fifth at 194.600 and Central Michigan was sixth at 194.150.

With the second-place finish, LSU (14-12) will make its 23rd appearance at the NCAA Championships held April 20-22 in the Gwinnett Arena in Duluth, Ga.

"We fought for every tenth tonight," LSU head coach D-D Breaux said. "I am so proud of this team because they worked so hard.

Heading into the final rotation, LSU held the slimmest of margins over No. 23 Washington for second place, 146.975-146.950. A spot at the NCAA Championships would be decided with LSU on beam and the Huskies on floor.

Shelby Prunty suffered a fall in the leadoff spot on beam, scoring a 9.200, and the Tigers needed to hit five solid routines in order to stay ahead of Washington. LSU did just that, as Ericka Garcia earned a 9.775, Kaleigh Dickson posted a 9.80, Lloimincia Hall scored a 9.825, Rheagan Courville recorded a 9.875 and Jessie Jordan tallied a 9.825. LSU finished with a 49.100 on beam while Washington earned a 48.875 on floor to wrap up the meet.

"Our kids stepped up when we needed them to perform, and they showed some real moxie," Breaux said. "We are excited to get back to nationals, and these kids deserve to be there because they have done what we have asked them to do all season."

After opening the meet on a bye, LSU competed on floor in the second rotation and scored a 49.050. The Tigers counted a 9.85 from Maliah Mathis and 9.80 scores from Courville, Dickson, Hall and Jordan.

LSU moved to vault where the Tigers posted a 49.000. Randi Lau scored a 9.80 to lead off, and Jessie Jordan followed with a 9.70. Mathis tallied a 9.825, Ashley Lee scored a 9.85 and Hall earned a 9.825. Courville could not find her landing as she fell, scoring a 9.325.

Through three rotations LSU trailed Washington 98.275-98.050 for second place in the meet after the Huskies scored a 49.200 on vault and 49.075 on bars.

LSU sat out the fourth rotation while Washington scored a 48.675 on beam. With the Huskies on a bye in the fifth rotation, LSU earned a 48.925 on bars to take a .025 lead. Courville led the way on bars with a 9.85, and Sarie Morrison was second for the Tigers with a 9.80. Mckenzie Fox and Lloimincia Hall both scored a 9.775, and Jessie Jordan provided a 9.725, setting up LSU's fantastic finish on beam in the final rotation.

LSU will officially find out Monday what seed the Tigers will be at nationals and whether LSU will compete in the afternoon or evening session.

Information provided by LSU Athletics