Tiger Gymnasts take out UCLA

The No. 8-ranked LSU gymnasts didn't disappoint on Senior Night, posting a season-best 196.825 behind April Burkholder's all-around-winning 39.550 to defeat the 10th-ranked UCLA Bruins, who notched a 195.975.

Burkholder, the most decorated gymnast in LSU history, won the 25th all-around title of her illustrious career in her final regular-season appearance in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center in front of 2,377. The senior also won three individual event titles on the vault, bars and floor, the 79th, 80th and 81st of her career.

Burkholder along with fellow seniors Kelly Lea and Terin Martinjak and former gymnast and current manager Megan Durning were honored prior to the meet as part of Senior Night.

"The seniors went out and won the meet for us tonight," LSU head coach D-D Breaux said. "I don't want to take anything away from anyone else because it was a team effort, but any success we have in the postseason will be because of their determination."

The final mark of 196.825 was by far the best this year for LSU (10-8, 2-4 SEC), as the Tigers' previous season-high of 196.575 was set in a dual meet versus Oklahoma on Feb. 24.

"We have been making a conscious effort to work on the little things, and that showed tonight," Breaux said. "Tonight was a break-out night. They had a lot prove, and they proved it."

The Tigers opened competition on vault with a 49.075, led by Burkholder's 9.925. Martinjak also tied her season-high with a 9.800 as the leadoff performer. Freshman Lauren Klein completed the rotation for LSU with a career-best of 9.775.

UCLA scored a 49.125 on bars in the first rotation behind Richardson's 9.900, placing them just .05 ahead of the Tigers headed to the next event.

But LSU captured the lead back after its performance on bars, posting a season-high 49.275. A pair of 9.925s in bottom spots of the lineup by Burkholder and Lisa Rennie, season-highs for both gymnasts, led all competitors on the event.

UCLA notched an identical 49.075 on the vault, giving the Bruins a 98.200 to LSU's 98.350.

The Tigers maintained their lead heading into the final rotation by a slim .025 margin. LSU posted a 49.00 on the beam to UCLA's 49.125 on the floor.

Martinjak took top honors on the beam for the Tigers with her 9.875 followed by identical 9.800s from Kelly Phelan and Rennie.

LSU substantially increased its lead after its stellar 49.475 on the floor. Burkholder won her third event title of the evening with her 9.950 performance. Martinjak and Phelan both notched 9.925s for second-place finishes.

This meet concludes the regular season for the Tigers, who compete in the SEC Championships in Birmingham, Ala., on March 25.

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