Da Boot Sports
LSU Sports Communications
By: Alyssa Leal
ORT WORTH, Texas – The LSU gymnastics team concluded the 2023 season with a team score of 197.525 in the NCAA Championship Final to finish fourth nationally, Saturday afternoon at Dickies Arena.
Oklahoma won the NCAA Championship with a team score of 197.3875. Florida finished second (197.2375) and Utah finished third (197.9375).
Junior Haleigh Bryant led the Tigers with a 39.725 all-around score, which marks the best for an LSU gymnast at an NCAA Championship in school history.
Overall, four LSU gymnasts made their debut at this NCAA Championship and the program will bring back nearly all 24 routines, including more with the potential for seniors Alyona Shchennikova, Kiya Johnson and Cammy Hall for a fifth and final season.
The squad opened the national championship with a 49.3125 on bars. Alexis Jeffrey and Ashley Cowan scored a 9.8375 and 9.825. Tori Tatum matched her NCAA Championship best with a 9.875. Aleah Finnegan followed with a 9.825 and Alyona Shchennikova earned a 9.80. Bryant anchored the event with a 9.95 to match the highest on the event at the NCAA Championship in school history.
In the second rotation, LSU scored a 49.2375 and rebounded after a shaky opening routine. Shchennikova scored a 9.8125 to set the next four performers. Jeffrey and Ballard each followed with a 9.825. Bryant built on the rotation with a 9.85 and Finnegan anchored with a 9.925.
The Tigers put up six strong floor routines heading into the final half of the meet for a 49.450. Sierra Ballard opened with a 9.8125 and Shchennikova scored a 9.85 in the second spot. Arenas earned a 9.9125 and Chase Brock matched her career high with a 9.925. Two of the top floor performers in the country, Finnegan and Bryant, ended the third rotation with a 9.925 and 9.9375 respectively.
LSU punctuated the climb of the 2023 season with an outstanding 49.525 on vault. The score tied the highest at a championship final and second best at an NCAA Championship for the program. Arenas led off the squad with a 9.90 and Shchennikova scored a 9.925. Finnegan scored a 9.8625 and was sandwiched between 9.8875s from Brock and Bryce Wilson. Bryant ended the night with a 9.9875, which tied for the highest at an NCAA Championship in LSU history.