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LSU senior Sarah Finnegan performs her floor routine in the SEC Championship meet, Saturday, 23, 2019, at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans. Finnegan scored a 10.000 in the event as the Tigers won the SEC Championship with a final score of 197.900.

FORT WORTH, Texas — LSU’s Sarah Finnegan won the 2019 AAI Award on Wednesday night, given annually to the nation’s top female senior gymnast.

The award was announced at the NCAA Championships banquet Wednesday night in Fort Worth, site of the NCAA Championships Friday and Saturday.

The AAI Award is considered the Heisman Trophy of women’s gymnastics. Finnegan is the third LSU gymnast to win the award, following Ashleigh Gnat in 2017 and Susan Jackson in 2010.

“This is an amazing honor,” Finnegan said according to an LSU news release. “To see Ashleigh Gnat win this award two years ago was inspiring, and I am so honored to continue the tradition of this program. To be even considered a finalist and ultimately picked out of the top senior gymnasts in the country is so cool. I could not have achieved this without the support of my teammates not just this year but over the last three years. We still have more work to do as a team this weekend.”

The award is voted on by the nation’s coaches.

“I just feel so much gratification for Sarah,” LSU coach D-D Breaux said. “When your peers vote for an award of this magnitude it is such an honor. To be selected for this, the SEC award and region award is gratifying and humbling. She is so deserving of everything she receives.”

A native of St. Louis, Finnegan was named 2018 and 2019 Southeastern Conference gymnast of the year and also captured the SEC all-around titles both years. She set a school record this season with 13 all-around wins.

Finnegan has six perfect scores in her career with one each on bars, beam and floor this year. Finnegan clinched the Tigers’ SEC title with a perfect 10.0 score on floor. She also won the bars and beam SEC titles in New Orleans, tying Rheagan Courville and Sandra Smith for the most SEC titles in a career with five.

The senior owns the school record for beam tiles in a season with 11 and career record for beam titles with 27.

The No. 3-ranked Tigers will compete in Semifinal I at noon Friday in Fort Worth. The meet will be on ESPN2. The top two teams from both semifinals will advance to Saturday’s championship meet at 6 p.m. on ESPNU.


Follow Scott Rabalais on Twitter, @RabalaisAdv.​