LSU Gymnastics fails to qualify for Super Six yet again

Published 12:00 am Monday, April 25, 2005

AUBURN, Ala. – A shaky beam performance in the final rotation cost the LSU gymnastics team a berth to the Super Six finals Thursday at the NCAA Championships, as they went on to finish fourth in their preliminary session at Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum.

Top-ranked Utah won the early session with a 196.850. Michigan and Nebraska earned the other two spots in tomorrow’s Super Six placing second and third, respectively, with scores of 196.575 and 195.875. The Tigers finished with a 195.800.

“It hurts,” said LSU head coach D-D Breaux. “We took ourselves out of the meet. We didn’t execute and we gave it away.”

LSU stood in second place heading into their final event, the balance beam. However, with a fall and another two unsteady performances the Tigers mustered just a 48.575 on the event.

“We are a good beam team, we just lost focus, lost our composure and lost the meet on the last event,” said Breaux.

Sitting out the sixth rotation with a bye the Tigers were forced to wait and see if their final team score would hold through the last rotation.

Nebraska answered with a 49.200 on the floor in that final rotation and squeaked out the .075 margin of victory over the Tigers.

Despite the team disappointment, four Tigers earned All-America honors and three advanced to Saturday’s individual event finals.

SEC and NCAA Central Region Gymnast of the Year April Burkholder earned All-America status on each of the four events, earning first-team distinction on the vault and floor and second-team honors on the bars and beam. She will compete on both the vault and floor Saturday.

Joining Burkholder in the event finals will be sophomore Lisa Rennie and senior Annie Gagnon. Both qualified on the bars after posting identical 9.875’s in earning first-team All-America accolades. In addition, junior Terin Martinjak’s 9.825 on the beam was good enough for second-team honors.

The Tigers’ meet began with a 49.175 effort on the floor exercise. Burkholder’s 9.900 highlighted the rotation. She was followed by freshman Ashleigh Clare-Kearney and sophomore Kelly Phelan who each posted 9.850’s.

LSU turned in five solid vaults to secure a 48.900 on the event in the second rotation. Burkholder recorded her second 9.900 of the afternoon and Clare-Kearney notched a 9.800.

The Tigers then sat out the third rotation with a bye before returning to competition on the bars. LSU added a 49.150 to its team total behind a pair of 9.875’s by Annie Gagnon and Lisa Rennie. Burkholder and Butler were just off their pace, posting scores of 9.850 and 9.800, respectively.

Competition from the NCAA Championships continues tomorrow evening with the Super Six team finals. LSU will wrap up its season Saturday in the individual event finals.