CORVALLIS, Ore. -- Senior April Burkholder wrapped up an exceptional career for the LSU gymnastics team Saturday evening at the NCAA Championships, winning a share of the national beam title and posting a trio of top-eight finishes during the Individual Events Finals at Oregon State's Gill Coliseum.
Burkholder's beam routine was nearly flawless as she notched a 9.9125 to tie with Georgia's Courtney Kupets for top honors.
The individual national title marks the first for Burkholder and just the third in LSU school history as Nicki Arnstad won the NCAA floor title in 2002 and Jeanie Beadle won the AIAW beam championship in 1977.
"I couldn't have asked for a better way to go out," said Burkholder. "I just wanted to come in tonight, have fun and hit all my routines and I am happy I was able to do that."
"April is the kind of athlete that puts you in position to win events," said Breaux. "She has done that and carried this team for the last four years, but tonight it was about her. I just kept telling her, ‘This one's for you."
Burkholder opened the evening on the vault. Having to compete two different vaults in the finals, the Houston native scored a 9.8125 on her first attempt, a yurchenko with a half twist. She then added a 9.8250 on a yurchenko with a full twist to finish with a 9.8188 average.
The score was good enough for a sixth-place finish, the third top-six national finish on the event of her career.
Burkholder then added a 9.8375 on the floor to finish in a tie for eighth with Florida's Corey Hartung. The finish is the best of her career on the event as the 14-time All-American finished 13th at last year's championships.
Competing in the bars final for the first time in her career, Burkholder finished off her meet with another eighth-place finish after notching a 9.750.
"To place in all four events and be a national champion in one is something very few people have ever done," said LSU head coach D-D Breaux. "She's had great national championships before but never finished first so I think tonight was a little about unfinished business."
Burkholder leaves LSU as the most decorated gymnast in school history. She won one national title, earned 14 All-America awards and was a four-time All-SEC selection. In addition, she was named the NCAA Central Region Gymnast of the Year twice (2004 and 2005), the SEC Gymnast of the Year on two occasions (2004 and 2005) as well as the conference's Freshman of the Year in 2003.
NCAA Gymnastics Championships
April 22, 2006
at Gill Coliseum
1. Ashley Miles, Alabama, 9.9375 points. 2. Kristina Comforte, UCLA, 9.9000. 3. Kate Richardson, UCLA, 9.8313. 4. (tie) Janet Anson, Iowa State, and Emily Parsons, Nebraska, 9.8250. 6. April Burkholder, LSU, 9.8188. 7. Nicolle Ford, Utah, 9.7875. 8. Ashley Postell, Utah, 9.7813. 9. Tiffany Tolnay, Georgia, 9.7750. 10. Gritt Hofmann, Utah, 9.7250.
1. (tie) April Burkholder, LSU, and Courtney Kupets, Georgia, 9.9125. 3. Tiffany Tolnay, Georgia, 9.8500. 4. Terin Humphrey, Alabama 9.8250. 5. (tie) Corey Hartung, Florida, and Nikki Childs, Georgia, 9.8125. 7. Ashley Postell, Utah, 9.800. 8. Tatjana Thuener-Rego, Michigan, 9.7625.
1. (tie) Courtney Kupets, Georgia, and Kristina Baskett, Utah, 9.8500. 3. Ashley Kelly, Arizona State, 9.8375. 4. Katie Heenan, Georgia, 9.8000. 5. Ashley Postell, Utah, 9.7875. 6. Nicolle Ford, Utah, 9.7750. 7. Lauren Mirkovich, Michigan, 9.7625. 8. April Burkholder, LSU, 9.7500. 9. Tabitha Yim, Stanford, 9.3250. 10. Vanessa Meloche, Nebraska, 9.2375. 11. Stephanie LoPiccolo, Oklahoma, 9.0750.
1. Kate Richardson, UCLA, 9.9500. 2. Courtney Kupets, Georgia, 9.9375. 3. (tie) Ashley Miles, Alabama, Janet Anson, Iowa State, and Tabitha Yim, Stanford, 9.9125. 6. Emily Parsons, Nebraska, 9.9000. 7. Kelsey Ericksen, Georgia, 9.8500. 8. (tie) Corey Hartung, Florida, and April Burkholder, LSU, 9.8375. 10. Tricia Woo, Nebraska, 9.7500. 11. Savannah Evans, Florida, 9.6625.