LSU gymnast Sarah Finnegan and her coach D-D Breaux led the 2019 Tigers through a season that first required patience but finished with excellence.
Now, they are both reaping the awards.
Thursday, Finnegan repeated as Southeastern Conference gymnast of the year, mere days after repeating as the SEC all-around champion Saturday at the SEC Championships in New Orleans. Breaux was also named SEC coach of the year for the ninth time and the third time in the past five seasons.
Also named to the All-SEC team Thursday was LSU senior Lexie Priessman on uneven bars. Priessman is also LSU's representative on the SEC gymnastics community service team.
While LSU struggled to start the season with its customary strong scores, opening 0-2 in its Southeastern Conference dual meet portion of its schedule, Finnegan was consistently dominant throughout.
A senior from St. Louis, Finnegan has 42 individual titles this season. That includes a school-record 12 all-around titles among LSU’s 13 and three perfect 10s, the most recent on floor in the SEC Championships.
Finnegan has 21 all-around and 88 overall individual titles in her career to rank second in school history in all-around wins and fifth in total wins. Finnegan ended the season as the nation’s No. 2-ranked all-around gymnasts behind UCLA’s Kyla Ross.
Finnegan joins former LSU standout April Burkholder (2004-05) and Alabama's Andree Pickens (2000-03) as the only ones to earn back-to-back SEC Gymnast honors. LSU's Ashleigh Clare-Kearney (2008), Susan Jackson (2010) and Rheagan Courville (2013) also won the award.
Breaux, in her 42nd season, broke a tie with legendary Kentucky basketball coach Adolph Rupp to become the longest-tenured coach in SEC history regardless of sport. Most recently named SEC coach of the year in 2017, Breaux has now led LSU to three consecutive SEC championship meet titles as well as the first two SEC regular-season titles in 2017 and 2018.
The Tigers have the weekend off before hosting an NCAA regional April 4-6 at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center. LSU (18-3) is the top seed in the regional and the No. 3 national seed overall.
The nine-team regional begins April 4 with a play-in dual meet between George Washington and Lindenwood, followed by two four-team sessions at 2 and 7 p.m. Friday. LSU, Auburn, Arizona State and the GWU/Lindenwood winner will compete in the evening session.
The top two teams from both sessions will advance to a 7 p.m. final Saturday. The top two teams will advance to the NCAA championship meet, April 19-20 in Fort Worth, Texas.