LSU’s athletic year came to an end last eight days ago when the Tigers finished as national runners-up in baseball. Two LSU teams won Southeastern Conference championships – baseball and gymnastics. Listed below are the five top teams of the 2016-17 school year.
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The LSU gymnastics team came very close to a perfect season. Oklahoma prevented the Tigers from finishing first in every meet in which it participated in 2017. LSU finished second to the Sooners at the Mardi Gras Invitational in St. Charles (Mo.) during the regular season. Then, the Tigers were the runner-up to Oklahoma in the NCAA Championships. For the second straight season, LSU was the national runner-up to the Sooners. For the first time, the SEC awarded a regular-season conference championship based on dual-meet competition. The Tigers did not lose a meet to a SEC school and won the initial crown. In addition, LSU won the SEC Championships for the first time since 1981. The Tigers won the Lincoln (Neb.) Regional and recorded a record 198.275 points total in the NCAA semifinals. Ashleigh Gnat (floor), Sarah Finnegan (bars) and Kennedi Edney (vault) won individual national titles.
There was very little difference between the accomplishments of the baseball team and the gymnastics team. One school proved to be the thorn in LSU’s side – Florida. The Tigers shared the SEC championship with the Gators, who won two of three games in the teams’ regular-season series. Then, Florida won two straight games from LSU in the CWS Championship Series. The Tigers played great baseball down the stretch as they won 16 of their last 20 league games to finish with a 21-9 conference record. LSU swept four games in winning the SEC tournament – defeating Arkansas in the finals. The Tigers then went undefeated in the Baton Rouge Regional – knocking off Rice in the championship round. LSU took two consecutive games from Mississippi State in the Baton Rouge Super Regional. The Tigers’ most impressive stretch of the season came in the College World Series. After losing to Oregon State, LSU won three successive elimination games to advance to the championship series. The Tigers beat Florida State and No. 1 seed Oregon State twice. LSU ended the year with a 52-20 record.
The LSU softball team refused to give up on the 2017 season. The Tigers lost 10 of 17 games heading into the SEC tournament. A .500 team during conference play, LSU advanced to the SEC tournament title game. The Tigers defeated a couple of top-ten teams – No. 9 Tennessee and No. 7 Auburn – in the quarterfinals and semifinals. LSU’s magical run ended in the championship game where it lost to Ole Miss. In both the Baton Rouge Regional and the Tallahassee Super Regional, the Tigers put together back-to-back victories to advance to the next round of the NCAA tournament. In the regional, LSU handed in-state rival UL-Lafayette a pair of defeats. Then, the Tigers defeated Florida State in consecutive games to clinch their third straight appearance in the Women’s College World Series. The Seminoles had been unbeaten at home this year. LSU, which had a 48-22 record, lost to Florida and Oregon after beating UCLA in the WCWS.
4. MEN’S GOLF
There was no national championship as in 2015, but the LSU men’s golf team enjoyed a very good season. The Tigers won five tournament titles – two during the fall and three in the spring. LSU finished third or fourth in five other tournaments. In fact, LSU ended lower than fourth place in only one of its 11 regular-season events. The Tigers came in third in the SEC Championships before losing to Alabama in the quarterfinals. LSU placed ninth in the NCAA Championships – earning a top-ten finish for the third straight year. Sam Burns was named the National Golfer of the Year.
5. WOMEN’S TRACK
The LSU women’s track team was the SEC runner-up in both the Indoors and Outdoors Championships. Two Lady Tigers won SEC titles in the Indoors meet – Aleia Hobbs in the 60 meters and Jada Martin in the 200 meters. LSU won the 4x400-meter relay title. The relay team was comprised of Kymber Payne, Martin, Rachel Misher and Travia Jones. The Lady Tigers claimed three more championships in the SEC Outdoors Championships – Hobbs in the 100 meters, Rebekah Wales in the javelin and the 4x100-meter relay team, which consisted of Mikiah Brisco, Kortnei Johnson, Martin and Hobbs. LSU struggled in the NCAA Indoors Championships as it finished in 18th place. The Lady Tigers tied for seventh place in the NCAA Outdoors Championships where Brisco won the 100 meters title.