4-6-2019 SEC Gymnastics Championship

LSU gymnastics celebrate during the Tigers' victory in the Baton Rouge Regional on Saturday, April 6, 2019 in the PMAC.

LSU gymnastics is headed to Fort Worth.

The Tigers placed first in the Baton Rouge Regional's final with a score of 197.500 to advance to the NCAA Semifinal in Texas, edging out Utah (197.250), Minnesota (196.900) and Auburn (195.725).

"The plan is to stay normal and continue to do what we've been doing to get us here," said LSU coach D-D Breaux. "I call it polishing the rock. The only other thing I'm asking them is to continue your discipline in and out of the gym". 

LSU started strong with a 49.500 on beam. 

Sophomore all-arounders Christina Desiderio and Bridget Dean started off strong with a 9.875 and 9.85, but the Tigers hit a slight break in the lineup when Sami Durante lost her balance for a 9.775. 

The back half of LSU's lineup was hitting on all cylinders as junior Kennedi Edney, sophomore Reagan Campbell and senior Sarah Finnegan went 9.90, 9.925 and 9.95 respectively to end the rotation.

Breaux said Desiderio starting how she did on beam really set the tone for the entire meet for the Tigers. 

"She got up there and just crushed it and started us off," Breaux said. "We talk about momentum all the time with the team, and she just picked up the momentum and created the beginning of a great story." 

LSU lead after one rotation with a 49.500 with Utah following closely behind at 49.375. Minnesota had a 49.275 and Auburn with a 49.050.

The Tigers hit a small road bump on floor in the second rotation. 

Junior all-arounder Ruby Harrold started off the rotation with a 9.85, while Campbell and sophomore Sarah Edwards followed with a 9.825 and 9.85 respectively. 

Edney got a 9.90 in the fourth spot, but a normally perfect Finnegan under rotated on her final tumbling pass and for a 9.80. 

But senior all-arounder McKenna Kelley finished the floor rotation on a high note with a 9.925 in the anchor position. 

"My team had my back and we knew McKenna was going to hit afterwords, so I didn't need to go because the rest of the floor lineup did great," Finnegan said. "I'm just proud of how everyone approached tonight because I'm not the only one that was feeling tired or sick or hurt."

LSU still lead at 98.850 after two rotations. Utah sat at 98.800, with Minnesota following at 98.675 and Auburn at 97.450. 

The Tigers were consistent on vault with no gymnast scoring below a 9.80. Finnegan and Edney tied for the highest on the event at 9.90. 

Meanwhile on bars, Utah counted two routines in the 9.70-9.80 range due to a fall.

LSU maintained a solid lead going into the final rotation at 148.200. Utah and Minnesota followed with a 147.900 and 147.775 respectively. Auburn sat at 146.475 after some struggles on beam. 

The Tigers ended on bars, where they remained consistent. All but one gymnast scored above a 9.80, with Finnegan ending the meet with a 9.95 on the event to seal the deal. 

"These kids really represent what being a student athlete at LSU means, and I'm humbled by the amount of enthusiasm and camaraderie that this group has," Breaux said. "It's not about anything beyond what's happening right now, today in the PMAC in preparation for representing LSU at the national championships. That's what this is about."

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