Information provided by LSU Sports
BIRMINGHAM, AL - LSU senior Sarah Finnegan and head coach D-D Breaux were voted as the 2019 Southeastern Conference Gymnast and Coach of the Year, the league office announced Thursday.
Finnegan put together one of the most dominant all-around performances the league has ever seen from start to finish in 2019 concluding with the SEC all-around title in New Orleans. Breaux and the entire staff put together one of the most outstanding coaching performances as the squad continued to build all year long and went on to win the program’s third-straight SEC Championship.
Finnegan joined Alabama’s Andree Pickens (2000-03) and LSU Hall of Fame member April Burkholder (2004-05) as the only gymnasts in SEC history to earn the league’s top honor in consecutive years. This is the seventh honor for an LSU gymnast as Ashleigh Clare-Kearney (2008), Susan Jackson (2010) and Rheagan Courville (2013) also won the award.
The Lee’s Summit, Missouri, native won the seventh all-around title in school history with a score of 39.800, the second-highest score in meet history. Finnegan became the sixth gymnast in SEC history to win back-to-back all-around titles. In addition to the all-around win, Finnegan also captured titles on bars and beam with a 9.95 and floor with a perfect 10.
She became just the fourth gymnast in SEC history to win four or more titles at a meet and the ninth to win three or more individual events. With five career SEC titles, Finnegan tied Courville and Sandra Smith for the most in a career in school history. Finnegan clinched the squad’s third-straight SEC championship with her sixth career perfect score, second on floor and third this season.
Amongst gymnasts from the best conference in the nation, Finnegan ranks first in the all-around, beam and bars, second on floor and fifth on vault. She now owns 19 All-America honors for third in school history. With five All-America honors at NCAA Championships, Finnegan could break the school record for All-America honors in a career with 24.
After winning beam on Saturday night, Finnegan set the school record for most beam titles in a career with 25. Finnegan went from week one to 13 as the most dominant all-around gymnast in the league with 12 wins to set the school record for most in a season. She was named the SEC Gymnast of the Week seven times to set the record for the most in a season in the league’s history.
With her 10 on floor at SEC Championships, Finnegan joined Burkholder as the only gymnasts in school history with multiple perfect scores on three different events. She owns 84 career wins and 42 this season for second in school history. She needs just four wins across possibly the next four meets to set the record for wins in a season.
This marks the ninth time Breaux has been recognized by her peers as Coach of the Year. Breaux also earned the honor in 1990, 1993, 1994, 1995, 2000, 2005, 2015 and 2017. The dean of all coaches in SEC history led the squad to a record of 18-3 overall and the program’s third-straight SEC championship.
Five gymnasts under Breaux’s direction earned WCGA regular season All-America honors. LSU has continued to improve in each week of the season and over the final four weeks leading into NCAA postseason average the squad has average a 197.900. The LSU team is the second in NCAA Gymnastics history to average a 197.900 or higher in four meets.
Finnegan along with fellow senior Lexie Priessman were named All-SEC performers. Priessman earned the honor on bars after finishing with an outstanding 9.925.
The All-SEC Team is comprised of athletes with the top two scores (including ties) on each event and the all-around from the first and second sessions of the SEC Championship.
The third-ranked Tigers will take a weekend off from competition for the first time this season before hosting the NCAA Baton Rouge Regional April 4-6. The Tigers own the top seed and the teams will advance to the NCAA Championships. LSU will take on Utah, Minnesota, Auburn, BYU, Arizona, State, Arkansas, George Washington and Lindenwood inside the PMAC.
2018 SEC Gymnastics Awards
Gymnast of the Year: Sarah Finnegan, LSU
Event Specialist of the Year: Sabrina Vega, Georgia
Freshman of the Year: Trinity Thomas, Florida
Coach of the Year: D-D Breaux, LSU
Abby Ambrecht, Alabama
Maddie Desch, Alabama
Lexi Graber, Alabama
Ariana Guerra, Alabama
Shea Mahoney, Alabama
Shallon Olsen, Alabama
Amanda Elswick, Arkansas
Kennedy Hambrick, Arkansas
Sarah Shaffer, Arkansas
Derrian Gobourne, Auburn
Alyssa Baumann, Florida
Rachel Gowey, Florida
Trinity Thomas, Florida
Megan Skaggs, Florida
Alex Hyland, Kentucky
Mollie Korth, Kentucky
Sarah Finnegan, LSU