COLUMBUS, Ohio – The seventh-ranked LSU gymnastics team will open postseason competition at the NCAA Columbus Regional at 5 p.m. CT Saturday in Ohio State’s St. John Arena.
No. 2 seed LSU (15-6) is set to take on sixth-ranked and No. 1 seed UCLA, No. 3 seed Arizona, No. 4 Ohio State, No. 5 Central Michigan and No. 6 North Carolina State.
LSU must finish first or second at the regional in order to advance to the NCAA Championships for the 24th time in school history.
Fans can listen to the meet free of charge in the Geaux Zone at www.LSUsports.net/live starting at 4:50 p.m. CT Saturday, and links to live video and stats can be found at LSUsports.net as well.
LSU will start the meet on the bye before bars and will rotate to bars, beam, bye, floor and vault.
The Tigers are seeking their 12th regional title and the first since 2009 when LSU marched up to Columbus to win the regional on the way to a second-straight NCAA Super Six Finals appearance.
LSU is fresh off a season-high team score and the third-best team total in school history with a 197.700 at the SEC Championship on March 23, including a season-best 49.625 on floor that ranks as the second-highest team floor total in school history.
“The team came back after having such a successful effort at the SEC Championship, and they have been in the gym in the last two weeks with a great attitude and a mindset to get better,” LSU head coach D-D Breaux said. “We are focused on the task at hand, and we just have to step out there with ice water in our veins and be able to execute and stay aggressive the entire night.”
Rheagan Courville, the 2013 SEC Gymnast of the Year, captured three SEC titles at the conference championship, taking home the vault, beam and all-around crowns. Lloimincia Hall and Jessica Savona each won a share of the SEC floor title, while Jessie Jordan and Kaleigh Dickson each posted career highs in the all-around at 39.425 and 39.375, respectively.
Sarie Morrison led the way on bars with her eighth score of 9.90 or better this season, Britney Taylor tallied a career-high 9.925 from the leadoff spot on beam and Maliah Mathis matched her season high on floor with a 9.90 to help guide the Tigers to their best finish at the SEC Championship since 2005.
UCLA (16-5) is coming off a second-place finish with a 197.375 at the Pac-12 Championship, and the Bruins are led by fifth-year senior Vanessa Zamarripa who is the nation’s top-ranked all-arounder with a 39.660 regional qualifying score.
No. 18 Arizona (14-13) enters the regional after a sixth-place finish with a 195.525 at the Pac-12 Championship, and the Wildcats are led by senior Aubree Cristello who ranks 17th nationally in the all-around and 24th on vault.
No. 20 Ohio State (9-9) is coming off a 195.950 and a fifth-place finish at the Big Ten Championship, and the Buckeyes are paced by junior Sarah Miller who ranks eighth nationally on beam and 17th on vault.
No. 24 Central Michigan (17-5-1) tied for the MAC Championship title with a 194.800, and the Chippewas are ranked 24th as a team on floor and 25th on bars.
North Carolina State (18-9-1) enters the meet after a first-place finish at the EAGL Championship, and this will mark the third time the Tigers and the Wolfpack will square off this season. LSU defeated NC State in the season opener on Jan. 4 in Baton Rouge, 196.075-194.975, and the Tigers knocked off the Wolfpack in Raleigh, N.C., 196.925-196.050, on March 15.
Fans can connect with LSU gymnastics through the team’s social media sites – @LSUgym on Twitter and www.Facebook.com/lsugym – to receive score updates throughout the regional.