3.23.19 LSU SEC Champs

LSU all-around senior Sarah Finnegan performs her floor routine during the Tigers’197.900 first place victory in the SEC Championship meet on Saturday, March 23, 2019, in the Smoothie King Center.

LSU gymnastics trains all year is preparation for the postseason, but this year it's a little different. 

Instead of six regional locations where the top two teams advance to the NCAA Semifinals, there will be four regional locations with two teams advancing. 

In addition, the regional now includes two sessions and a second day of competition. The top two teams from each session will advance to the regional final. 

Eight total teams will advance to nationals instead of 12 like in the past years. 

"With the tightened up field in this new format, it does open up the door for things to become interesting as they are in other sports," LSU associate head coach Jay Clark said. "In the old system, it was fairly static. It was rare that you would have somebody outside of the one and two seeds go to nationals. It's going to be a good competition his weekend."

The biggest challenge for LSU, and all team competing this postseason, is competing two days in a row, similar to the nationals format. 

It's the time of the season where everybody's bodies are tired and wearing down and each team will handle that challenge in different ways.

The LSU coaching staff plans to multiple gymnasts ready so that they do not overly exert some who might need a days rest. 

LSU practices during the season with an intrasquad before each meet in preparation for this situation in the postseason. 

"I don't think its as big a deal at nationals because if you make it to the second day at nationals, you have the adrenaline of knowing you're competing for a national title," Clark said. "This presents a little bit of a challenge just to be emotionally where you need to be.

"Our kids are mature and they're shown that. They've shown it all year long when they've gotten into bigger situations a risen to the occasion and risen as we've gone through the year."

Besides some aches and pains across the board, the Tigers are feeling confident.

LSU head coach D-D Breaux said she's happy with the gymnastics the team had been doing through the last few weeks of the regular season and into the SEC Championship meet — both the difficultly and the comfort they are doing it with — and only expects their confidence to get better throughout the weekend. 

"Coach speak is that you have to control the things that you can control — there's times that you have to test that and this is one of those times," Clark said. " We're going to set our jaw and take care of business and the plan is still to show up in Fort Worth in two weeks."

This weekend' regional is only one stop of LSU's quest for its first national championship. 

While this year's quest has encountered more bump in the road than LSU is used to, Breaux said the Tigers are ready to continue moving forward. 

"D-D always says 'A try is a fail,'" said senior Sarah Finnegan . "We don't want to try to win. We want to win. We want to set out jaw and just claim it before we even get out there. At this point, it's a mind game. You have to get in that right mentality."

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