With the LSU Tigers as firm favourites to make the nationals almost by default, the fight for the other qualifying spot was on in Nebraska. LSU could even have decided to rest some of their top gymnasts and qualifying would still not have been in doubt.
The focus for LSU would be fine tuning their line up, sorting out routines and polishing these. Getting all the mistakes and errors out of the way here, so that going into the nationals they are as close to perfect as they could be. Questions on their floor line up would likely be answered here.
The second place spot was the one to look out for. Before the event the teams in the running to secure the spot were the Boise State Broncos and the Nebraska Corn Huskers. Having the advantage of being at home would stand Nebraska on top of the rest.
As expected, this aparatus had a strong showing by LSU and Nebraska. The top six places were split between the teams. Kennedi Edney led the way for the Tigers with a huge 9.925. Taylor Houchin (Nebraska), Sydney Ewing & Ashleigh Gnat were all tied for the next spot scoring 9.900 it was impossible to seperate their vaults.
Without doubt this aparatus belongs to LSU. one of their strongest pieces with many top stars competing here. Sarah Finnegan led the way with an impressive 9.925 on one of the more difficult pieces. Brit Ruby Harrold (along with team mates Edney & Myia Hambrick) posted a great score of 9.875. Harrold has a great routine on the bars and always includes her signature move. The score was the same the Brit posted against Arkansas & Missouri (undermarked each time, this author feels)
Nebraska are weaker on the bars, their top scorer was Sienna Crouse with a 9.900. Danielle Breen had a nightmare on the bars including a fall to score a lowely 9.150, this placed her in 40th place on the aparatus. Nebraska had five gymnasts in the top 20 on bars, LSU had six. However, all of those six for LSU were in the top 10. Only three finished in the top 10 for Nebraska.
Breen redeemed herself on the beam. The Husker nailed her routine on this aparatus and obtained an impressive and unbeatable 9.950. Gnat was the closest to her as the LSU gymnastic score 9.925 Grace Williams (Nebraska) and Erin Macadaeg (LSU) couldn't be split as both scored 9.900. Unsually for Ewing (LSU) she had an awful beam routine and fell off the aparatus. Ewing was in good company as Jennie Laeng (Nebraska) also suffered the same fate and the same score.
This aparatus is the weakest for Nebraska, and it is the strongest for LSU. Bars are one of their strongest pieces, but LSU rule the floor. Gnat was very nearly floorless, her routine scoring an impressive 9.950. Ewing & Hambrick backed her up as both landled 9.900. Finnegan along with Tigers team mate Shae Zamardi socred 9.875 to seal four of the top five spots for LSU. Crouse for Nebraska was their highest scorer on floor with a 9.850
Nebraska will want and need to work on the floor routines going forward if they are to compete for the top spots in the Nationals. LSU take their record for the season to 21-1.
LSU have to be favourites to go further in the Nationals.